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Lemont Girls’ Bowling Team Advances to IHSA State Finals

unior Kyra Udziela was the sectional’s top individual performer, marking her third medalist finish in as many weeks.

For the first time since 2008, Lemont High School’s girls’ bowling team is headed to state finals competition. Head coach Mark Hollatz’s Indians posted their season-best, six-game pinfall to finish as the runner-up at the IHSA Morgan Park Sectional at Bluebird Lanes in Chicago on February 15. That effort earned them a berth to the 2014 IHSA Girls’ Bowling State Finals, which will be contested at Cherry Bowl in Rockford, Ill., on February 21-22. Junior Kyra Udziela was the sectional’s top individual performer, marking her third medalist finish in as many weeks.

Lemont picked a terrific time to put together its best six games of the season, finishing second of 12 teams in sectional competition. Udziela’s six-game score of 1,332 (222.0 average) was best among all individual bowlers. However, in order to advance in the team competition, the Indians needed solid contributions from their entire line-up. Freshman Kyla Owens (1,136; 189.3 average) and junior Alex Wyatt (1,130; 188.3 average) each significantly improved upon their performances from the previous week’s regional competition, while juniors Brooke Gabor (1,016; 169.3 average) and Monique Mitrani (993; 165.5 average) also contributed consistently throughout the day.

Sectional champion Lockport (5,843), Andrew (5,462) and Lincoln-Way North (5,455) also advanced from the sectional. The top four teams from each of six IHSA Sectionals advanced to the state finals, as do the top five individuals from each sectional who are not a part of a qualifying team.

Udziela enters state finals competition on a roll. On Feb. 1, she led Lemont to its second South Suburban Conference-Blue Division title in as many seasons with a total pinfall of 1,246 (207.7 average). On Feb. 8, she helped the Indians finish third and advance from the IHSA Sandburg Regional with a winning six-game total of 1,354 (225.7 average).

Though Lemont will compete as a team in the state finals for the first time in six years, Udziela is no stranger to the IHSA State Finals. As a sophomore in 2013, she advanced to the state finals as an individual and ranked among the top ten in the individual standings before ultimately settling for a 28th-place finish among 150 bowlers.

The Indians will make their 13th appearance in girls’ bowling team state finals competition. The program’s best team placement was a third-place finish in 2004.  Its best individual effort at the state finals was a fifth-place finish by Tammy Jordan ‘94 in 1994.

The Indians will begin state finals competition with two three-game series on February 21; round one begins at 9:45 a.m., and round two follows at 1 p.m. The top 12 scoring teams after the first two rounds, as well as the top 30 scoring individuals from non-advancing teams, will advance to the second day of competition on February 22. Round three begins at 9:30 a.m., while the final round starts at 1 p.m. The awards session is slated for 4 p.m. on February 22.

Cherry Bowl is located at 7171 Cherryvale North Boulevard in Rockford. Admission is $10 each day.

Girls’ bowling is the seventh Lemont High School sport to advance to IHSA State Finals competition this year. The cheerleading squad won the IHSA Medium Division State Championship; the poms/dance team competed in the IHSA Class 2A Competitive Dance State Finals; sophomore Taylor Campos participated in the IHSA Class 2A Girls’ Cross Country State Finals; senior Bridget Lynn competed at the IHSA Class AA Girls’ Golf State Finals; junior Annette Lesnicki advanced to the IHSA Girls’ Swimming State Finals; and senior Lisa Gawron took part in the IHSA Girls’ Tennis State Finals.

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