ALTON – The Redbirds, the Eagles and the Oilers had ample cause to celebrate Saturday in the Alton Boys’ Bowling Sectional at Bowl Haven Lanes.
Alton and Civic Memorial both qualified their teams for next Saturday’s Herrin Sectional at Southern Illinois Lanes in Carterville. And East Alton-Wood River advanced a pair of individuals for the next round.
“You want to win, but the primary goal is to advance to the sectional,” AHS coach Jeff Woszczsynki said.
CM coach Shawn Callies agreed. “Our goal was to finish in the top four as a team so we could get through the regional,” he said. “I think this is the first time we’ve advanced to the next round and the kids are excited about it.”
Collinsville scored 6,443 points for the title in the 12-team competition. Southwestern Conference champion O’Fallon finished second with 6,285 points. Alton took third with 6,234 points and CM placed fourth with 6,119 points.
The first four teams, plus the best 10 individuals not on those squads, moved on to the sectional.
The Oilers’ Ashtin Wiegand and Tyler Hayes were among the bowlers advancing. Wiegand, a senior, recorded a 1,266 score, second for sectional qualifying individuals. Hayes, whose older brother Ryan competes for CM, logged a 1,140 total. Tyler is a sophomore while Ryan is a senior.
“It’s huge to have two guys going to the sectional,” EA-WR coach Jesse Daniels. “We won our first two matches earlier in the week, so this is absolutely our best week of the season.
“Wiegand has been solid and Hayes is a pleasant surprise in his first year bowling for us.”
Nobody had a better day than Collinsville’s Branden Boehnke. The senior rolled a 1,417 score for six games, including a 300 in his first one. Teammate Clayton Hartman, a sophomore, came in second with a 1,386 score.
Justin Peacock of O’Fallon secured third with a 1,347 total and CM’s Phillip Ramos snared fourth with a 1,342. All four received medals for their efforts.
“Phillip Ramos really came up big for us today,” Callies said. “That’s the best he has shot this year.”
Teammates Ryan Hayes (1,276), Dalton Harshbarger (1,225), Alex Zukas (1,209) and Jacob Troeckler (1,067) added to the CM performance.
“We started slowly, but we finished strong,” Callies said. “We had some guys pull us through when we needed it.”
The Redbirds got what they needed, too. Junior Jacob Donahue spurred them with a 1,299 score. Mat Gorman, a senior, was next at 1,279. Donahue shared fifth place and Gorman nabbed seventh, one spot ahead of CM’s Hayes.
“They did great,” Woszczsynski said of Donahue and Gorman. “Mat bowled very well against O’Fallon and he continued it here. Jacob has been hot and cold, but he was on fire today.”
Lucas Pejakovich (1,235), Justin Amistadi (1,215) and Tyler Stevenson (1,206) added to the Redbirds' totals.
Triad’s Brian Reeves and Gavin Pisetta, Granite City’s Justin Simpson, Corey Hard and Ricky Hard, Edwardsville’s Tyler Voyles, Metro East Lutheran’s Grant Mitchell and Lebanon’s Ben Shaw also were sectional individual qualifiers. Reeves posted a 1,270 score, or ninth overall.
Triad finished fifth in the team competition with a 5,543 score. Edwardsville (5,473), Granite City (5,433), EA-WR (5,333), MELHS (5,025), Roxana (4,601) and Lebanon (3,388) rounded out the team scoring. Father McGivney Catholic of Maryville entered one bowler.
Next Saturday's top finishers in the Herrin Sectional will go on to the IHSA finals Jan. 30-31 at St. Clair Bowl in O’Fallon. Alton finished seventh in last year’s finals.
“We want to do well in the sectional and build some momentum for state,” Woszczsynski said. “We just need to have a good mindset next week. You bowl better when you are loose.”
He’s aware that just about anything can happen in postseason bowling.
“One year we finished seventh in the conference and sixth at state,” he said. “And what people tend to remember the most is what you do at state.”