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Elburn bowler runner up in “Best of the Best” tournament

in Bowling/Middle School by
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WHEATON, Ill.—Elburn seventh-grader Mabel Cummins was second in Sunday’s “Best of the Best” Tournament hosted by the Fox Valley Bowling Proprietors Association (FVBPA). Sixty young bowlers were invited to contend for over $2,500 in college scholarship funds at a season-ending event for regional travel teams held at Fox Bowl in Wheaton, Ill. Cummins was only seven pins behind eventual the champion, a high school senior. Cummins was part of the Funway Youth Bowling travel team.

Bowling season ends, but new territory carved

in Bowling by
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KANELAND—In the first year of a new postseason setup, Kaneland Lady Knights bowling did well for itself.

With an exemplary performance at the Metea Valley Regional on Feb. 8, Kaneland was able to send senior cornerstone Christie Crews to the Saturday Freeport Sectional. Crews became the first Kaneland bowler to advance to the next weekend of postseason play since Tannya Serrano in 2003.

With the new regional-sectional setup, the Lady Knights representative was able to compete at the Freeport Sectional for a chance at the State gathering in Rockford.

Crews’ total of 979 pins throughout the morning and afternoon sessions was not enough to emerge as an individual qualifier for next weekend. The lowest individual qualifier was Belvidere North’s Haley Solberg at 1,236. Crews’ average was a 163, with a morning session of 496.

“She was happy to be there and did a great job representing our team and school,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.

The top overall score was Metea Valley’s Jordan Newham at 1,398.

Freeport (5,867), Harlem (5,808), Rockford Guilford (5,651) and Metea Valley (5,630) were the advancing teams out of sectional play.

With the end of 2013-14 play, Kaneland bowling says goodbye to Crews and fellow senior Michelle Bohanek.

Crews controls fate after Regional

in Bowling by
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Photo: The 2013-14 KHS bowlers competed as a team one final time Saturday at the Metea Valley Regional in Aurora. The team included senior Michelle Bohanek (from left), junior Rena Wojciechowski, junior Katie Hill, freshman Grace Lindgren, junior Dominique Lee and senior Christie Crews. Photo by Mary Paulson

AURORA—Whenever the end comes for Kaneland bowling in 2013-14, it’s going to have a different feel and look.

That’s because senior Christie Crews is still going and has a chance to qualify for the State tournament in two weeks.

At Parkside Lanes in Aurora, Crews represented Kaneland well as part of the Metea Valley Regional, managing to qualify for the Freeport Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 15.

After Kaneland finished with a middle of the pack 4,183 to finish sixth, Crews’ singular total of a 908 series put her in eighth of 10 individual qualifiers for the weekend.

The top individual total went to Metea Valley junior Jordan Newham, who bowled a 1,378.

The four qualifying schools for sectional play were Metea Valley at 5,620, St. Charles North at 5,472, St. Charles East at 4,671 and Larkin at 4,383.

The 2014 regional marked the first time for a new postseason format. Normally, the bowling landscape would go from sectionals to State, and the top two teams plus two additional individuals would advance. Now with regionals, the top four teams plus 10 individuals go to sectionals. Four teams and five additional individuals stand to advance out of Freeport.

“Christie just happens to be one of the first to go through the new format,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “She did not have any spectacular scores last Saturday, but most of the girls who bowled the really high scores were on the top four teams—the four teams who qualified for the Sectional. The format was designed in part to accommodate bowlers who are not necessarily on one of the top teams.”

While the Lady Knights have never managed to advanced to State, the school has advanced four qualifiers, most recently Tannya Serrano in 2003.

“The past few years, it has taken close to a 220 average at the Sectional to qualify as an individual for State. It will probably be close to that again this year, so Christie will need to have a spectacular day up in Freeport this Saturday. Regardless of outcome, we are proud of her, and she is proud to represent us,” McKnight said.

Additionally, the Lady Knights closed out regular season play on Feb. 5, in Lisle. The Lady Lions dropped KHS to 3-10 in dual action with a 2,226-2,191 result. Junior Dominique Lee had a team-high 498 series, while also having a team-best 184 game.

Crews continues at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, with other competitors from the Rockford East and Sycamore Regionals.

Degree of difficulty

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Delayed NIB-12 gathering has KHS bowling 10th

STREATOR, Ill.—It took only a week to get going, but the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet took place on Monday at Dixon Plum Hollow Lanes.

The meet, hosted by exiting conference outfit Streator, ended with Morris in first place after an output of 7,230 pins. Departing Dixon was second with a tally of 6,485, followed by the hosts at 6,167.

Ottawa was fourth from the West division at 6,091.

LaSalle-Peru, DeKalb, Rochelle, Sycamore and Sterling filled out the rest of the order.

Morris’ Jessica Winter, at 1,291, was top in the individual category, while Dixon’s Emily Quaco was second at 1,264.

