46 | February 16, 2017 | The Homer Horizon sports homerhorizon.com Porters overcome Oswego East to win Andrew Sectional Girls bowling team earns fifth straight trip to state Frank Gogola, Freelance Reporter Monica Colon refines her throw with a practice shot for the Porters. For the first time this postseason, things were not coming easy for Lockport. The state’s No. 1-ranked team according to IllinoisBowling. net had been in second place the majority of the day at the Andrew Sectional Saturday, Feb. 11, at Orland Bowl. As other teams started to fade late in the day, strong play from junior Bailey Delrose and a lineup change helped the Porters win the sectional title and earn their fifth consecutive trip to state. “It [has] been a fantastic run, especially these last three years,” Lockport coach Art Cwudzinski said. “You don’t see girls with this ability this often, and all on the same team. It’s been a pleasure to watch them work and mature. They’ve accepted both the good and bad breaks.” Lockport was the only area school to advance to state as a team. Andrew’s Noelle Doody and Danielle Stefanski qualified for state, as did Sandburg’s Emily Schrader. Sandburg’s Sophia Jablonski advanced to state in the wheelchair division. Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln- Way East, Lincoln-Way Central and Tinley Park did not qualify any individual bowlers. The lowest individual advancing score was a 1,259. The four highest-scoring teams and five top-scoring individuals who did not advance with a team moved on to state. The state finals are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Cherry Bowl in Rockford. Lockport senior Paige Reiter and Delrose put together two of the top three scores in the afternoon session to help the Porters complete a comeback and beat Oswego East 6,334-6,264 for the sectional title. The Porters were in second place or lower until the end of the fifth game. Reiter bowled an afternoon session-high 700 across three games. She finished 87 pins better than senior Marissa Ramirez, who she replaced after the morning session, to help the Porters finish 70 pins ahead of second-place Oswego East. Reiter knew she was going to be bowling in the afternoon but just did not know who she would go in for. She replaced Ramirez in the lead spot, where she set the tone by bowling a 229, 245 and 226. “I always start; I love it,” Reiter said. “There’s nothing better than the pressure of being the first one to bowl.” Delrose finished in fifth place with 1,319 pins. Her 684 pins across the final three games were the third most in the afternoon session. Her 232 and 247 in Games 5 and 6, respectively, were her best scores of the day. The Porters were second after the first game (1,084) and dropped to fourth after a 930, their worst score of the day, in the second game. They responded with a 1,135, their best score of the day, to move into second place after the morning session. Lockport trailed Oswego East by 48 pins after three games but Lockport’s Marissa Ramirez warms up at the Andrew Sectional before her team won the title Saturday, Feb. 11, at Orland Bowl. Photos by Bob Klein/22nd Century Media dropped to 118 pins back after they were outscored 1,115-1,045 in Game 4. That led to a team huddle. “Before Game 5, we huddled and talked about getting our stuff in order, fix our focus, don’t get down on ourselves and don’t let one bad shot carry over,” Reiter said. The Porters out-bowled Oswego East 1,088-961 in Game 5 to take a nine-pin lead into the final game. They rolled a 1,052 to Oswego East’s 991 in the sixth game to secure the win. “The girls put their minds to it today,” Cwudzinski said. “The team was in a good frame of mind. Our spare shooting was down though. But this is a veteran team that [has] been through wars before and didn’t let the struggles make them lose focus.” Senior Dana Ackerson bowled a 1,270. Senior Grace Karraker rolled a 1,226. Senior Monica Colon had a 1,206. Ramirez, a senior, bowled a 613 in three games. The Porters finished fourth at state in 2013, 11th in 2014, first in 2015 and third last season.
