Gates rolls with punches to lead Vernon Hills

By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/9/2019 9:55 AM

Trying to bowl with pneumonia can't be fun.

Jason Gates put aside his illness on Saturday, however, and rolled with the punches. He rolled six games and contributed high scores in leading Vernon Hills to a fourth-place finish in its 24-team Cougar Classic at Bowlero Hawthorn Lanes in Vernon Hills.


Gates closed out his final game with 8 strikes in a row for a 235, placing him seventh (1,291 pins). He had a high score of 265.

"This is like a mini state (tournament) with a lot of good teams like Harlem and Hononegah," Gates said. "It was all good competition. I thought the bowling here was strong with a fun and good atmosphere. I wanted to treat each bowl like it was an important shot. But having pneumonia, it was hard going through the entire day. I would sit, throw and sit again."

Gates wasn't cleared to bowl until last Monday and was reevaluated on Friday.

"I had the biggest smile on my face when the doctor said I could bowl," Gates said. "After all of this, I want to go home and have a nice nap."

Vernon Hills had its highest team score of the day in the last game with a 1,065 for a total of 6,024 pins. Hononegah was top team with 6,447, followed by Harlem (6,349) and St. Patrick (6, 280).

The Cougars' other games included 1,063 and 1,026.

"The last game is definitely a sign of what we can do as a team," Vernon Hills coach Ron Long said. "With all these good teams here, this team has the makings of the teams we've had in the past. I know these guys can do it."

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Vernon Hills also received strong performances from Brandon Cervantes (1,196) and Nir Schwind (1,195).

Warren's Ethan Kailin finished eighth with 1,282 pins (high game of 246).

"Being in the top 10 in a tournament like this is a big accomplishment," Kailin said. "The more strikes you get, the more competitive you get."

Hononegah's Cameron Tyler won the individual title with a six-game total of 1,378. Libertyville finished fifth with 5,927 pins, Stevenson was seventh (5,848), Lake Zurich 11th (5,533) and Warren 12th (5,469).

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