While Kaneland was stuck with bringing up the rear in the 10-team field with a total pin collection of 5,115, there were some bright spots.

[st_callout title=”So close ..” button_text=”Full NIB-12 Results” link=”http://nibig12.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/NIB12-2013-14-Varsity-Tournament.xls”]Kaneland junior Dominique Lee was 82 pins away from entering the conference’s top 15 list for high six-game series on Monday.[/st_callout]

“Dominique Lee had a nice 228 game for us at the tournament,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “It was amazing how Morris absolutely ran away from the field. They really were in a different league, you might say.”

With a 228 as her high game, Lee, a junior, ranked 15th in the conference high-game category.

The Kaneland totals included Lee followed by senior anchor Christie Crews, junior Rena Wojciechowski with an 888 afternoon, freshman Grace Lindgren at 851, junior Katy Hill at 825 and senior Michelle Bohanek at 662.

Kaneland’s regular season was scheduled to come to an end on Wednesday in Lisle, Ill., against the Interstate Eight Conference entry Lions in a road contest.

KHS stops streak on lanes

in Bowling by
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Photo: Kaneland High School seniors Christie Crews (left) and Michelle Bohanek enjoy one of their last few games as seniors. Photo by Patty Wilk

Bowlers celebrate win, seniors
KANELAND—It was bound to happen, and lucky for Kaneland, it happened with some time left in 2013-14.
Stopping a five loss skid, Kaneland earned a win over the host IMSA Lady Titans on Thursday in non-conference competition.

The 2,080-1,863 win for the Kaneland Lady Knights crew at St. Paul’s in Aurora marked the first dual win for the black-clad roster in exactly five weeks.

KHS followed that up with a Northern Illinois Big XII matchup against visiting Rochelle at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb on Tuesday and ended up on the losing end of a 2,666-2,296 affair.

Kaneland is now 3-8.

In the win over IMSA, noteworthy series came at the throws of junior Dominique Lee at 447, senior Michelle Bohanek at 432 and junior Rena Wojciechowski at 421. Top games were from Lee at 179 and Wojciechowski at 170.

“We did have some good, consistent bowling last Thursday at IMSA,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “The conditions are always a challenge at St. Paul’s Lanes, but we went in there with a good attitude and the idea that we could do well, regardless. It paid off, as most of the girls bowled at or slightly above their season averages.”

Against Rochelle, top series came from Lee at 421 and Bohanek at 411, with Lee notching the top games at 156 and 150. Wojciechowski also rolled a 150.

On Wednesday, Kaneland bowled at Ottawa, and lost to the hosts 2,733-2,537.

The Lady Knights continue their regular season homestretch with the NIB-12 meet on Monday, Jan. 27, at Dixon Plum Hollow Lanes, hosted by Streator.

Bowlers get back into strike of things

in Bowling by
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Photo: Junior Dominique Lee gets a high five from junior Rena Wojciechowski Saturday. Lee was awarded medals for fourth place individual high game for the morning round, and first place for individual high series in the afternoon round at the IMSA Tournament. Photo by Mary Paulson

KANELAND—With its first action of 2014, Kaneland looked to do some damage in three road outings.

On Jan. 8, Kaneland sauntered down to LaSalle-Peru for a Northern Illinois Big XII crossover battle with its West division foe, where L-P took a 2,879-2,375 win. Thursday saw a loss against its Sycamore rival, 2,917-2,494. Meanwhile, Saturday saw the usual January trip to the IMSA Invite, where Kaneland finished sixth of 15 squads, with Marengo taking the day.

The top series on the Kaneland side against L-P were managed by Dominique Lee at 450 and Christie Crews at 476.

Against Sycamore, Lee managed a 490 series, while Crews bowled a 476, and teammate Rena Wojciechowski took a 479.

“The extended Christmas Break took a toll on our performances at LaSalle-Peru and Sycamore last Wednesday and Thursday, but things went better on Saturday. Most of the girls did better on Saturday, and Dominique’s performance was particularly noteworthy,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.

At IMSA, Lee’s total of 447 included games of 223 and 224 for a first-place prize in her afternoon round division. Teammate Michelle Bohanek also took a first-place medal in her division, bowling a 333 series (games of 187 and 146). The afternoon session paired off bowlers based on their season averages. After Marengo, Ottawa and Trinity filled out the top three slots.

Kaneland has dropped five duals in a row, and is still looking for its first head-to-head win since Dec. 9. The Lady Knights sit at 2-7.

Ahead for the Lady Knights is a dual against the IMSA Lady Titans on Thursday, Jan. 16.

