Lake Park kept what seems like a family tradition rolling right along.
The Lancers made another strong finish in the Cougar Classic rolled at Brunswick Zone Vernon Hills, finishing runner-up to to three-time tournament champion Andrew. Host Vernon Hills finished fourth.
Contact information ( * required )
Andrew captured its fourth title in nine years with a 6-game total of 6,304 pins. Lake Park was second at 6,010, followed by Rockford Guilford (5,965) and Vernon Hills (5,663) in the 23-team field.
The Lancers are no strangers to state competition, having been to the state tournament 10 of the last 11 years with another good opportunity ahead of them this season. They also have a state title and two second-place finishes on their resume.
Lake Park finished second for the second time in the nine-year history of the Cougar Invitational, which they won in 2010.
But the Lancers' all-in-it-together approach works every year.
"I explain to the kids that we have unity and family," Lake Park coach Greg Edwards said. "As long as you stay within yourselves, play the game, compete against yourself.
"Sometimes, they might see an Andrew or Vernon Hills -- the kids get a little bit shaken. We have no reason to fear them. Because there's no defense in bowling. Just go out compete against yourself and do the best you can. We know that there are far more talented teams (than the ones in this tournament). You can't count out a Morgan Park, a Plainfield South, Bolingbrook or Lyons. There's a lot of talent out there this year."
The Lancers were led by Roarke Dunn, who finished tied for fifth place with Andrew's Joe Rymsza by tossing a 6-game total of 1,265. Dunn had high games 253 and 233.
Andrew's Nick Guziak earned top honors with a 1,319.
"I came here to bowl, and my team has had my back the entire season," Dunn said. "I just had a great day and that's all I can ask for.
"Our team is always there for each other, whether it's a good or bad shot out there. We're just there to help each other out."
The other Lancers' included Corben Sadowski 1,234, Zach Niemann 1,209, Joe Kauther 1,165 and Alec Tau 1,137.
Chris Winter of Vernon Hills finished in the eighth spot tossing a 1,239. He threw high games of 258 and 227 under some adverse conditions.
"It was rough with the lane conditions in the beginning," said Winter, a sophomore. "There was a lot of oil and I had to move more right than I have ever been before. Once it broke down, it was easier. Toward the end it broke down too much and made it a lot tougher."
The Cougars found themselves in 10th place after the first three games but came back with games of 1,012, 899 and 1,036 for a 2,947 over the last three games. That moved them up to the fourth spot.
"I think the boys were able to get in the right spot in the last three games," Vernon Hills coach Ron Long said. "They were able to get a lot more confidence in their games. To get there in the top five with the way we started? You want to finish strong -- that's what counts in these tournaments."
Other Cougars performers included Eric Doerhoefer 1,025 (5 games), Noah Melcer 907 (5 games), Justin Becker 881 (5 games), Jeremy Gonzalez (5 games), Tom Kalsch 735 (4 games).
Stevenson finished 10th (5,471) and Lake Zurich was 11th (5,468).
The top Patriots bowler was Ethan Rosuck with 1,205. The Bears' best was Ben Madura with 1,184.