O’FALLON – History does repeat itself.
Lincoln-Way Central’s boys bowling team captured third place at the state bowling finals and will be bringing home a coveted state trophy. Hononegah, which bowled a two-day total of 12,611, won the title while Freeport finished second with a 12,191, and the Knights scored 12,132. Lincoln-Way West finished in the 11th spot with 11,300.
The last time a Central boys bowling team was at the state finals was in 2008, when they also finished third. The Joliet area also did well in the final team standings, as Joliet West finished 14th, Minooka 15th and Plainfield Central was 16th.
“This trophy makes the long ride home much more enjoyable and a little shorter,” a happy Knights coach Coley O’Connell said. “These last two days have been such a rewarding and wonderful experience with this team. I also want to thank everyone who came to watch, that is also a part of this wonderful weekend.”
The Knights were in third place after Friday’s first six games and then went into second place after the first game Saturday and held that position until the final game.
“None of these kids had ever experienced the team component of being here, so we talked Friday night about just staying in themselves, always moving forward, never looking back. You can’t do anything about a bad ball or a bad frame. Move on and make the positive adjustments. I’m so proud of each and every one of them. Along with my assistant coaches who deserve a lot of credit.
“The four seniors have been incredible their entire career. They have worked and improved every season, and we have already started talking about next year and some of the practices with the underclassmen. We want to build off of this. We talked all season of that 2008 team that was third, we compared ourselves to that team and now we own another third-place trophy for our school.”
O’Connell’s first congratulatory phone call after his team received the third-place trophy was from his sister, Carrie Prosek, whose Minooka volleyball team captured the second-place trophy in volleyball this past fall.
“How many brother/sister combos have won state trophies in the same school year?” O’Connell asked. “It’s really special, and we always joke with each other between all of us, but we grew up with sports and talk about it all the time. It means a lot to have the support.”
The Knights were led by the 23rd place of Steven Plane and he was followed by Alex Nolan (25th), Jack Davern (34th), Trevor Amir (37th and Ricky Wessel (61st). Caleb Kirby led the Warriors with a 20th-place finish.
The individual title was just as exciting as three area bowlers earned All-State medals by finishing in the top 12.
Bolingbrook senior Alex Acosta and Lockport senior Alec Buchhaas battled in the top two to three spots over the two-day, 12-game battle.
But in the end, it was a 290-246 finish from Hononegah’s Nick Sommer that helped him to edge out Acosta by only two pins, 2,715-2,713, for the title. Buchhaas rolled a 2,692 and had the lead until Acosta and Sommer moved past him in the 10th frame.
Karl Burns from Plainfield Central finished eighth, rolling a 2,655.
“It was a pretty incredible finish down the stretch to watch the three go after the title,” Lockport coach Ron Davis said. “Sommer bowled a 290 fifth game and then hit his last four strikes to escape with the two-pin win, pretty crazy finish.”
“It was a great feeling and experience over the past two days,” Buchhaas said. “Yesterday [Friday] was a real good day, then today the lanes broke down a little different than they had on Friday, but it was a great battle with Alex and Nick.
“I really like this house, as I have been down here every season at Lockport, Alex and I also have battled for four years, especially being in the same conference. I’m proud of where I finished and to be third in the state is a great accomplishment, especially in your last competition.”