homerhorizon.com sports the Homer Horizon | February 16, 2017 | 47 fastbreak Wrestling Program-record 12 Porters qualify for state finals Bob Klein/22nd Century Media 1st and 3 Lockport girls bowlers hope for another top state finish 1. Taking care of business The LTHS girls bowling team won the Andrew Sectional Saturday, Feb. 11, at Orland Bowl. LTHS trailed Oswego East but surpassed them in the final two games for the victory. 2. Coming back Lockport bowlers Paige Reiter and Bailey Delrose had two of the top three scores in the afternoon session to help take first with a final score of 6,334. 3. Extending the streak The Porters advanced to state for the fifth straight time. They finished first there in 2015 and third last year. Lockport has five sectional champions in dominant showing Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter This is the time of season that the Lockport Township wrestling team has been aiming for. Through an undefeated (25-0) dual meet season and back-to-back trips to a pair of the best tournaments in the nation, the Porters moved up to be the topranked team in the state and No. 24 nationally. But through it all, they had a goal to be at their best in the postseason. They showed they were Saturday, Feb. 11, in the Class 3A Normal Community Sectional. There, the Porters established program records with 12 state qualifiers and five sectional champions. The Lockport dozen, along with other area qualifiers, will compete for at the individual state tournament finals, which is held this Thursday through Saturday, February 16-18 at the State Farm Center in Champaign. “We wrestle a really good schedule, and we’re ready to compete when it’s time to compete,” Lockport coach Josh Oster said. “Twice before, we had seven people get to state, and once before had four [sectional] champions. We know we’re not going to win every one, but if you compete well, then good things will happen.” Qualifying 13 people out of their own regional Feb. 4, the Porters had 12 of them place in the sectional. They will be represented at state in every weight class except 195 and 220. Brendan Ramsey was not one of the Lockport sectional champions. But despite having 15 losses (22-15), he epitomized the Porter spirit by finishing third at 126 with a 3-1 win over fellow senior Jevon Pargo from Collinsville. “It’s a great day, and I’m proud of all my teammates,” Ramsey said. “When your teammates are winning and you see it, it pumps you up, too.” Capturing titles for Lockport were seniors Abdullah Assaf (132), Brandon Ramos (138) and Trevell Timmons (160), along with sophomores Baylor Fernandes (145) and Ronald Tucker, Jr. (285). Garnering second for the Porters were sophomore Matt Ramos (106), freshman James Pierandozzi (120), junior Zach Reese (152) and senior Nicholas Dado (170). Placing third was sophomore Anthony Molton (113), Ramsey (126) and senior Payton Fernandes (182). “Team-wise, with all of the qualifiers, that was just amazing,” Timmons said. “Everybody’s pushing along, and I feel like every week we’re getting tougher and tougher. A lot of guys knew that if you move on from this, you go to state, so there was a lot of pressure on some guys.” Timmons, who defeated senior Michael Foy (18-1) of Crete-Monee 4-2 to improve to 36-4 and win his second straight sectional title, has his eyes set on the prize this weekend. “I definitely want to do it and don’t want to get injured again,” said Timmons, who finished fifth in 2015 and sixth last year after being injured — both at 152 pounds. “I feel I’ve worked way too hard not to take [the state title] this year.” So does Assaf, who was third at 113 two years ago and fifth at 120 last season. He improved to 24-2 with an 8-3 victory over junior Carlos Champagne from Marian Catholic in the title bout. But it did not come without a worrisome moment to start, as Assaf had to take an injury timeout. “My knee popped, and I kind of freaked out a bit, but it was nothing,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this week. I think we can bring home 12 placers at state. We feel confident. We’re hungry, and we looked really good.” Brandon (37-5), who won his first sectional title after finishing third the past three years, agreed. “This is exactly what I wanted,” said Brandon, who defeated fellow senior Luke Smiley from Plainfield North 8-1 to win the sectional title. “But I can’t be satisfied with just moving on. All of us will be pushing each other to get a medal or better.” Baylor (36-8), who defeated fellow sophomore Juan Bazaldua from Providence 5-2 in a local matchup, had to push through to even compete. But there was no way he was going to miss out. “I hadn’t practiced once this week because I had the flu, so I just gave it all that I had and ended up on top,” Baylor said. “I’ve never been this tired before. Our whole team did really good with guys beating people who are better ranked than them, which just shows how hard they’ve been working all year.” The heavyweight bout also featured an all-local matchup. There, Tucker improved to 26-2 in toppling Lincoln-Way East senior Sammy Diehl (35-3) 5-0 in the first meeting of the season between two of the top heavyweights in the state. “It felt good to wrestle him and get the win that I deserve,” Tucker said of defeating Diehl. “We didn’t have any letdown and wrestled great. To have a guy like Brendan Ramsey [with 15 losses] make it to the podium is kind of heartwarming.” Despite his loss to Tucker, Diehl, who is the SouthWest Suburban Blue heavyweight champion and is making his second straight trip to state, hopes to be on the podium this weekend. “He did very well, especially on shot defense,” Diehl said of Tucker. “But I definitely still want to be on the podium [at state].” Cole Smith from Providence was on top of the podium at 152 pounds in the sectional. He did not even have to wrestle a title match, as fellow junior Zach Reese had to injury default after reaggravating a shoulder injury that kept him out of action for the month leading up to the regional in the semifinals. Reese is expected back for Lockport at state this weekend. But Smith (40-4) was very happy for the win since it keeps him in the opposite bracket as Lockport resident and three-time defending state champion Austin O’Connor from St. Rita. “I was really looking forward to winning this since I knew that if I did, I’d be on the opposite side of O’Connor and could see him in the finals,” said Smith, who has lost to O’Connor three times this season. “I feel pretty good, but I’m still not where I’d like to be.” LISTEN UP “You don’t see girls with this ability this often, and all on the same team.” Art Cwudzinski — Lockport girls bowling coach, on his team after winning the Andrew Sectional Tune In Girls Bowling Big cherry on top — Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Cherry Bowl in Rockford • The Lockport girls bowling team travels north to state hoping to come back with another title. Index 43 - This Week In 42 - Athlete of the Week FASTBREAK is compiled by Editor Thomas Czaja, tom@ homerhorizon.com.