JOLIET – The girls high school bowling season is only a couple of weeks old, as coaches still are trying to figure out their teams, individuals and rotations, along with getting them ready for the next several weeks of major invitationals.
On Saturday, eight local teams competed in the Joliet West Invitational at Town & Country Lanes, with many of these same teams coming back here next week for the Strikefest tournament, which is one of the largest and most competitive tournaments of the regular season.
The teams bowled three regular, morning games and finished with eight Baker games in the afternoon, as Minooka came away with the title, rolling a 4,154 total.
The Indians have experience back from last season’s trophy-winning state finals, but are lacking depth.
“We have the state meet experience returning on this team, but we lack some depth this year,” Minooka coach Frank Yudzentis said. “We are also looking for that leadership to come forward, but the one nice thing about this team is that they all get along so well together.”
The Tigers finished second (4,008), as coach Jeff Bailey is looking to see where everyone fits in on the team.
“Right now, we are really looking to find each bowler’s weakness and really concentrate on working on those,” Bailey said. “We are also learning on becoming a team, because in high school it’s team first, individual second. You are only as good as your fifth bowler.
“Next year, we are going to change the format of this tournament and make it more like the college model. Each team would be seeded after the morning session, then bowl a double-elimination bracket in the afternoon.”
Lincoln-Way West finished the day in third place (3,775) and has a very good one-two punch in Olivia Daujatas and Mackenzie Ullian.
“I’m very happy with our team chemistry and the freshmen on our team have fit in so well,” Warrior coach Scott Ullian said. “It’s so much about that unity as a team because the kids can feed off each other, have great attitudes, have fun at practice and, ultimately, that all transfers to better scores.
“MacKenzie and Olivia are great leaders and I expect a lot out of them and they have done that.”
Plainfield South is another team that has shown steady progress through the past seasons and has two veteran bowlers in Savannah Magruder and Laura Rohlfs leading the way, as they placed fifth (3,585).
“Right now is an important time to work on fundamentals and team bonding,” South coach Kyle Rohlfs said. “To have two leaders in Savannah and Laura is so vital, because they have been like a second coach on the team. We have already accomplished some things this season that haven’t happened in a long time with the program.”
Central is a work in progress this season, as the Steelmen placed sixth (3,563) Saturday.
“We are really young this season, with only two starters and one reserve on the team from the state team last year,” Central coach Steve Perion said. “As long as we continue to work and improve week to week, then we should be very compete at the end of the season and that is when it matters.”
Hailey Bozych, a sophomore from Plainfield East, was the individual morning high bowler with a three-game total of 593, as the Bengals placed 10th as a team.
“Hailey has been on fire lately and has learned a lot from her freshman year,” East coach Bob Nelson said. “Hailey has really learned to slow down and roll the ball and her spare pickup has been so accurate, much of which comes with throwing a plastic ball on every spare attempt.”
Other local teams competing were Lincoln-Way East in seventh and Romeoville in eighth.