The Dundee-Crown girls' bowling team is off to a strong start.
The Chargers were 2-0 in dual matches (18-0 in dual-match points) through late last week. That's in addition to finishing first at the Charger Scramble earlier in the month.
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D-C's Karissa Gonio placed first in the scramble, while Amanda Smith was third and Angie Tripp was fifth.
Gonio, a junior, averages 180 and has a high game of 223 and a high series of 615 this year. Tripp, a freshman, averages 165 and has a high game/high series of 199/520. Smith, a junior, checks in at 167/214/517.
"The girls have really come together as a team," said D-C coach Dave Mensching. "When one bowler is having a subpar game, there has always been someone there to carry their teammate. We have had JV bowlers step up to varsity and bowl well as the varsity bowlers."
Gonio is bowling for the first time at the high school level.
"She is the emotional leader of the team," said Mensching.
Tessa O'Bert also has made great progress for the Chargers.
"Tessa is a first-year bowler who one month ago had no idea how to bowl and averaged less than 100 pins a game," said Mensching. "After just one month of instruction, she is now bowling as high as 160 per game and averaging 149 pins per game."
Mensching noted the team has its sights set on being a serious contender for the FVC championship and is looking forward to competing in the Jacobs and Grant invitationals after the first of the year.
St. Edward boys: St. Edward senior co-captain Dean Galati has undergone quite a transformation.
Galati, a state qualifier in the 2010-2011 season, has raised his average from a 136 his freshman year to a 206 this season.
"We can count on Dean," said St. Edward coach Kyle Bault.
St. Edward's team also includes senior co-captain Drew Thomas, along with classmates Calen Heydt and Joe Przybylski, juniors Josh Meyer, Peter Chiodo, sophomores Christian Arboleda and Nick Dalton and freshman Mitchell Modlisz.
Bault noted three of the team members did not start bowling until the first practice in October and now have averages of 130 or higher.
Galati rolled a 1,124 at the Sycamore Kickoff, which included a high game of 245 (194 average). Meyer finished with a 1,116 (186 average, 244 high game).
At the Lake Park invite, Galati had a 1,080 (180 average, 249 high game). Galati won the Harlem invite with a 1,440 (247 average, 279 high game). Meyer had a 1,225 (204 average for 6 games).
At the recent La Salle-Peru Cavalier Classic, Galati had a 1,268 (211 average) and Meyer had an 1,184. St. Edward finished with a 5,569 series (185 average per bowler).
"LaSalle-Peru was our best effort of the season," said Bault. "Each week we have improved at each invite."
St. Edward's invitational schedule continues to be busy. The Green Wave will compete at Rockford East, Dixon and Lake Zurich prior to the DeKalb sectional in mid-January.
"I am a basics and fundamentals preacher," said Bault, a longtime area youth bowling coach. "In the last week, the team has started to understand reading lanes, counting boards and arrows, reading how their ball moves and making the right adjustments at the right time. They are starting to get it."
Bault has seen a number of noticeable improvements since the start of the season.
"Josh Meyer has been slowing his ball speed down and his scores are increasing (averages 199)," he said. "Mitchell Modlisz has worked to change an awkward approach to a much smoother style and is now averaging 180. Drew Thomas has been stepping up at the invites with quality games over 200.
"We have been improving each week to compete by shooting more than 900 each game and pushing for 1,000. In order to compete to win at sectionals and the state finals, the team must shoot 1,000 every time out."
South Elgin boys: Through late last week, South Elgin was second in the Upstate Eight Conference with a 19-6 record.
Coach TA Wierschke has a roster of 12 bowlers, including six freshmen.
"We had 14 on the team last year and lost eight," he said. "We are pleasantly surprised to see the early success of our team."
Senior Devin Netzel leads the way for South Elgin. He's averaged more than 200 a game the past two years. An all-conference performer last year, Netzel is being recruited by Saginaw Valley State, a highly successful collegiate bowling team.
Sophomore Jake Brown is averaging 203.7 per game and set a program record with a 748 three-game series earlier this year against Huntley (278, 191, 278).
"Jake is the third bowler who has passed through the South Elgin program," said Wierschke, a longtime area youth bowling coach and advocate who has bowled 17 300 games in his career.
Senior Jake Anderson is averaging more than 223 pins per game in December. Another key to the team has been senior Gino Riscossa.
"Gino is our team leader," said Wierschke. "His levelheaded, mild-mannered approach is what helps keep our team focused. He is the catalyst that keeps everything together that I contribute most to our success. He's a solid starter on the varsity team."
Junior Alex Oden was the fifth-best JV bowler at the end of October. He has since moved up to the varsity and has been averaging almost 200 a game in conference play.
Freshmen twins Clint and Jackson Brennan also are improving. Jackson is a varsity starter, while Clint is one of the JV squad's top performers.
"Our team has a very strong bond," said Wierschke. "Many of them bowled together in youth leagues years before bowling on the high school team. We have a group that bowled at Streamwood Lanes in its youth program and a group that bowled at Elgin Lanes in a youth program. I feel we have the best bowlers from both houses. I give a lot of credit to the fantastic youth programs each bowling alley has put together."
South Elgin will compete in invitationals in Rockford, Chicago, Dixon, West Chicago and Vernon Hills over the next 6 weeks.
"I want to be as battle-tested as possible for the sectional in January," said Wierschke. "Last year we finished third in the sectional with the 18th-highest score in the state (only the top 2 teams at each sectional advance to state)."
Bartlett girls: The Bartlett girls' bowling team enjoyed some individual success at the recent Ray Maxwell Memorial invitational hosted by Streamwood.
Bartlett's Kellie Ayres earned a medal for recording the high score in the sixth game with a 244. Jessica Kirby received a medal for having the highest score in Game 4 with a 216.
The Hawks ended up in fourth place overall in the tournament.
Ayres finished with a 1,222 over 6 games at Streamwood.
Bartlett had a 2-2 mark through late last week against Upstate Eight Conference teams with wins coming against Elgin and Geneva and losses to St. Charles North and division foe Metea Valley. Bartlett also won the annual Jim Hamrin U-46 tournament.
"We are looking forward to competing with teams in our division and improving," said Bartlett coach Tracy King.
King also lauded the improved play of Allison Quagliano this season.
"Allison has stepped up and is throwing a much better ball this year," said King. "Her average has improved 40-50 pins and she is becoming much more consistent."
King is hopeful the team can make some noise come the postseason.
"I'm really hoping we can go to state as a team, if not get one or two girls to the state meet," she said.
South Elgin girls: South Elgin is led by senior team captain Colleen Edgren. Sophomores Jordane Waichunas and Rebecca LeFever also contribute for the Storm.
"We are in a rebuilding year," said South Elgin coach Bonnie Kott. "We have three absolutely new bowlers this year. We are currently trying to introduce the sport to new students and get them involved and hope to improve their skills as the season progresses. In the coming years, we hope to be more competitive."