Jan. 16 sports recap

in Bowling/Boys Basketball/Girls Basketball by

JV Girls Bowling
Jan. 8 @ La Salle-Peru—The Lady Knights were led by Amber Spaetzel’s 126 game and 329 series, but fell to the host Lady Cavaliers 2,114-1,478. Kayla McDuffee bowled a 277 series, while Grace Lindgren had a 246, and Natalie Barnhart had a 186.
Jan. 11 @ IMSA Tourney—The Lady Knights placed sixth out of eight teams at Saturday’s IMSA tournament. Emma Nawrot led KHS with a 349 series, followed by Barnhart’s 328. Barnhart also bowled a Kaneland-best 135 game. Summer Gibbs (322 series), Margaret Nelson (286) and Spaetzel (237) rounded out the JV bowlers.

Soph. Girls Basketball
Jan. 9 vs. Morris—The visiting Lady Redskins defeated KHS 47-37. Meg Cohrs led the Lady Knights with 11 points, while Kylie Modaff had 10. Kiandra Powell had five points, Bailey Crimmins had four and Morgan Weber had three.
Jan. 11 at Burlington Central—Crimmin’s 13 points and Kristen Siebert’s six led KHS as they defeated the host Lady Rockets 33-28. Madi Edwards had four points while Nicole Koczka and Modaff each had three.
Jan. 13 at Plano—KHS led by double-digits at halftime, and handed Plano a 49-28 loss. Koczka’s 14 points led the Lady Knights. Crimmins had seven points, Cohrs, Modaff and Powell each had six points, and Siebert had four points. The sophomore Lady Knights are now 9-8 overall, while 1-2 in NIB-12 play.

Soph. Boys Basketball
Jan. 10 vs. Morris—After a deadlocked first quarter at 13 apiece, the Knights outscored the visiting Redskins 38-23 in the final three quarters to win 51-36. Tanner Robertson’s 16 points led the team. Mark Lilly had 13 points, while Joe Laudont had eight, Jack Marczuk had six and Mitchel Groen had four.
Jan. 11 at Burlington Central—The Knights prevailed in Rocket-land 41-32. Robertson again had a team-high points, with 10. Marczuk had nine points, Lilly and Groen each had seven and Laudont had six.
Jan. 14 at Marmion—the Knights lost for only the second time this season with a 60-40 setback to the Cadets. Robertson led the team with 10 points, while Lilly had nine. Four nights had four points: Marczuk, Groen, Jacob Violett and Kevin Fajardo. Connor Peterson had three points. The Knights sit at 11-2, 3-0 in NIB-12 conference play.

Boys Bowling
Jan. 13 at Streator (NIB-12 Meet)—The Kaneland boys bowling club took on the NIB-12 field in Streator Monday. Steven Becker led the Knights with an 1,119-pin day, while Nate Dyer (1,076) and Joey Mendoza (1,048) also broke the 1,000 pin mark. Tyler Rowe (971), Joe Kusarek (891) and Josh Rodrigues (636) also bowled for the Knights.

Bowlers don’t feel at home vs. DeKalb

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The Lady Knights bowlers (below) huddle up prior to their match against DeKalb. Photo by Marshall Farthing
The Lady Knights bowlers (below) huddle up prior to their match against DeKalb. Photo by Marshall Farthing
Freshman Kayla McDuffee sends one down the lane against the Lady Barbs. Photo by Marshall Farthing
Freshman Kayla McDuffee sends one down the lane against the Lady Barbs. Photo by Marshall Farthing
Junior Rena Wojciechowski gets in on the action against the Lady Barbs. Photo by Marshall Farthing
Junior Rena Wojciechowski gets in on the action against the Lady Barbs. Photo by Marshall Farthing
by Mike Slodki

KANELAND—Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb doesn’t feel like a home base when you lose to the building’s other tenant.

Kaneland suited up against the DeKalb Lady Barbs for a Thursday meeting as part of Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play, only to suffer a handy 3,063-2.539 defeat. It marked the third consecutive head-to-head setback for KHS, which fell to 2-5 on the season.

DeKalb was paced by a high team series of 1,013. For Kaneland, high series went to junior Dominique Lee at 522 and senior counterpart Christie Crews at 503. High games went to Lee’s 210 and Crews’ 193. The high Kaneland team game was a collective 850.

Kaneland bowling will enjoy a little rest and relaxation before hitting the lanes on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at Four Seasons in Sycamore against the Lady Spartans.

Bowlers sunk by Streator, Morris

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Photo: Senior Christie Crews has been a leader for the Lady Knights bowlers this season. She bowled a 414 series against Streator and a 434 against Morris in recent action. File Photo

KANELAND—Sometimes you’ll just run into a bowling roster that has a better night in them.

It happened to Kaneland bowling on Dec. 11, against visiting Streator at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, and it happened on Tuesday at Echo Lanes in Morris against the Lady Redskins.

Against the Northern Illinois Big XII foe Streator, the final was 2,526-2,178. Morris had a stellar Tuesday in its home element, smothering Kaneland by a 3,577-2,328 margin.

Kaneland is now 2-4 after six duals.

Against the Lady Bulldogs, the Lady Knights found themselves paced by Christie Crews’ 418 high series, and teammate Dominique Lee’s 414.

