About a month ago, Sam Fink moved into the top spot of the Vernon Hills boys bowling lineup.
Just like that, Fink has taken on the role of team leader, as evidenced by the results of the opening day of the boys bowling state tournament at St. Clair Lanes in O'Fallon.
Fink posted games of 234, 269 and 245 out of the gate for a sizzling 748 series. Then he had a 626 series over the last 3 with a 242 game for a 1,374 finish.
"(Fink) has done a great job with it," Vernon Hills coach Ron Long said. "Everyone feeds off of him. He just sets the table for everybody."
Vernon Hills remains in the running for a state bowling championship. The Cougars are in fourth place with a 6-game total of 6,268 pins after Day 1. They trail tournament leader O'Fallon (6,341), Andrew (6,275) and Rockton Hononegah (6,271); Lake Zurich rolled a 6,088 and is ninth.
"Last year, we were leading the tournament after the first day," Long said. "This year, we're in a little different position. We're still in the running, and it's still a true goal to win the state on the second day."
The Cougars are in pursuit of the school's first championship in a team sport.
Other scorers for Vernon Hills were Alex Winter (1,251), Eric Swanson (1,214), David Goldberg (1,208), Jeremy Steininger (807, 4 games) and Parish Ashford (414, 2 games).
Mike Schmitt, who was the individual runner-up last year, shot a 1,358 and led Lake Zurich, is in fifth place.
Corey McReady of Romeoville is the tournament leader with 1,389.
The other LZ bowlers were of Quinn Nelson (1,245), Tony Giannecchini (1,131), Max Galarce (964, 5 games), Brent Poynter (630, 3 games), Ben Madura (564, 3 games) and Chris Orabutt (196).
Lake Zurich had a consistent day, with 3,060 in the morning session and 3,068 in the afternoon.
"We're in a higher spot than last year," said Lake Zurich coach Peter Kupfer, whose team jumped from 10th to third on the second day. "It's a very tight field this year. Our expectations are high going into Saturday. I expect us to bowl better on the second day."
Deerfield's Zach Cole (1,248) and Aaron Horwitz (1,231) both made the cut to bowl Saturday for another 6 games starting at 9:45 a.m. Libertyville's Jake Thompson started with a 266 game and 658 series for the first three but missed the 1,192 cut with a 6-game total of 1,167.