Three Dog day in Lowell
Trio of Crown Point bowlers roll well in regional to keep advancing
In the past two weeks, Crown Point’s Sarah Bond climbed the stepladder to the reach the championship matches of both the Quad County Sectional and the Lowell Regional on Sunday.
And while the senior settled for runner-up both times, she was right in the thick of both battles, which gives her much to look forward to as she prepares to compete in singles — along with fellow Crown Point boys Kevin Wilson and Cory Locher — at this Saturday’s Fort Wayne Semistate.
Bond battled Boone Grove’s Meaghan Spalla in the Quad County Sectional final, losing 171-168. At regional, Bond faced one of the area’s best bowlers, Lake Central’s Kelly Belzeski, and competed before coming up short 224-204.
“I’m feeling really good,” Bond said. “Last week (at sectional), I didn’t even know that I made the top nine and qualified for regional. My jaw dropped when I heard my name announced. At regional, I knew I bowled well. Against Kelly, I just tried not to psyche myself out, but second place is fine.
“Making it to state would be amazing. I made it to regionals last year, but I didn’t advance to semistate. Now I’m a senior; this is my one chance.”
Bond, a four-year varsity bowler, has been bowling since the age of six and moved up in youth leagues. As a freshman, she saw the poster for the high school team and knew it was the next step.
“I knew I had to call Coach (Dwayne Locher),” she said. “He’s helped me a lot — especially today. He told me to breathe before every ball. That helped me so much.”
Coach Locher said that Bond has the ability to overcome anything — including her own fear.
“She just can’t worry,” he said. “You can’t overthink it; you just have to go out, throw the ball and let the ball do the work. I think she’ll be fine.”
Wilson, a senior, said he is excited about the challenge of being able to compete at semistate for the first time with the ultimate dream of advancing to the state finals on Feb. 15 in Indianapolis.
“This is my last year of high school bowling, so it feels good to move on,” Wilson said. “I get another opportunity to show what I have. My confidence has increased over four years — especially in my spare game and just being calmer.
“And I’ve had some awesome teammates who have helped me grow. Hopefully everything I’ve learned will take me a little further.”
Locher, just a sophomore and also a first-time semistate qualifier, follows in a line of Locher brothers (Eric and Matt) who made names for themselves at Crown Point. He turned a few heads, to be sure, when he qualified third for match play at the Lowell Regional, eventually dropping a 237-184 match to Andrean’s Kevin McCune.
“I was really nervous — especially before the match,” Locher said. “My heart was beating nonstop. But I can’t be upset with the loss, as much as Kevin practices. I would have preferred he didn’t beat me, but I was kind of expecting it.”
And yet, just as his brothers before him, the youngest Locher is looking forward to being able to carve out his own niche.
“Reaching the top 10 this year at regional was great,” Locher said. “I’d love to be able to advance to state.”
Coach Locher knows the potential that Wilson and his son possess.
“Cory was really listening (at regional) as far as throwing the ball,” he said. “He throws a beautiful ball and hopefully he can do the same thing at semistate. Kevin, too, has been rolling the ball well. He was winging the ball throughout the season; now, he’s rolling it.”