2nd-year Oswego pro­gram ready to con­tend for state ti­tle

Chicago Sun-Times - - Sports - BY MATT LE CREN

Ex­pan­sion teams in pro sports are no­to­ri­ously bad, and the same usu­ally holds true at the high school level.

Oswego’s boys bowl­ing team is a glar­ing ex­cep­tion. As a first-year pro­gram last win­ter, the Pan­thers stunned every­one but them­selves in winning a sec­tional ti­tle and fin­ish­ing sev­enth at the state fi­nals.

It wasn’t a fluke. Oswego won the tough­est sec­tional in the state last Satur­day by 252 points and will be a strong con­tender to win the team cham­pi­onship this week­end at St. Clair Bowl in O’Fal­lon. The Pan­thers’ sec­tional pin­fall of 6,522 was the third-best score in the state be­hind Rock­ford Guil­ford (6,585) and de­fend­ing cham­pion Lake Park (6,560).

‘‘It’s just an amaz­ing group of kids,’’ Oswego coach Linda Keely said. ‘‘Th­ese kids work re­ally hard, and the thing is, they’re not just bowlers, they’re ath­letes.’’

Most of the Pan­thers play mul­ti­ple sports. Sopho­more Mikey Pre­ston and ju­nior Adam John­son play foot­ball, and se­niors Corey Mar­shall and Chris Car­riedo play ten­nis.

‘‘We all train and work out to­gether,’’ Pre­ston said. ‘‘We’re fit, and that helps a lot in this game. Just be­ing able to go six games all day and not be tired is huge.’’

‘‘[In] foot­ball you need a lot of stamina,’’ John­son said. ‘‘ Bowl­ing all day long, you’ve got to keep your legs strong, and you’ve got to keep your hand from wear­ing down.’’

Un­like last year, there’s no clear No. 1 bowler. Pre­ston was 26th at state last win­ter with 2,559 pins and has the tal­ent to con­tend for the in­di­vid­ual ti­tle.

But at the sec­tional, it was Mar­shall who led the way with a 1,378 se­ries. John­son rolled 1,347 and Pre­ston 1,337. Those scores rank sev­enth, 13th and 19th among sec­tional per­for­mances.

‘‘Our game plan is just go­ing to be the same it’s been all year round: Just team first and stay to­gether, and we’ll pull through,’’ Mar­shall said. ‘‘It’s a real good feel­ing to be go­ing back.’’

If any­thing, the team is deeper this time around. Car­riedo (1,277 at sec­tion­als) and ju­nior Ja­cob Roberts (1,183) give Oswego a for­mi­da­ble quin­tet that rolled 1,195 (239 per per­son) in the third game of the sec­tional to vault the Pan­thers from fourth place to first.

HEATHER EID­SON~SUN-TIMES ME­DIA

Oswego coach Linda Keely says her play­ers are great ath­letes as well as out­stand­ing bowlers.

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