Girls Bowling: Lockport bringing boatload of confidence to state
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media February 20, 2014 7:14PM
Lockport's Nicole Troha. | Vincent D. Johnson/For Sun-Times Media
Girls State Bowling
When: 9:45 a.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. Saturday
Where: Cherry Bowl, Rockford
SOUTHLAND TEAM QUALIFIERS
Andrew: Amanda Campbell (Jr.), Nikki Diorio (Sr.), Megan Geraghty (Jr.), Jessie Hallas (Jr.), Ashley Sparrey (Sr.), Danielle Stefanski (Fr.), Lauren Welch (Sr.).
Lemont: Colleen DeVries (So.), Hannah DeVries (Jr.), Brooke Gabor (Jr.), Monique Mitrani (Jr.), Megan Ohlen (Fr.), Kyla Owens (Fr.), Kyra Udziela (Jr.), Alex Wyatt (Jr.).
Lincoln-Way North: Ariel Beja (Sr.), Sarah Berger (Sr.), Julia Gutkin (Fr.), Olivia Heppeler (Fr.), Katie Lowery (Sr.), Melissa Martineck (Jr.), Katie Utsch (Sr.), Ronnie Villasenor (Jr.)
Lockport: Carly Ciolino (Sr.), Ashley Hostert (Sr.), Nikki Mendez (So.), Danielle Mensik (Jr.), Marissa Soverino (Sr.), Nicole Troha (Sr.), Abby Turnbough (So.), Kierstin Vandenburg (Jr.)
SOUTHLAND INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS
Evergreen Park: Sarah Klawitter (Sr.); Lincoln-Way Central: Jamie Sexauer (Sr.); Reavis: Ashley Kouba (Sr.); Sandburg: Jessica Colson (Sr.); T.F. South: Amber Montejano (Sr.).
Updated: March 22, 2014 6:31AM
Peaking at the perfect time, Lockport has been untouchable in the postseason.
In the Sandburg Regional, the Porters put up the fifth-highest score in program history, piling up 6,139 pins and winning by a whopping 510.
At the Morgan Park Sectional, coach Art Cwudzinski subbed liberally but his team still finished with 5,843 pins to win by 236.
“We’re really happy with how we’ve been bowling lately,” Lockport’s Nicole Troha said. “We’re all bowling great at the same time. We’re gaining confidence. We have a lot of momentum.”
The Porters, who also won the SouthWest Suburban Blue Tournament, hope that momentum will carry over to the state meet, which runs Friday and Saturday at Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
“It should be a loaded field,” Cwudzinski said. “I think we can definitely compete up there, though. Our goal is to be bowling Saturday (the top 12 teams of 24 advance to Saturday). If we perform like we have the last three weeks, we’ll have a very good chance of meeting that goal.”
The IHSA’s new postseason format, featuring regional play and sectionals instead of just sectionals, indeed has created a loaded field with a large number of contenders, headlined by defending state champion Waubonsie Valley, the consensus favorite to repeat.
The Porters believe they have what it takes to bring home the program’s fifth state trophy and first since Lockport won the state title in 2009.
“Last year, we finished fourth and just missed being in the top three for a trophy,” Troha said. “Our goal is to top that. We just have to stay unified, cheer each other on and support each other.”
Troha and fellow senior Ashley Hostert have the benefit of experience, having bowled at state last season. Hostert finished 15th individually, Troha 64th.
It’s Troha who’s taken over the anchor role this season, but the Porters’ biggest strength is depth.
Senior Marissa Soverino carried the team at the regional, piling up 1,343 pins over six games. Senior Carly Ciolino had a strong performance at the sectional with 1,124 pins. Sophomore Nikki Mendez has been solid all season.
Cwudzinski won’t hesitate to substitute for a struggling bowler, either. The Porters go eight-deep, with juniors Danielle Mensik and Kierstin Vandenburg and sophomore Abby Turnbough also ready to contribute.
“It’s huge to have this kind of depth,” Cwudzinski said. “These eight bowlers, all of them are really good bowlers. I am 110 percent confident in all of them.”
The Porters hope to keep momentum going for one more tournament.
“We’re on a roll right now,” Troha said. “There’s no doubt in our minds that we can go to state and top what we did last year.”