Getting to the top of the leaderboard was Eric Swanson's goal Saturday afternoon at Brunswick Zone Vernon Hills.
He came close, as the Vernon Hills competitor placed second behind the tournament champion Lucas Korntved of Machesney Park Harlem by 41 pins, 1,407-1,366 over 6 games bowled in the ninth annual Cougar Classic.
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"I've never finished in second place," said Swanson, a senior. "It's all mental and I've got to get pumped up. That's what makes me do good out there.
"I was looking at the boards and I was pretty amazed at the scores. It tough to chase when a guy is throwing 250 or above. It's hard to catch him. It's not bad if you're 10 or 20 pins behind, but I'd rather be the one that's ahead."
Swanson started out strong, with games of 239, 223 and 240 for a 697 over the first three games. He followed up with 245, 186 and a 238 for a 669.
Korntved, though, never let up from the start after games of 235, 247 and 269 for a 751 first set. He then tossed games of 252, 182 and 222 for a 656.
Lake Park's Corbin Sadowski finished in sixth place (1,275) with games of 179, 266, 206, 199, 215 and 210.
Lake Zurich's Matt Schmidt (1,238) and Max Galarce (1,222) ended the day 10th and 11th, respectively.
"I had a good start, just like sectionals last year," said Galarce, who rolled a 702 series Saturday with first-three games of 239, 223 and 240. "This was a fun beginning-of-the-year tournament. Everything just came together, and I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches."
Andrew won the team title a second straight time and for the fourth time in nine years. Andrew came from behind down by 81 pins with 2 games remaining and powered past Machesney Park Harlem 6,099-6,070 in the 24-team field. Lake Park finished in fifth place with a 6-game total of 5,683 pins.
"I do like this tournament, because of the camaraderie and the kids," said Lake Park coach Greg Edwards. "Corben Sadowski started out OK, then struggled a bit and then I got him into a ball change. I thought he did well."
The Lancers posted games of 910, 1006, 969, 920, 932 and 946.
Lake Zurich started the day with games of 1,001 and 1,064, but then rolled 903, 862, 907 and 849 to finish seventh.
"We had a good start for our first tournament of the year," said Lake Zurich coach Peter Kupfer, whose saw his team as high as second place for part of the day. "We kept fighting through, making adjustments, and never quit mentally. We were hoping to get higher on the scoreboard."
Vernon Hills placed ninth (5,461) and Libertyville finished in 11th (5,441).