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Photo by Jeff Helmkamp
The Alton girls' bowling team qualified for the Johnston City Sectionals to be held on Feb. 13 with a second-place finish Saturday at Camelot Bowl in Collinsville. Here is the girls' team pictured with coach Jeff Woszczynski: (front, from left) Alex Bergin, Addison Beys and Carley Heistand; (back, from left) Claire Gorman, Ashley Heistand, Chloe Greenberg, Eryka Graham and Elizabeth Hanke.
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Photo by Jeff Helmkamp
Civic Memorial boys' and girls' bowling coach Shawn Callies poses for a post-regional photo with his two sectional qualifiers Brittany Dickerson (left) and Ashley Westbrook.
COLLINSVILLE – Once Eryka Graham got going, so did the Alton Redbirds in the Collinsville Girls Bowling Regional on Saturday at Camelot Bowl.
Graham, an AHS senior and two-time Advantage Girls Bowler of the Year, finished first with 1,302 total for 6 games in the 12-team regional. Her score was 17 pins better than runner-up Lainey Snow of Triad.
“It’s nice to be the regional champion,” said Graham, snaring her first regional title. She sports a 225 average this season.
AHS coach Jeff Woszczynski added, “Sometimes Eryka doesn’t have a strong start, but she always picks it up and today she bowled the way she usually bowls.”
What made it nicer for Graham was that the Redbirds followed her lead. Teammate Ashley Heistand took fourth with a score of 1,182, enabling Alton to shoot a 5,645 total, second to host Collinsville. “We had a good 1-2 punch with Eryka and Ashley,” Woszczynski said.
The Kahoks won the regional title by tabulating a 5,671 score and they joined the Redbirds, Highland and Triad in next week’s Johnston City Sectional at the Southern Illinois Bowl in Carterville.
“We wanted to get first in the regional, but we are happy with it,” Graham said of the Redbirds’ second-place outing. They are the Southwestern Conference champions.
Graham posted a 277 score in her second game after opening with a 160. She also registered scores of 245, 188, 220 and 212. Heistand recorded a 241 and a 200 during her steady 6-game performance. AHS' Claire Gorman, 12th at 1,099 and Chloe Greenberg, 16th at 1,032, also made ample contributions.
“Overall, it was a good day for us,” Woszczynski said. “We are dealing with the pressure we are putting on ourselves and it’s more of a mental thing than anything else.”
Ashley Westbrook and Brittany Dickerson of Civic Memorial also enjoyed good times. Westbrook, a freshman, finished sixth overall with a 1,169 score, thanks to four 200-plus games – including a 242. That made her the first individual qualifier.
“She really cranked it today,” CM coach Shawn Callies said. “That’s the best Ashley has bowled all year. If she bowls like that in the sectional at Carterville, she will have a chance to go to state.”
Dickerson, a senior, logged an 879 score, making her the 10th and the final individual qualifier. Callies was thrilled with her output.
“There’s no doubt that’s the best Brittany has bowled all season,” he said of her 26th-place finish. “She was very consistent for all six games and that came from working on becoming better. She’s the one who made herself go to the sectional. Brittany had been averaging about 125 a game.”
Kennedy Rainwater and Morgan Fazio of Granite City are also sectional-bound. Rainwater shot a 974 to finish 19th and Fazio had a 924 score for 22nd place.
Highland, which had a 5,346 total, took third in the team standings and Triad was fourth with a 4,917 for the final team slot. The Knights finished 115 pins ahead of fifth-place Jersey.
Graham said Alton’s next task is a strong sectional showing. The IHSA finals play out Feb. 19-20 in Rockford.
“Our goal is to go to state together as a team,” she said. “That’s what we want to do.”
Woszczynski wouldn’t bet against the Redbirds’ chances of achieving that goal.
“It would be nice to win the sectional, but just getting to state is the most important thing,” he said. “We can do it because I figure we have one of the best teams in the state.
“We have been consistent all season.”
The remainder of the regional squads and their scores were: Jersey (4,802), CM (4,479), Southwestern (4,323), Granite City (4,085), Edwardsville (3,895), East Alton-Wood River (3,787), Roxana (3,334) and Metro East Lutheran (3,257).
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