Boys Bowling: Andrew’s Nick Ghilardi leads by example
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media January 28, 2014 8:14PM
Nick Ghilardi, of Andrew | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 3, 2014 2:45PM
Nick Ghilardi knows that sometimes things are going to go bad on the bowling lanes. The key, he said, is to not let it bother you too much.
It’s a lesson the Andrew senior tries to pass on to his younger teammates.
“One of the big keys is trying to keep everyone’s mental game straight,” he said. “Guys get frustrated. What they need to understand is there aren’t any bowling gods that are forcing the pins to stay up. They’re staying up for a reason, and there’s always something you can do to change that.
“Kids take on a victim mentality sometimes and you can’t do that. You have to focus on what you can change.”
So when the Thunderbolts’ season was on the line Saturday, Ghilardi took charge in the motivational department.
Andrew, after struggling to an 888 in Game 5, had fallen to eighth place in the sectional tournament with one game to go and the top six teams advancing to state.
“I told them to picture every shot in the last game at least three times before they threw it,” he said. “I told them to treat every shot as the most important one. Everyone got focused and stepped up.”
The T-bolts put together an 1,115 to move up to fifth and punch their ticket to the state meet, which begins Friday in O’Fallon.
It’ll be the third trip for Ghilardi, a lefty who said he’s averaging around 215 this season. He was on the 2012 team that captured the state title, though he didn’t bowl at state. He was a key contributor on last season’s eighth-place finishing squad.
“He has the experience to lead the team with no qualms or fear,” Andrew coach Mark Lobes said.
Ghilardi’s experience stretches well beyond his high school years. He’s been bowling since he was 3 years old.
“My dad’s a big bowler,” he said. “He taught me everything I know. My sisters bowled in some rec leagues, too. They quit once they got to high school but I kept going. I love bowling because it’s just different from everything else. Everything’s in your own power.”
Ghilardi, who’s also an outfielder for Andrew’s baseball team, tossed a 297 earlier this season.
“That was my highest game ever,” he said. “I have a ton of 279s, where I leave a seven pin. I just can’t quite get that 300.”
Ghilardi and his teammates are hoping to bring another state trophy back to Andrew.
“It’s really exciting getting my third shot at state,” he said, “especially after the adrenaline rush from the last game Saturday. We’re pumped up and hopefully we can do well.”