O’FALLON – He finished what he started in a grand manner Saturday at St. Clair Bowl. Call it a stylish All-State showing for Alton High senior Lucas Pejakovich.
He shot a score of 1,308 for six games during the final round of the IHSA boys’ bowling tournament to secure seventh place. His overall total was 2,675 pins, or a 222.9 average.
Pejakovich, ninth in last year’s finals, becomes the first AHS guy to earn two state finals medals. Whitney and Ashley Cox of the Redbirds accomplished that feat on the girls’ side.
“He was steady the entire weekend,” Redbirds’ coach Jeff Woszczysnski said of Pejakovich. “Nothing rattled him.”
He sat in seventh place following Friday’s first day of competition and began the final day with a 691 series, including a 247. Pejakovich moved up to third place at that point. He also fashioned games of 226 and 218.
Then he dropped a bit after games of 198 and 192. However, Pejakovich closed with a 227, including five strikes, and another state medal.
“I did what I wanted to do,” Pejakovich said of gaining All-State status for the second successive season. The top 12 bowlers receive medals and statewide recognition.
Pejakovich added, “It’s always good to finish strong and I’m proud of it. It means a whole lot to me to get another medal and the whole team was behind me. They helped me to get here and I can’t thank the coaches enough in what they did for me.”
CM’s Jacob Troeckler, a senior, also welcomed an opportunity to participate in the second day of state action. He finished 26th overall, with a score of 2,551. Troeckler had games of 195, 232 and 173 on Saturday before finishing with a flourish. He ended with games of 268, 222 and 225. Troeckler posted a 212.6 average.
“He did really well and we’re excited about it,” Eagles’ coach Shawn Callies said. “I’m really happy with what he did because that put a band-aid on our wound we had Friday as a team. It was really nice what Jacob accomplished and good for our guys to watch.”
Woszczynski was just as elated seeing Pejakovich come through in the clutch and make sure the Redbirds didn’t go home empty-handed from their state experience. The team didn’t make the 12-squad cut after the first day.
“We wanted to bring something home and do well for the school,” Woszczynski said. “Lucas did that and he deserves everything he gets. He works hard at it all of the time.”
Pejakovich rolled a 1,367 score during his six games Friday and that set motion what he achieved Saturday. One thing led to another. And he competed in the 2014 state finals at St. Clair Bowl, so he knew the routine.
“This year, I knew what to expect coming into the state finals,” Pejakovich said. “We had a solid game plan and I had a good time. There were a lot of people supporting me.”
Columbia’s Cameron Touchette finished fifth with a 2,699 total and Triad’s Gavin Pisetta nabbed eighth with a 2,659 score. Yet nobody could take champion Jacob Nimtz of team runner-up Machesny Park Harlem. He put together a 3,011 score for 12 games, a 250.9 average. His first three games Saturday featured scores of 300, 205 and 300.
So Nimtz registered an 805 series and became the first kegler in the 13-year history of the boys’ finals to roll a pair of perfect games during state finals weekend. Just seven bowlers previously rolled perfect games in the IHSA tournament.
Rockton Hononegah accumulated a score of 12,909 to outdo Machesny Park Harlem by 268 pins for the team title. St. Charles East took third, followed by Lake Zurich and host O’Fallon. Collinsville was 11th.
Next up is girls’ competition. Alton will play host to a regional on Feb. 7 at Bowl Haven Lanes. The local sectional is at St. Clair Bowl the following Saturday and the state finals are scheduled for Feb. 20-21 at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford.