It was just a year ago that Chicago Christian’s girls’ bowling team boasted a roster of nine seniors, five of whom were proven competitors.
So it shouldn’t be unexpected that the Lady Knights are experiencing some growing pains in the 2013-14 campaign. In fact, coach Andy Andrew has just one senior on this year’s squad — the only one, in fact, among 22 bowlers on Christian’s boys’ and girls’ teams.
Yet the latter is currently boasting a two-match winning streak. The Lady Knights defeated Rich East on Dec. 5 and Shepard 1,259-1,244 last Monday at Centennial Lanes to square their season record at 2-2.
Against the Lady Astros, sophomore Kelsey Pujdak rolled a 177 game and 309 series to help Christian prosper. She joins her junior sister, Kailey, and senior Bethany Romaine as the strongest candidates to become breakout performers.
“Kelsey has really been the biggest surprise for us so far,” Andrew said. “I taught her to bowl last year, and she’s really doing well for us this season. Sometimes in athletics, the switch goes on one day and they kind of get it — that’s been the case with Kelsey.”
Andrew said that Kailey Pujdak possesses even more potential than her younger sister, and he’s hopeful it will begin to result in greater competitive achievements in the coming weeks.
“Kailey has been a little sick lately,” Andrew said. “I do expect her, though, to be bowling well in the next month for us.”
Andrew admitted that it’s difficult to go from a team filled with experienced bowlers to a one that features three juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen, and unproven bowlers found throughout the group.
“Because we’re so young, I don’t have the luxury of a go-to bowler like I had in previous seasons,” Andrew said. “[But] there is potential with this group and definitely hope for the future. They’re learning along the way, which is always good.
“They haven’t had a lot of practices and adequate time to work at their games, so we’re looking forward to some quality time to develop their games. I tell them if they’re not having fun, they probably shouldn’t be here — they’re all still here.”
Stagg lost twice last week, as it fell short against Richards (1,659-1,373) and Lockport (1,605-1,366) on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
Kylee Murphy was the Lady Chargers’ top bowler in both outings. She rolled a 341 series against the Lady Bulldogs at Palos Lanes, then produced a 254 game versus the Lady Porters in a SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue match at Strike ‘N’ Spare II.
Andrew nipped Sandburg 1,692-1,683 last Thursday in an SWSC crossover match at Orland Bowl. Jessica Colson bowled the Lady Eagles’ highest game with her 203 score.
Miranda Lindgren’s 319 series paced Shepard in its loss to Chicago Christian. She followed up with games of 167 and 207 last Thursday against TF South, but Lindgren’s 374 series wasn’t enough to save the Lady Astros from a 1,704-1,396 setback in South Suburban Conference play.
Shepard went 3-0 last week as it knocked off Chicago Christian (1,735-1,631 on Monday), Oak Lawn (1,865-1,823 on Tuesday) and Argo (1,909-1,474 on Thursday). The latter two encounters were SSC Red matches.
Eric Walters led the Astros against the Knights by registering a 448 series and 258 high game at Centennial Lanes. He then rolled a 411 series at the same site on Thursday, which combined with Cody Larson’s 224 high game to vanquish the Argonauts. Stepping forward for Shepard against the Spartans was Matt Shaw, who bowled a 255 high game.
Sandburg captured a pair of mid-week matches at Orland Bowl and then finished 11th at Saturday’s fifth annual Lincoln-Way East Invitational at the same location.
The Eagles finished seven pins ahead of defending state champion Lockport at the latter event. Brandon Torres was 12th individually for Sandburg after amassing a score of 1,330 for the day.
The Eagles defeated Lincoln-Way East 1,894-1,529 in an SWSC Blue clash last Tuesday behind Torres’ 424 series and 219 high game. Bolingbrook fell to Sandburg next, 1,957-1,822 on Thursday, as Josh Harder (426 series, 264 high game) served as the Eagles’ No. 1 competitor.
Stagg dropped a pair of SWSC crossover matches last week, 2,204-1,663 to Andrew on Monday at Orland Bowl and 1,857-1,764 to Lincoln-Way Central on Tuesday at Palos Lanes.
The Chargers’ Cody Johnson posted a 215 game and 372 series against the Thunderbolts.
Stagg prevailed over Lincoln-Way West 123-48 last Tuesday in an SWSC crossover meet.
Luke Workman won the 100-yard freestyle in 54.57 seconds and the 200-free in 2:00.63 to lead the host Chargers. Workman also helped Stagg triumph in the 400-free relay, where he teamed with Nick Amendola, Jacob Russo and Harlan Long to complete the race in 3:34.76.
After suffering its first SWSC dual-meet loss since January of 2009 by falling 30-21 to Lincoln-Way Central last Thursday, Sandburg bounced back to earn the team championship at Saturday’s Wheeling Invitational.
The Eagles’ nine finalists included seven champs, led by four-time Wheeling winner John Pellegrino. He defeated Grayslake Central’s Jonathan Makey (19-2, fifth in Class 2A at 138 pounds) 12-2 in the 152 final.
Sandburg’s other titlists were sophomores Christian Robertson (9-1 at 126 pounds) and Louie Hayes (11-0 at 106), juniors Tom Slattery (10-2 at 160) and Matt Frostman (9-1 at 220), and seniors Hunter Pindel (11-0 at 182) and Matt Drozd (7-1 at 195).
Lockport beat Stagg 57-15 in an SWSC Blue dual meet on Friday.