ORLAND PARK | Both T.F. North and T.F. South struggled to find consistency on the lanes Saturday at the South Suburban Blue Conference Championship though they did have some individual performances to be proud of.
The Meteors' Capri Howard overcame a nightmarish start with a 131 in the first game to finish 8th overall and be named to the all-conference team.
“I feel I can do better,” Howard said. “I pulled the ball and missed my mark now and then but to be on varsity as a freshman and make all-conference feels great.”
She almost didn’t get the chance as T.F. North coach Matt Pettiti considered shuffling his lineup after the slow start and replacing the freshman.
“She didn’t bowl well in the first game and I thought about pulling her,” Pettiti said. “I kept her in because I know what she’s capable of and I’m glad I did.
"It was a tough decision but I gave her one more shot and she made an incredible jump from 27th to top 10.”
That was just the kind of day it was for the Meteors who saw one bad game in each session keep them from mounting a legitimate challenge for the league title.
“We missed too many easy spares today,” Pettiti said. “As the lane conditions changed, some girls had trouble adjusting, but we still had four in the top 20 so I’ll take those individual victories.”
It was a similar story for the Rebels who were actually the meet leaders after the second game when a disastrous 710 in the third game saw them fall to fourth place where they would eventually finish the day.
“We really shot ourselves in the foot in the third game,” T.F. South coach Bob Quayle said. “I’m proud of them, they could have rolled over after that but didn’t and we battled back to second but it just wasn’t in the cards for us today.”
Despite the disappointing team performance the Rebels still managed to come away with a pair of all-conference bowlers in Amber Montejano (ninth place) and Kayla Garcia (10th place).
“I’ve worked really hard all season to be mentally prepared,” Montejano said. “I’ve worked on being ready for all conditions to get to this point.”
For Garcia, who was a state qualifier last year as a junior, the conference meet was the final step in preparations for a return trip to the finals.
“I was striving to place in conference,” Garcia said. “This really helps get you ready for what you need to do in the regionals and sectionals if you want to move on.”
Next up for the Meteors and Rebels is the Brooks Regional at Lawn Lanes in Chicago where both coaches feel they have a chance to advance to the sectional.
“This meet helps immensely,” Quayle said. “Now they know what they are capable of and they know we can get out of there, that’s what we have been talking about.”