Looking for redemption
Regional champ Belzeski hopes to lead LC back to state finals
It’s been two years since Kelly Belzeski’s previous high school bowling postseason singles title — she won the sectional as a sophomore before winning the Lowell Regional title on Sunday — but it seems like so much longer to the Lake Central senior.
Since that moment there have been two disappointing ends to her team’s postseason hopes. Last year the end came at the last possible moment — in the last frame of the last game of the state championship match against Boone Grove. She was the anchor and the Indians fell to the Wolves by less than a mark in pin count.
So Belzeski might be willing trade her Lowell Regional title for another chance to be in the same position at this year’s state finals in Indianapolis.
First things first, though, as LC needs to bowl well Saturday at the Fort Wayne Semistate.
“It’s hard to compare winning as a team and as an individual because I desire both,” said Belzeski, who averaged 204 this season. “I’m so happy to have a team that has the drive to win like I do. Winning as a team is great because I have others to share the moment with. It’s important for us to advance because we came so close to the state title last year.”
But winning a singles title isn’t quite secondary to Belzeski. She relishes the title of champion.
“As an individual, winning means a lot to me because I’ve only made it to state once and I’d like to keep the state title in Northwest Indiana,” she said, referring to last year’s singles champ and friend Carly Larson, who is now bowling at Valparaiso University after graduating from Merrillville. “I have worked really hard this season and I’m proud of the results that I have had so far.”
Belzeski has improved several aspects of her game, according to LC coach Stephanie Cooley, from physical to mental, including being able to be a clutch anchor bowler.
“She has improved her release and accuracy the most this season,” Cooley said. “After being out part of last season with an arm injury, she’s come back strong this year. What impresses me most is her ability to fill the anchor position. She loves having that pressure on her and having the game come down to her performance in the 10th frame.”
And that goes back to that last frame of the state finals. Belzeski wants the chance to prove herself again.
“I have progressed mentally with my game by not getting frustrated after bad shots or games because there is always another one,” she said.
Cooley added: “We’ve put that last shot of last season in the past. You can’t dwell on that stuff — you have to let it go. Hopefully, we’ll have another chance at it in a couple of weeks.”