CHICAGO | Talking to their coaches on Saturday, you would have thought T.F. North and T.F. South had advanced to next week’s IHSA State Bowling Finals.
“I’m extremely pleased,” North coach Matt Pettiti said. “If someone would’ve told me at the beginning of the season we’d bowl like this at the sectional, I wouldn’t have believed them.”
Both teams saw all their bowlers break a thousand pins for the day at Blue Bird Lanes and both recorded scores that would have seen them crowned champions at the regional and conference meets earlier this month.
However, when you’re assigned to a sectional that features south suburban powers Lockport, Lemont and Andrew, you almost have to be better than your best.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” South coach Bob Quayle said. “We started strong and bowled well all day; we just didn’t have enough fire power for this sectional.”
After a strong morning session, both teams were within 50 pins of the fourth and final qualifying spot for the state finals, but despite continuing to bowl well in the afternoon, they couldn’t make up ground on the leaders.
The highlight of the day was T.F. South senior Amber Montejano, who bowled a sectional high game of 280 on her way to a 1,234 series to qualify for the individual state finals next week.
“It’s definitely a privilege to go to state,” Montejano said. “I’ve only been bowling three years and still learning as I go, so I was considered an underdog coming in today.”
Montejano got off to a quick start with her 280 coming in the second game, but fell out of a qualifying spot heading into the sixth and final game.
Trailing Shepard’s Miranda Lindgren by five pins heading into the final game, Montejano needed something special if she was going to bowl for another week.
She didn’t disappoint, turning in a 225 in her final game to move back into fifth place and stamp her ticket to the state finals.
“Amber bowled flawless, she only missed two spares all day,” Quayle said. “I’m proud of all of them, the team never quit, we were a little short today but they went out in the last game to support Amber and bowled well.”
Next up for Montejano will be a trip to Rockford’s Cherry Bowl for the state finals where she hopes to improve on last year’s early exit.
“I want to make it to Saturday this year,” Montejano said. “I really want to place this year so I’ll go down and give it my best like I always do.”
The day didn’t end as well for a few other local bowlers as the Crete-Monee duo of Mikayla Douthitt and Alicia Heintz both struggled to find their mark.
For Washington junior Maritza Darling-Ramos, there was still a positive to take away from the sectional experience.
“The lanes were very oily today and I couldn’t keep up,” Darling-Ramos said. “But just being here gets me excited for next year.”