Facing Morris, Crews supplanted the effort with a team-high series of 434, and Lee had a 423.

Crews, a senior, has supplied nice totals for the Lady Knights, but knows it takes more than that for the KHS to hope for a third win soon.

“There’s several things we need to do,” Crews said. “Getting a high game is almost all by chance. You can work as hard as you want. All the girls getting a high game at the same time is great if you can do it, but good luck. It’s great if it happens, and if it doesn’t, at least you get some more practice.”

High game went to Lee on the evening with a 156.

“I still think we’re going to be competitive. We had a bit of a slump. If we had bowled like we did against IMSA against Streator, we would have won. But we’re hanging in there and we have another tough match against DeKalb, and we’re looking forward to a nice tournament on Saturday (Lisle Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 21),” head coach Jim McKnight said.

Kaneland tries to climb back toward .500 on Thursday, Dec. 19, against DeKalb.

Dec. 19 sports recap

in Bowling/Boys Basketball/Wrestling by

JV Bowling
Dec. 11 vs. Streator—The Lady Knights only had two competitors, so no team score was kept. Kayla McDuffee bowled a 323 series with a 132 high game, while Natalie Barnhart bowled a 282 series with 125 high game.
Dec. 17 @ Morris—Grace Lindgren bowled a 314 series, with a 119 high game, while McDuffee bowled a 291 series (105 high game) and Barnhart bowled a 270 series (119 high game). No team score was kept.

Boys Soph. Basketball
Dec. 13 vs. Rochelle—The Knights earned a 68-47 win over visiting Rochelle Friday. Jake Marczuk led KHS with 16 points, while Tanner Robertson had 11 and Mark Lilly had 11. Fellow Knights Mitchel Groen and Joe Laudont each had seven points, while the trio of Jason Edwards, Jacob Violett and Brett Hansen each had four points.
Dec. 17 @ Hinckley-Big Rock—The Knights routed the host Royals 63-36 Tuesday. Lilly led the team with 16 points, while Robertson (12) and Groen (10) were also in double-digits. The sophomore boys are now 5-1, 2-0 in NIB-12 play.

JV Wrestling
Dec. 14 KHS JV Tournament—The JV wrestlers faired well in their own tournament on Saturday.
The Knights had three grapplers earn individual championships. At 98 pounds, Austin Kedzie won by fall over Mark Wuerfl of Batavia in :32. Johnathan Terry defeated Lukasz Skoczen of Plainfield South 5-2 to win the 170 pound A division. Colin Gussman won a 6-4 decision over Wheaton-Warrenville South’s John Bikulcius in the 145 pound A division.
Earning runner-up status on the day for KHS were Hayden Patterson in the 132 pound A division and Mitchell Jones in the 138 pound A division.
Cullen Murray of Kaneland placed third in the the 182 pound division, while Jordan Hoffman placed fourth in the 132 pound B division.
Preston Havis (113 pounds) and Ben Long (170 pounds B) each earned fifth-place medals, while Ben Smith (152 pounds A) was sixth.

Bowlers beat IMSA, lose close matches

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Photo: Junior Katie Hill (above) bowled a 405 series for the Lady Knights Thursday. Photo by Ben Draper

KANELAND—Margins are relatively close, but the Lady Knight bowlers housed at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb would like to pick up a few more wins sooner rather than later.

After opening up last week with a loss to Sterling, the Lady Knights faced Lisle High School on Dec. 4, and lost 1,993-1,927 in a Northern Illinois Big XII-Interstate Eight Conference meeting in DeKalb. Kaneland then lost to visiting Dixon in the last meeting between the two squads as conference mates by a 2,826-2,362 total.

After competing in the Dundee-Crown tourney on Saturday, Kaneland broke into the win column Monday against Illinois Math and Science Academy, where it won 2,251 to 1,970.

Kaneland sits at 1-3 after Monday’s matchup.

Against the Lady Lions, Christie Crews was team-best with a 427 series, while Dominique Lee had a 393 series herself. High game was bowled by Crews at 153.

Facing off against the rival Duchesses, the high series for the Lady Knights was accomplished by senior Michelle Bohanek at 429, followed by Lee at 422. High game was Bohanek’s at 168. Dixon’s Maggie Thomas had a meet-best 546 series.

At the Dundee-Crown tourney KHS took sixth out of 12 teams with a day-long total of 2,572, with D-C winning the day at 3,182.

KHS coach Jim McKnight recognizes challenges ahead, but feels the girls could be able to meet what’s on the horizon.

“We have some tough matches coming up against Streator and Morris, so it’s nice to go into that kind of competition on the upswing,” McKnight said. “Even though our numbers are small, we’ve proven to ourselves that we can be competitive on any given day. What we need now are some consistently high games and series from three or four of the girls on the same outing.”

