Lucas Pinkus has turned out to be a great senior leader for Stevenson's boys bowling team this season -- the result, he says, of all that he's learned from those who have gone before him.
It's a rich history from which to draw, including a team state championship two seasons ago, along with competing as an individual in last year's state series.
On Saturday, Pinkus led by example. He rolled all six of his games over 200 and finished tied for third place with Hononegah's Parker Hearne at 1,357 pins in the 24-team Cougar Classic held at Brunswick Zone Hawthorn Lanes in Vernon Hills.
The top two individual bowlers were Nick Sommer of Hononegah (1,402) and Cody Lawrence of Harlem (1,393).
"The past has helped me out a ton," said Pinkus, who averages around 220 this year. "Just all the confidence and support I got from Zach Singer, Josh Singer and coach (Cody) Mathias have all helped me out. Even people that don't bowl have given me tons of confidence, when we won state and when I qualified for state last year. It will give me confidence and a build up for regionals and sectionals this year.
"When I saw Zach (Singer), I told myself that I want to be like him -- and be better than him. I believe that these guys want to accomplish something better for the team."
Pinkus started out with games of 232, 236 and 236 for a morning set of 704 and followed up with 242, 211 and a 200.
"I did want to be in the top five or somewhere in there," Pinkus said. "I thought I had a chance to win it but after the fifth game, I tailed a bit. I just had to take it how it is and keep it going.
"We're bowling against the best teams out there. Hononegah and Harlem have the best bowlers here -- just bowling against them you have to really sharp because they have a lot of good players."
Stevenson finished ninth in the team standings with 5,619 pins. The other Pats bowlers were Nicolas Sternes (1,310), Benjamin Reis (1,006), Joey Gluck (996), Ryan Lerman (676, 4 games) and Marcus Engstrom (272, 2 games).
Jordan Fischer of Lake Park was consistent all day, staying in the 200-plus range for all six. He threw games of 217, 234 and 212 for a 663 for the first three and follwed with 248, 239 and 199 to put him in fifth place with 1,349 pins.
"I thought I bowled well; so far this year I haven't done that great," said Fischer, who averages 210. "This was a big improvement from what I've done. I just found my line early and was able to keep it consistent all day. Seeing the good teams and bowlers helps you see what they're doing and how they handle the lanes. They know a lot, and they are so good. You get to see what's right -- and what's wrong."
Lake Park finished seventh with 5,822 pins. The other Lancers scorers were Nathan Williams (1,230), Jason Gutkowski (1,153), Shaan Patal (911, 5 games), Matthew Tumbarello (689, 4 games), David Nygren (382, 2 games) and Chris Sorenson 148.
"I'm trying to find chemistry right now," Lake Park coach Greg Edwards said. "We lost seven seniors from last year. We're just finding where and when to place people in the lineup to determine who can lead off and who can be the anchor. We just want to be prepared for regionals and sectionals."
Hononegah won top team honors with 6,520 pins. Harlem was a close second, just 8 pins back at 6,512, and Freeport placed third (6,105).
Lake Zurich made a strong push in its last game with a 1,053 that moved them up to the fifth spot (5,972).
"It was a good way to end the day," Lake Zurich coach Michael Sutton said. "We're obviously trying to focus more on the improvement in the process and the challenge of overcoming the lanes more than beating the other teams. But when you look around, you see that these are all the schools down in O'Fallon every year.
"If you ask our bowlers if you can do better than today, every single one would say 'Yes.' There's totally room for improvement, and you love that teachable moment to bring home a medal and a trophy."
The Bears were led by Billy Schroeder, who finished 12th overall (1,275) after games of 258 and 257 in the afternoon. The other Lake Zurich bowlers were Jason Morrison in 14th place (1,248), Brett Schnur (1,224), Trevor Madura (1,221), Eric Reusch (857, 5 games) and Colin Davern 147.
The other area teams represented in the field included Grayslake Central in sixth place (5,835), Vernon Hills in eighth (5,643) and Libertyville in tenth (5,613).