Stars of the Game

With a great season so far, the Tigers are taking the lanes by storm.


Photography, Mads LaBotte

The bowling girls make a star with their fingers to signify a star frame, one strike per person per frame.

Invitationals for any sport are always fun, and the Herrin Bowling Tigers had an interesting Saturday on December 10th. Everyone was tired because of the 6 A.M. bus ride, but they warmed up finally when they got to Bel-Air to give it their all. They had hopes for multiple star frames, a strike per person per frame, as well as an easy victory for the day, and the spectators were not disappointed.


Although the boys started in late October, the girls and boys have started competing together and have been for a couple of weeks now. The boys varsity team has won 12 matches, and the junior varsity team has won 8 matches. Sadly, while there are many victories, the boys had a heart crushing defeat during a match against Carterville at S.I. Bowl. Sophomore Payton Martin, who led the team during the defeat, reflected that “everyone needs to be humbled as we were.” After the loss, the team vowed to practice their spare shots and come back better than before. 


Along with the matches, each team has also competed in their own set of tournaments. The boys varsity team hosted the Tiger Invitational this year at their home lanes. The team overall placed 6th and were led by Lake Ward (12), who individually placed 11th. While there was a struggle at the Collinsville Invitational that put the boys in 14th for the day, the team came back the next Saturday with 3rd place at the Salem Invitational. The junior varsity team also tagged along and snagged a 5th place finish for the day, along with Logan Ventura (12)  earning the high game award for the JV division.


In addition to getting 3rd place at Salem, the varsity team was also able to secure another 3rd place win at the Harrisburg Invitational and were led by Chase Lannom (10). Lannom has been bowling for only three years, but has secured his rank on varsity. He stated that he models his game after Jason Belmonte, a professional bowler who “inspired [him] to bowl two-handed”. 


The Belleville East Invitational was a struggle all around; the boys ended the day in 10th place. With their teammate Clayton Richardson in their hearts, they were able to have an intense day full of competition at O’Fallon, and they were able to get into the last bracket before being knocked out during the first bracket match. 


Even if the girls do not have as many tournaments under their belts, they still are coming in hot with multiple victories so far in the early season. The girls varsity team has won 11 matches, but sadly had a discouraging defeat against Carterville. Along with the matches, the Herrin Lady Tigers were also able to secure a 2nd place victory at the Belleville East Invitational; the ladies were led by Mads LaBotte (11) who placed 4th individually. The Herrin Lady Tigers also hosted their own Herrin Invitational; although they narrowly placed 4th as a team, it was still a great afternoon with LaBotte taking home 5th place individually. During the Carterville Invitational, the girls made it into the final rounds by just barely placing 8th before being pushed out of the bracket by Mascoutah, and, although the day was harsh, Sidnee Nelson (9th) was able to place 2nd individually out of the 23 teams that competed. 


While the girls have not had many matches or tournaments, senior Amaris Williams believes that they have a strong shot at making it to state this year; Williams mentioned that she is inspired by Joe LaBotte, a local bowler who “has been willing to help [her] when needed”. 


With a great start to the season, Coach Chelsea Walker has high hopes for “both teams to advance to the state finals in Fairview Heights for the boys and Rockford for the girls.” With daily practices and up to three matches a week, Coach Walker expects big goals and intentions to be satisfied by the end of the season. The team has had great success and promise up to now and will continue to carry out this great season, hopefully finishing the post-season off with a flurry of victories.