McKnight got his wish for more consistency against IMSA Monday, where the Lady Knights won all three games to post a convincing win over the visiting Titans. Crews led the way with a high game of 190 and a high series of 482. Bohanek (465) and Rena Wojciechowski (461) and Lee (443) all bowled series over 400, while Katie Hill (375) and Grace Lindgren (351) also competed for KHS.

Wednesday had Kaneland battle Streator in a NIB-12 crossover before a trek to Morris on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Dec. 12 sports recap

in Bowling/Boys Basketball/Girls Basketball by

Girls JV Bowling
Dec. 5 vs. Dixon—Freshman Grace Lindgren led the way for the Lady Knights against visiting Dixon with a 321 series at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb. Freshmen Kayla McDuffee and Natalie Barnhart bowled a 265 and 257 respectively, while Amber Spaetzel bowled a 254. Dixon defeated the KHS 2,257-1,637.

Soph. Boys Basketball
Dec. 5 at Sycamore—The Knights defeated host Sycamore 51-43 behind Jake Marczuk’s 13 points. Joe Laudont had 11 points, Mark Lilly had 10, Tanner Robertsen eight, Jacob Violett six and Mitchel Groen three. The Knights improved to 3-1, 1-0 in NIB-12 play.

Soph. Girls Basketball
Dec. 7 vs. Antioch—The Lady Knights dismantled visiting Antioch 43-10. Morgan Weber led all scorers with 10 points, Kiandra Powell had eight, Meg Cohrs had six and Kylie Modaff had four for KHS.
Dec. 10 vs. Rochelle—On Tuesday, KHS dispatched NIB-12 foe Rochelle 63-38. Cohrs led the Lady Knights with 16 points. Bailey Crimmins had 12 points, while Weber had 11 points. Kristen Siebert had eight points and Powell had four points. The team is now 5-2 overall, 1-1 in NIB-12 play.

Dec. 5 Sports Recap

in Bowling/Boys Basketball/Girls Basketball/Wrestling by

Varsity Bowling
Dec. 3 at Sterling—The Lady Knights gained two conference points in their season opener at Sterling Tuesday. Christie Crews led the way with a 523 series, while Dominique Lee had a 472. The Knights won game 2.
“Christie’s 213 in the first game really charged the team up, and it was fantastic that we could win a game against such a perennially strong team,” said head coach Jim McKnight. “It was great to see the girls bowl so well their first time out.”
Michelle Bohanek bowled a 411 series, Katie Hill a 409, Rena Wojciechowski a 401 and Amber Spaetzel a 295.

KHS bowled at Lisle Wednesday before their home opener tonight at DeKalb’s Mardi Gras Lanes against Dixon at 4 p.m.

Soph. Girls Basketball
Nov. 26 vs. Belvidere North—The Lady Knights upended the visiting Blue Thunder 50-28. Kiandra Powell led KHS with three three-pointers and 13 points off the bench, while Kylie Modaff had 8 points, and Meg Cohrs and Morgan Weber each scored 7.

Nov. 27 vs. Marengo—KHS secured a second-place finish at its own tournament with a 44-28 victory over Marengo. Corhs led the Lady Knights with 10 points, and Kristen Siebert had 8. Powell, Weber and Sophie Sandquist each had 6 points, Modaff had 4 and Hollie Fedderly and Nicole Koczka each had 2 points. The sophomores sit at 3-1 on the season.

Soph. Boys Basketball
Nov. 27 at Belvidere North—The sophomore Knights took on Hononegah at the Belvidere North Tournament, falling to the Indians 56-55. Mark Lilly let the way with 13 points, while Mitchel Groen had 12 and Jake Marczuk had 11. Other Knight scorers included Jacob Violett (6 points), Joe Laudont (4), Kevin Fajardo (3) and Tanner Robertson, Andy Delgado and Sam Wolf each with 2.

Nov. 29 at Belvidere North—The Knights bounced back to defeat the Sandwich Indians 62-44 at the Belvidere North Tournament Friday. Ten Knights made the scoresheet, with Robertson’s 11 leading the balanced effort. Marczuk (10 points), Jason Edwards (9), Laudont and Lilly (8 each), Groen (6), Conor Peterson (5) Fajardo and Wold (2 each), and Matt Vandenborn (1) also scored for the Knights.

The sophomore group improved their record to 2-1 prior to tonight’s game at Sycamore at 7 p.m.

JV Wrestling
Nov. 30 vs. Freeport, Burlington Central and Wheaton Warrenville South—The JV Knights competed in a home quad Saturday. Winners included Kegan Workman at 152 pounds (fall in 1:30 over Sam Morgan of Freeport), Preston Havis at 113 pounds (fall in 4:22 vs. Tony Anderson of WWS and a fall in 1:18 over a BC opponent), Mitch Jones at 138 ponds (5-3 decision over Sam Milnamow of WWS and a fall over BC’s Shaun McMillian in 1:32) and Hayden Patterson at 132 pounds (fall in 1:32 over Biship Kronenbomb of BC).

