Mike Schmitt enters the boys bowling season knowing where he will be bowling in college.
Lake Zurich's four-year varsity bowler was accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater last month.
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"To be done and accepted is nice," Schmitt said. "You don't have to worry about the stress of getting into the college. I've been basically committed since last year and it just became official. It's a relief not having to worry about it and knowing I'll be able to continue bowling in college."
Schmitt finished second in the state as a sophomore and third last year. He's been downstate with the Bears since his freshman year, with last season's squad finishing third.
On Wednesday, Schmitt posted a 614 series, which included a team-high game of 236 in his last game, helping Lake Zurich roll past rival Vernon Hills 2,988 to 2,915 in a Northern Illinois Conference opener at Brunswick Zone Deer Park.
"The boys were ready to go and didn't overlook the match," Lake Zurich coach Peter Kupfer said.
The Bears started lost the opening game 1,058 to 951 but then won the next two, 979-973 and 1,058-884.
"We had a slow start the first three frames and then we responded after that," Kupfer said. "We kept bowling better as we went on. It's encouraging. These guys know that they will have good shots and bad shots. They know to keep going, and eventually things will turn around with practice and will pay off at the end."
Max Galarce led Lake Zurich with a 642 series, rolling games of 212, 208 and 222. Bryant Poynter added a 582 series with a high game of 227. Mike Wormley (569), Ben Madura (406 for two games) and Bobby Dolatowski (175) also contributed for the Bears.
Vernon Hills' Noah Melcer unleashed a new bowling ball Monday and apparently liked it. He led the Cougars with career-best games of 242, 244 and 164 for 650 series.
"I just got the ball," said Melcer, who had a previous high game of 213. "I never expected to see this so quickly. I just got into a groove out there."
Eric Swanson tossed games of 202, 220 and 221 for a 643 series for the Cougars. Other Vernon Hills scorers were Eric Doerhoefer (621 series, 239 high game), Josh Hallendorf (381, two games), Justin Becker (335, two games) and Zack Furlett (285, two games).
Vernon Hills finished second in state each of the last two years. The Cougars' only returning senior is Swanson.
"I'm very happy how these boys performed out there," Vernon Hills coach Ron Long said. "I think we're almost there. We put up a 2,900 series with only six practices. We've got some other bowlers that can help us out. We should be in good shape once again."