ROCKFORD – As expected, the Girls State Bowling Tournament became a two-race Saturday, and it was a dandy.
Lockport began Saturday 70 pins behind Machesney Park Harlem and wiped out that deficit in a hurry. The Porters were up by 38 pins after Saturday’s first game, where they shot 1,075, and by 83 after shooting 1,060 in the second game.
However, in Game 3, which was Game 9 of the two-day tournament, Harlem rolled a 1,069 to Lockport’s 975 and was back on top by 11 pins entering the afternoon session. The Huskies led 28 after Game 10, by 55 after Game 11 and won the title by 38 pins. Their 12-game total was 12,310 to runner-up Lockport’s 12,272.
Still, the Porters claimed their third state trophy in three years, a feat, as Lockport coach Art Cwudzinski has pointed out, seldom if ever has been accomplished in any sport in school history. The Porters won the championship in 2015, were third last year and now second.
“Harlem was just a little better than us on this day,” Cwudzinski said. “If we bowled again next week, we might be a little better than Harlem. Old guys like me like to say I’d rather be lucky than good. To win this, you have to be both.
“I am very proud of the girls, the way they kept fighting. We were way behind after three games Friday, made it up and then some, and had our chance to win it in the last game but fell a little short.”
Waubonsie Valley’s 11,619 was good for third place, 691 pins behind Harlem. O’Fallon, Hoffman Estates and Salem rounded out the top six. Minooka finished 10th with a score of 11,101.
For Lockport, senior Dana Ackerson and junior Bailey Delrose led the way. Ackerson shot series of 654 and 622 Saturday for a 12-game total of 2,600, a 216.7 average, for sixth place individually. Delrose was seventh at 2,597, a 216.4 norm, after throwing 586 and 624 series Saturday.
Porters senior Paige Reiter opened Saturday with a 655 set and shot 576 in the afternoon for a 2,514 total and 14th place. Senior Monica Colon closed in 34th at 2,400 after a 629-604 effort Saturday. Senior Grace Karraker totaled 932 for five games and senior Marissa Ramirez had 157 for one game Saturday.
“We had two all-staters in Dana and Bailey, and Paige just missed, I believe for the second year in a row,” Cwudzinski said. “Those three, and all our girls, had great tournaments. Three state trophies in three years for these seniors, what an accomplishment.
“I look at this as the end of an era. Now it’s time to move on to a new group.”
Minooka battled its way into the top 12 Friday to qualify for Saturday’s competition and maintained its 10th-place standing. The Indians, under coach Frank Yudzentis, were led by sophomore Kristina Sickler, who finished 37th with a 2,383 total. Her Saturday series were 641 and 573.
Sophomore Gina Russell closed 47th at 2,307 after sets of 610 and 515 Saturday. Senior Carmella Russell, who won the previous week’s sectional at Orland Bowl, went 569-536 Saturday to finish at 2,299 and in 49th place.
Minooka senior Sam Isemonger totaled 2,079. Alyssa Ritchie shot 1,072 for six games over two days, and Erin Dunn totaled 961 bowling three games each day.
Morris was among the 24 qualifiers for state and finished 17th Friday, missing the 12-team cutoff for Saturday. However, Redskins senior Amy Waldron did finish 33rd at 2,401 in the individual competition.