By Randy Whalen
Bowling makes Cameron Crowe happy and it shows.
It certainly did the final weekend of January, when the Sandburg senior took second individually at the IHSA Boys Bowling State Tournament, held Jan. 25 and 26 at St. Clair Bowl in O’Fallon.
It capped an outstanding high school career for Crowe, who bowled at the state tournament in three of his seasons, rebounded from missing the cut last season with a great postseason run. On his way to state he won the individual title at the Oak Forest Regional.
Crowe became only the second Sandburg bowler to medal (Top 12 finish) at state. Joey Kopera, who finished fifth in 2010-11 and won the state title the following season, was the other.
Sandburg coach Jeff Kwilose rates Crowe as the top bowler in the school’s history.
“Cameron’s career will go down as the best,” Kwilose said. “His total pinfall, career average, most 300s are tops amongst all in school history. His average the last two seasons was just under 240. Joeys highest average was 229. The only thing Joey had topped him at was finishing first to Cameron’s second.
“More importantly than just his bowling stats is that Cameron is one of the most down to earth, genuinely nice kids I have ever coached. His parents are great people and that has reflected in their son’s personality. He lights up a room and all the other bowlers want to be around him as if he is a celebrity.”
That family influence is why Crowe is bowling in the first place.
“When I was little my dad [Kermit] took me to the leagues and I just started to bowl,” Crowe said. “He forced me into the game but I love it. So I’m glad he did.”
That also led him to the two-handed style he uses to bowl.
“I’ve always bowled two-handed,” Crowe said. “When I was younger I didn’t have the strength to get it there, so I bowled two-handed and just kept doing it.”
He kept going through high school, helping the Eagles to a sixth-place finish as a freshman in 2015-16 and eight-place finish as a sophomore in 2016-17, when he placed 16th overall. After he and the team fell short last season, he helped Sandburg win the regional this season.
But at the Andrew Sectional, the Eagles had a last-game collapse and finished in seventh place, 18 pins behind Joliet West, which went on to take third in state.
Crowe, who placed third (1,478) as an individual at the sectional, blamed himself for the team missing state.
“I bowled a 186 in the final game and if I had a normal game, we would have been there,” he said.
At the state finals, Crowe was there. He averaged nearly what he had for the season as he finished with a 12-game total of 2,829 (235.8), with no game lower than 202 and a high of 265. But he couldn’t catch the individual champion, Edgar Burgos from St. Charles East. The freshman bowled a pair of 300 games and finished with 2,868, an average of 239.
“That kid just tore it up all weekend,” Crowe said of Burgos. “You just have to tip your hat to him. Having two 300s in a tournament, that is something special and is hard to beat. I gave him my best shot but he won it. Thankfully, I still placed.”
Although he didn’t have any 300s at state, Crowe has 29 in his lifetime, including practice. He bowled five in competitions during his years at Sandburg, including three this season.
He’s undecided on a college yet but plans to major in communications. While he’s been one of the most talented bowlers in the state the past few years, he’s not sure if his talent level would reach the PBA.
“I know how hard it is,” Crowe said of joining the Pro Bowlers Association. “I know I have the work ethic but I don’t know if I have the talent. We’ll see.”