Bowling on Crews control

in Bowling by

KANELAND—After a 2012-13 campaign that saw a pickup of two late-season wins to improve to 3-6 in dual action, Kaneland girls bowling could be excused if it dwelled in the positive.

But the loss of five seniors from last year’s lineup means no time for basking in anything except lane time, as they get ready for a challenging 2013-14.

The team’s backbone and chance for victory lies mainly with senior Christie Crews and junior Dominique Lee. They’ll be joined by returning senior Michelle Bohanek and juniors Katie Hill, Rena Wojciechowski and Amber Spaetzel.

“Christie has the potential to put up big scores every time out, and we’ll need those scores, that’s for sure,” said three-decade head coach Jim McKnight. “She sometimes gets into split trouble, but she’s also an excellent spare shooter. She’s a very smart bowler, and her confidence is inspiring.”

”Rena showed great promise as a freshman two years ago, but she played basketball last year. She was anxious to return to bowling this year, and so far, she has looked great in practice,” McKnight said.

While McKnight and company have to deal with a slim roster, don’t look to lack in the competitiveness department.

“All the girls are excited and doing well, but we have only eight girls, so that’s a problem. We had several good prospects who decided to play club sports, and a couple others became ineligible. We’re still waiting for some girls to join us, but we’re having the same problems as many other teams. In fact, DeKalb only has seven girls right now, and their student population is larger than ours,” McKnight said. “If we had to compete tomorrow, we’d probably go with Christie, Dominique, Rena, Michelle, Katie and Amber.”

With the landscape of the NIB-12 always heavy, the Lady Knights will aim higher than the 10th-place finish in last year’s conference competition.

“It’s difficult to predict who will be at the top of the conference this year, but I expect Morris, Dixon and Sterling to all be right up there. Sycamore and DeKalb have lost some of last year’s teams, but they’ll probably be right in the thick of it, too. Sadly, this will be the last year for Streator and Dixon in this conference. They have excellent programs and nice people, so they will certainly be missed,” McKnight said.

Kaneland once again will make its home at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, and begin its quest on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Sterling.

Youth earns spot in national bowling finals

in Bowling/Elburn by
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Photo: Mabel Cummins prepares for the upcoming ISYL event at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb. Courtesy Photo

ELBURN—Mabel Cummins, added another bowling trophy to her collection this past weekend with a win in the 12-under Boys & Girls “Scratch” division at the Illinois State Youth Leaders scholarship event. Mabel joined over a hundred of the state’s top young strikers at Brookmont Lanes in Kankakee, Ill., as they vied for college scholarships and recognition at the United States Bowling Congress-sanctioned competition.

Participants in both scratch and handicap divisions bowled six games, moving one pair of lanes to the right after each game on a very challenging oil pattern that changed rapidly as the day wore on. Mabel posted the highest total pin fall to claim the top spot in her division and earned an invitation to the 2014 Junior Gold Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. The Junior Gold Championships is recognized as the largest and most coveted youth bowling tournament in the United States, showcasing the nation’s elite bowlers as they compete for scholarship funds and individual titles in six divisions for boys and girls up to age 20. Top finishers can earn spots on Junior Team USA, the development squad for America’s international (professional) bowling team.

Although Mabel spends most of her time on the lanes at Funway Entertainment Center in Batavia, she is no stranger to national events, having placed fifth in the U-12 Girls division at the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Youth Open Championships in Detroit. She says she doesn’t look forward to the long drives to distant events, but she likes visiting new places and she is really excited about going to Niagara Falls, the most popular attraction in the Buffalo area.

Home on the lanes

in Bowling/Community Sports/Kaneland by
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Photo: Kaneland Harter Middle School 6th-grader Mabel Cummins is one of the top junior bowlers in the Chicago area, with a 179 average and a high game of 238. She recently competed in the 12-and-under division of the United States Bowling Congress’ Youth Open Championships in Detroit, placing fifth in singles, sixth in the doubles division and eighth in the team division. Courtesy Photos

Kaneland 6th-grader finds success on bowling circuit
ELBURN—Ray Cummins’ first job as an air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Administration took him and his wife, Kimberly, both Nevada natives, north of the U.S.-Canadian border.

We’re talking way north of the border, to Chugiak, Alaska—an unincorporated community in the municipality of Anchorage.

A recreational bowler, Ray started taking his daughter, Mabel, to Eagle River Bowl in nearby Eagle River, Alaska, on Sundays before working the night shift when she was four.

“We put gutter racks up, and she would throw the ball between her legs,” Ray recalls. “We had a big, empty bowling alley to ourselves.”

Ray landed a promotion in 2008 to work at the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center, located at Indian Trail Road in Aurora, where he’s now a traffic management officer. It’s the hub of America’s national air space system that manages air traffic in and out of O’Hare and Midway airports.

So the Cummins family moved from an area he describes as paradise to the Fox Valley area.

“It’s the wilderness at your doorstep,” he said of their time in Alaska. “We had moose pretty much in our yard all the time.”

