Singer, Zenner pace Stevenson's state championship
Once Stevenson's boys bowling team got the ball rolling, the momentum never stopped.
The Patriots completed their season with a dominant display, excelling from the first frame to the 10th to capture the program's first state championship at St. Clair Lanes in downstate O'Fallon.
It's also the first state title in boys bowling from any of Lake County's programs, and the Patriots won it in record fashion.
Stevenson knocked down 13,361 pins over the 12 games, beating the previous high from Andrew (13,151) set in 2006.
Yet it was still a battle to the finish, as Stevenson finished just 40 pins better than runner-up Hononegah (13,321). O'Fallon took third place (13,240).
"We worked all year and it showed," Stevenson coach Cody Mathias said. "If you beat the best, it's a way to be the best."
The Patriots had quite a 1-2 punch from their juniors on top of the leaderboard. Zach Singer earned top honors as the state individual champion with 2,899, and teammate Richy Zenner (2,879) finished 20 pins back for the runner-up spot.
Stevenson started its final day 155 pins behind Lockport, but that didn't last long. The Patriots came out sizzling, rolling a state tournament record game of 1,263 to get them right back into the top spot. Zenner had rolled a 268, Zach Singer 267, Josh Singer 256, Ted Tapas 247 and Eddie Mendrala 225.
"The first game was very huge," Mathias said. "We were truly focused and they came out ready to go. That first game set the tone. We had all that energy and confidence off the bat. They were just locked in and couldn't miss."
The Patriots kept rolling with a 1,084 and 1,131 for another impressive 3,478 -- just 21 pins shy of the school record for three games set Friday.
In the afternoon set, Stevenson stayed on track with games of 1,116, 1,064 and 1,081 for a 3,261 series.
The Patriots weren't able to lock up the championship until the final frame of the day, as Hononegah produced a final game of 1,134.
"We really didn't know that we had it until the 10th frame of the last game," Zenner said. "It came down to the wire and we came out on top."
Zach Singer picked up the top medalist honor with a final game of 244, while Zenner wrapped up his second-place effort with a 216. Both bowlers have been close all year, complementing one another and helping elevate their team.
"It's always a shock to win it," said Zach Singer of the team and individual championships.
Zach Singer rolled a 739 in the morning and followed up with a 733. Zenner tossed a 737 for the first set (with a 279 high game) and had a 711 for the final three.
Tapas had been in the top 10 for most of the tournament but finished in 18th place with 2,704. He shot 687 for his first three and had a 631 for the other games.
Josh Singer threw 713 and 641 for his games. Mendrala had a 759 for four games and Gabe Gordon rolled a 388 (2 games).