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Girls Bowling: Crystal Carrillo and Eisenhower Cardinals get support from grandpa Pablo

Crystal Carrillo Eisenhower | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

Crystal Carrillo, of Eisenhower | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 11, 2014 6:17AM



Crystal Carrillo anchors Eisenhower’s bowling team, but she’s not the only member of her family that’s valuable to the Cardinals.

Carrillo has a close relationship with her grandfather, Pablo, and Pablo has quite the presence when the Cardinals take to the lanes.

In fact, the entire team calls Pablo “Abuelo,” the Spanish word for grandfather.

“Even our coach (Todd Barham) calls him that,” Carrillo said. “He’s not embarrassing or anything, so I don’t care. He gets along with everyone. I think he’s more friends with my friends than I am.

“They even call him and say ‘Can you take me bowling?’ so they can practice and stuff. It’s like ‘OK, fine, don’t call me.’ ”

Pablo has raised Crystal after the death of her father. He taught her and her older brother, Richy, how to bowl. Richy was a standout on the Eisenhower boys bowling squad, graduating last year.

“I’m glad to have someone to support me,” Carrillo said. “He’s always there for me. Without him, I don’t think I’d be where I am today.”

For Carrillo, bowling always has been something she’s loved to do with her family.

“I’ve bowled since I was little,” she said. “My grandpa would always take us with him when he went bowling.”

The instructions began at a young age as well, though Crystal didn’t always appreciate it.

“I used to use both of my hands and he’d yell at me,” she said. “I’d be like ‘I just want to have fun,’ but he wanted to teach me the right way. I guess it’s paid off now.”

Carrillo tossed a 257 game earlier this year. She finished ninth in the South Suburban Red meet and helped Eisenhower advance to Saturday’s Morgan Park Sectional.

The one thing she’d most like to improve is her consistency.

“I want to be over 180 every game,” she said. “I don’t want to have any really bad games. I just want to have good scores every time.”

As a senior, Carrillo tries to be a leader for her team.

“I try to help out the younger girls,” she said. “Our team is getting better. We still have things to work on and we can still improve. We’re practicing hard so that we can do our best.”

Carrillo said she is not a great athlete, but bowling gives her a chance to shine.

“I’m not good at any other sports, so I’m glad I’m good at this,” she said. “I like that my grandpa likes it, too. We can always practice together.”



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