Ray, Kimberly and Mabel ended up putting down roots in Elburn. Their home sits on an acre and a quarter of land south of town along Hughes Creek.

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“I have this thing called the 15-second rule. I can get mad at myself for 15 seconds (after a bad shot) and I just let it go.”

-Mabel Cummins, Elburn sixth-grader

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“We traded moose for deer,” Ray said with a laugh. “It’s very similar to our home in Alaska. It’s kind of woodsy and remote, near civilization, but you live out in the woods. Elburn is very community oriented, and it just felt like home.”

Meanwhile, Mabel has been experiencing life in the fast lane since her move to the lower 48, moving into the upper echelon of bowlers for her age group.

Mabel, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Kaneland Harter Middle School, is one of the top junior bowlers in the Chicago area. She averages a 179, with a high game of 238, and recently competed in the 12-and-under division of the United States Bowling Congress’ Youth Open Championships in Detroit.

She placed fifth in singles in the 12-and-under girls scratch (no handicap) division. Mabel also teamed up with her doubles partner, 12-year-old Blake Miller from St. Charles, and finished sixth out of 52 teams. In the teams’ division, where Mabel and Blake were paired with two other 12-year-olds they had never met; they finished eighth.

“It was amazing,” said Mabel, who is in her first year of competing in USBC tourneys. “I got to spend time with some really good team bowlers. I’ve been in a couple of tournaments like this, but this last tournament, I just decided to go there and have fun.”

Competitive bowling is a different beast from recreational bowling. Mabel owns 20 bowling balls—the average professional owns around 30—and takes five with her to tournaments. Bowlers constantly have to gauge the amount of oil on the lanes, and adjust the speed, rotation and loft of their shots.

“It’s incredibly physics driven,” Ray said.

“In tournaments I’ve gone to, they put down different oil patterns,” Mabel explained. “It changes how your ball reacts. The ball carries the oil down the lanes. You have to adjust accordingly.”

Mabel wants to continue honing her skills, and recently, one of her bowling role models, Diandra Asbaty, agreed to become her coach and mentor as Mabel continues to go through the junior bowling developmental process. Asbaty, who’s from Chicago, won the 2012 USBC Queens tournament, considered to be one of the four majors on the PBA Tour.

“I’ve had a couple of lessons with her,” said Mabel, who practices two hours a day and meets with Asbaty once or twice a month. “She wants me to be her student until I go off to college. I think she’s a really good teacher. She has a way of helping you understand what you need to do, and helping you get there to achieve that.”

One particular part of her game Mabel said she would like to improve on is the mental aspect.

“I’m working on my mental game,” she said. “How I react when I throw a bad shot. You have to have a strong mental game; that’s what puts you above the rest. I have this thing called the15-second rule. I can get mad at myself for 15 seconds (after a bad shot) and I just let it go.”

Mabel eventually would like to become part of Junior Team USA, an elite group of boys and girls bowlers who represent the nation at international bowling competitions. But her ultimate goal is to land a college bowling scholarship at one of the universities known for their bowling programs: Wichita State, Wisconsin-Whitewater or Nebraska.

One of the benefits of bowling in tournaments such as the USBC’s Youth Open Championships in Detroit is the potential to earn scholarship money. Whatever money a youth bowler earns—depending on how one places at a particular tourney—is put into a 529 college savings plan in which families accumulate tax-free funds that are applied toward college education expenses, such as room and board and tuition.

Mabel wants to become a prosthodonist, which specializes in the restoration and replacement of teeth lost either through an accident or the aging process.

“I like how a prosthodonist combines art and creativity and being able to help people, which is want I want to do,” she said.

Elburn youth vies for national title

in Bowling/Community Sports by
Mabel Cummins

Photos: Mabel Cummins (right) follows through during a recent tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cummins (below) , a sixth-grader attending Kaneland Harter Middle School, gathers some of the trophies she’s won during recent tournaments from throughout the region. Courtesy Photos

Mabel Cummins seeks nation’s top spot in bowling tournament
Kaneland—Mabel Cummins, a sixth-grader at Kaneland Harter Middle School, is traveling to Detroit next week to compete in the 12-under division of the United States Bowling Congress Youth Open Championships.

Cummins is one of the top junior bowlers in the Chicago area with an average near 180 and a current high game of 238.

Bowling has been part of her life as long as she can remember, even as a toddler growing up in the wilds of Eagle River, Alaska. Somewhere around age 4, she started bowling with her father on Sunday nights before he went to work, but she didn’t get serious about the sport until she moved to the “lower 48” in 2008.

