Hollywood ending for Stevenson's Rudy
ROCKFORD -- Kaitlyn Rudy of Stevenson, who made her first trip to the girls bowling state finals, is now the highest-finishing competitor in the program's history.
And she achieved that lofty standing by virtue of a frenetic finish.
Going into the final game on Saturday, the Patriots junior was in the 12th spot, just thinking about trying to hang on for a medal.
But Rudy finished with an impressive 247 game that moved her up to third place (2,639 over the 12 games) in the girls bowling state tournament at Cherry Bowl.
"I knew that I needed it, and I wanted to finish out strong the last game," said Rudy, who had 5 strikes in a row and in 8 of the last 9 frames. "I was so nervous. I just told myself, 'If I want it, then I have to get it.'
"My goal was just to make it to the next day. My coach's goal was fourth place -- I passed up that goal, too. It really means a lot to me, and now I have something to beat for next year."
Rudy started the day with a 626 series which included games of 217, 204 and 205 for a 626 series. The she rolled a 201, 214 and the 247 for a 662.
Kyra Udziela of Lemont was the tournament champion with 2,748 over the two days with a 229 average.
Lake Park's Kaitlyn Keith also made her move late, in the second-to-last game, with a 254 that got her into the fourth spot before she finished in sixth place (2,616).
"I really didn't think that I had a chance to medal," said Keith, who started the day in the 13th spot. "I was just trying to focus and do my own thing. I was taking things one shot at a time. It was the biggest game of the weekend for me."
Keith had a 653 for the morning and followed up with a 658.
Metea Valley's Jordan Newham finished third last year; she started Saturday in sixth place and finished in seventh (2,615). The senior tossed a 662 series with games of 237, 216 an 239 for the first three. Then she bowled games of 191, 220 and 194 for a 611.
"I thought I threw the ball very well," Newham said. "Toward the end it came to carrying the pins. I though it was a good achievement for the second straight year. I wish I could've done better -- placing higher."
Sarah Littleton of Grayslake North got on a roll Saturday and climbed her way up the leaderboard from 53rd place to third -- before her last game dropped her to eighth (2,614).
"I just took it one shot at a time and took deep breaths," said Littleton, who will compete at St. Francis (Penn.) next year.. "I kept my routines going and didn't want to get ahead of myself. I was repeating my shots, and it helped me. It was a good way to end my senior year."
Littleton got on track in a big way Saturday morning, rolling a personal best 742 series with games of 248, 247 and 247. Over the last three games, she threw 227, 248 and 181 for a 656.
Other area bowlers to medal were Wst Aurora Jamie McCreedy, ninth with 2,603 after finishing 15th last year. Waubonsie Valley's Violet Kirk finished tied for 12th with Leah Samuelson of East Moline United and Madison Kasza of O'Fallon (2,597).
There were a record four 300 games rolled in the tournament.
Waubonsie Valley was the two-time reigning champion coming into the tournament. The Warriors graduated four seniors but came back this year much younger and were able to pull out third place with 12,225 pins. They finished behind champion Lockport (12,689) and runner-up Collinsville (12,541).
"It's a testament to how hard these girls work," Waubonsie Valley coach Marty Miller said. "You have to have players that are willing to learn, to sacrifice, to do the work.
"To see them move to be competitive to be a contender in third place, there's something to be proud about."
Over the last four years of the tournament, Waubonsie Valley has finished first twice and taken third twice.
On Saturday, the Warriors had slipped to fourth place with two games remaining but came up with a high-rolling 1,148 that solidified the third spot. Mirica Yancey tossed a 276 high game and Serenity Quinteros nearly matched it with a 267.
"We needed it so bad, and I did what I had to to get it," said Yancey. "We just tried our best to help the team."
Kirk led the Warriors, who got big efforts from Yancey (2,477), Quinteros (2,434), Veronica Dreyfus (2,420) and Angelica Hernandez (2,297).
The Warriors shot 3,002 for the morning set with games of 1,060, 990 and 952. In the afternoon, they had 980, 1,148 and a 924.
West Aurora tried to make a run into the top three but was outrolled by Waubonsie Valley before finishing fourth, 146 pins behind the Warriors.
"We came in with very high expectations," West Aurora coach Tawn Williams said. "It would've been nice to get third. It was disappointing, but it gives them something to look forward to for next year."
The Balckhawks rolled a 3,118 in the morning and followed up with a 2,984. Jamie McCreedy was the team's top bowler, her sister Corey had 2,447. Others contributors were Sammie Reid (2,409), Paytynn Kuhns (2,332), Sydney Lundell (2,120, 5 games) and Emma Wilson 168 (one game).