Since coming to Illinois, Mabel has developed a passion for the game, and now she bowls with a clear goal in mind: college scholarship. She has earned recognition with titles in and above her age group, and although only 11, she has caught the attention of some well-known professional bowlers.
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Last month in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she impressed PBA champions Jason Belmonte and Diandra Asbaty, co-sponsors of the Elite Youth Tour, when she rolled a five-game, 888 series at a regional event to become the youngest semi-finalist in the U-20 girls division. Earlier this year in Mission, Kansas, she received kudos from PBA Hall of Fame member Norm Duke, who watched her post the high scratch (non-handicap) series among 15-and-under boys and girls during a Next Level Bowling Pro-Am. Norm awarded Mabel with a new bowling ball, an autographed bowling pin and scholarship money for her efforts, and he noted that Mabel has the potential to become a future bowling superstar.

Much like other aspiring athletes, Mabel travels around the region to participate in various tournaments, but her main source of competition is the Fox Valley Junior Travel League. Between competitive events, she hones her skills at Funway Ultimate Entertainment Center in Batavia, under the guidance of long-time PBA professional Mike Sopper.

Mabel said she hopes to eventually use her abilities to garner a spot on Team USA, an elite group of top American men and women athletes who represent the U.S. in international bowling competitions. For now she has other priorities, like staying on the KHS Honor Roll despite being enrolled in advanced level (challenge) classes and teaching early life skills to second-graders on Sunday mornings at Fox Valley Christian Church.

Bowling campaign ends in Schaumburg

in Bowling/Featured by

Photo: Angela Charhut

Lady Knights collect another dual win in final head-to-head
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—While the pins stopped falling after Saturday’s IHSA Sectional hosted by Schaumburg High School, Kaneland’s senior-laden lineup was able to see hard work pay off on Jan. 30 in the final dual opportunity of the year.

At Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, the Lady Knights took it to visiting Lisle by a final of 2,604-2,425.

Ellissa Eckert bowled a team-high series of 509, followed by Morgan Wojciechowski’s 444.

Eckert’s 178 was good for team-high game, followed by a 176 by Wojciechowski.

Kaneland’s 2012-13 dual mark ended at 3-6.

At Schaumburg, Lake Park’s 5,481 pin count was tops, along with fellow advancing team Schaumburg’s 5,478.

Kaneland finished in 13th out of 17 squads with a mark of 4,126, 90 behind Streamwood.

Kaneland says goodbye to seniors Angela Charhut, Ellissa Eckert, Anne Salerno, Amanda Strayve and Morgan Wojciechowski.

Bowlers handle IMSA

in Bowling by

KHS group also deals with tough NIB-12 field
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For their second win of 2012-13, Kaneland High School bowling didn’t have to go far.

In a meeting at St. Paul’s Lanes in Aurora, KHS earned a 2,280-1,989 win over Illinois Math and Science Academy in a match in which the top five scores were officially counted.

Kaneland saw its dual mark improve to 2-6.

Angela Charhut led the way with a 464 series, followed closely by fellow Lady Knight Morgan Wojciechowski’s 463. Christie Crews also contributed with a 441.

Wojciechowski paced KHS with a team-high 177 game, followed by Charhut’s 170.

Mikayla Petesch of IMSA was tops for the Lady Titans with a 466 series.

At the Northern Illinois Big XII meet hosted by DeKalb at Mardi Gras Lanes, Kaneland took 10th in the 10-team gathering, with a final total of 5,305 pins knocked down. Nearby Sycamore won the tournament.

“We did not have a bad day, but the other teams just seemed to be bowling exceptionally well,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.

Wojciechowski’s 218 and 193 games and 1,012 series were team-highs on the day. Ellissa Eckert added a 188 game of her own.

Up next for the Lady Knights is a meet with visiting Lisle on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Lady Knights drop pair of matches

in Bowling by

KANELAND—The KHS bowling team dropped a pair of matches this week, both by narrow margins.

Kaneland hosted fellow Northern Illinois Big XII outfit Ottawa in DeKalb, and after Tuesday’s loss at Rochelle on Tuesday, fell to 1-7 on the dual campaign tour.

Against Ottawa, Kaneland suffered through a slim 2,803-2,757 setback on the lanes.

Ottawa’s best individual series was a 603 total. Kaneland was lifted by Angela Charhut at 508. Amanda Strayve added a 487.

Teammate Morgan Wojciechowski added a 484 series of her own.

Charhut had the team-high game effort of 224, while Wojciechowski supplied a 172 for second-best.

In JV action, Ottawa bested KHS by a 2,437-2,102 score. Dominique Lee had a team-best 393 series.

Kaneland came out with a game-one victory at Rochelle on Tuesday, 938-894, before dropping the next two games and the match overall, 2,715-2,688.

Ellissa Eckert notched the Kaneland high game with a 168 in game two. Wojciechowski put up the team’s high series with a 482.

Kaneland’s JV squad posted a victory at Rochelle, 2,059-1,859. The team swept all three games, led by Karizza Sotelo’s high game of 172 and Dominique Lee’s high series of 419.

On Thursday,. Jan. 17, the Lady Knights face host Illinois Math and Science Academy, with a 4:15 p.m. start.

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