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'Monster' games lead Valdez to claim title : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
'Monster' games lead Valdez to claim title
Oswego junior bowler wins Strikefest

by Christine Bolin Dascher


Even though neither girls' bowling team from Oswego or Oswego East won Strikefest this past Saturday at Town and Country Lanes, one of the Panthers, junior Cheyenne Valdez, did leave Joliet as the tournament champion.

Valdez' 1,296 series not only beat everyone else individually but it helped Oswego earn fourth place out of 44 teams at one of the best tournaments in the state.

Valdez averaged a 216 on the day and posted a USBC (United States Bowling Congress) certified 700 series. The most exciting single shot of the tournament for her happened in the second ball of her ninth frame in the third game. After leaving a 7-10 split on a pocket hit, she lined up to attack the 10 pin. After a direct hit, the pin caromed off the back wall and into the seven pin for the split conversion.

The next finisher behind Valdez was Plainfield East's Ivory Miles with a 1,286.

"(Valdez) bowled well all day," Oswego head coach Dan Okoren said. "All her monster games came in the morning, and that helped take the pressure off. That 7-10 split really made a difference. It was very exciting."

Minooka won the team title with 5,914, followed by Lockport (5,898), Harlem (5,766), Oswego (5,753) and Jefferson (5,723).

"We were in third going into the last game," Okoren said. "But we know our potential. It's a great tournament, one of the best in the state."

Waubonsie Valley was sixth (5,707), followed by Collinsville (5,618), Oswego East (5,613), Andrew (5,469), Plainfield East (5,383) and host Plainfield North (5,330).

"It was a lot harder shot than anticipated," said Oswego East head coach Jeremy Hillman, whose team goal going in was 6,000 pins. "So we re-evaluated where we wanted to be. We came out and didn't quite fulfill our spares...but we knew we could have done better."

Oswego East's best finisher was senior Giselle Poss, who finished sixth overall with her 1,261 series.

In addition to Valdez, freshman Brittany Breedlove led Oswego after she placed 23rd with her 1,157 series. Junior Jessica Mendez was 41st (1,122) and senior Ashley Miller was 54th (1,098).

Senior Tricia Thornton (28th place, 1,144 series) and junior Kailey Kopacz (37th, 1,128) also led Oswego East.

In addition to the regular tournament, Strikefest included a Super Sub tournament at the lunch break. Two Panthers, junior Trashaunna Manning and sophomore Ashley Jourdan, bowled in this two-game tournament. Manning finished with a 160 two-game average while Jourdan rolled two consistent games of 199 and 197 for a fourth- place medal.

Oswego and Oswego East will face off again today, Thursday, at Parkside Lanes for a 4 p.m. Southwest Prairie Conference dual meet. This showdown will be streaming live on

Both teams are undefeated in conference dual meet action entering the big rivalry contest that will also be both squads' Senior Night.

"Oswego East is a force to be reckoned with," Okoren said. "If they just so happened to beat us, good for them, but it should be an exciting one to go to."

"It's another conference battle, and on Saturday (at Strikefest), Oswego proved they could bowl some big games," Hillman added. "But it's always a fun one, and the girls have so much respect for each other. It's such a cool atmosphere, and that's what you want to see in a rivalry."

Oswego: Last Thursday, the Panthers improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Southwest Prairie Conference dual meet action after topping Plainfield South, 3,006-2,814 at Parkside Lanes in Aurora.

Oswego won the first match, 958-833. Leading the way in that round was juniors Mendez (213) and Valdez (196).

In the second round, the Cougars posted a 1,033 team score, but Oswego rolled its best game of the season, 1,099, and earned two more points. Three Panthers put up games over 230, including junior Trashaunna Manning (233), Mendez (245), and Valdez (268).

In the third and final match, the Panthers came out on top, 949-948, and completed the clean sweep over the Cougars.

"This is a good example of when I remind the girls that every pin counts," Okoren said.

Overall, Valdez led the Panthers to victory with an impressive 689 series. Not far behind was Mendez, who shot 650 and Manning also contributed with a solid 582 series.

"We just locked in, found the pocket and covered our spares," Okoren said. "We had big games at the right time."

After the rivalry battle with the Wolves, Oswego will compete at DeKalb's Holiday Invite on Saturday at 8:15 a.m. at Mardi Gras Lanes.

Oswego East: The Wolves are now 2-0 in conference dual meets after they beat Plainfield North, 3,078-2,649, last Thursday at Parkside Lanes.

Oswego East took all 10 points and was led by Poss' 671 series, followed by freshman Abby Ragsdale's 607 series, Taylor DeLano (600), Kopacz (581) and Thornton (577).

"(Plainfield North) took all 10 points from us last year, and when I reminded the girls about that, it lit a fire under them," Hillman said. "Plainfield North is a good program, and their coach has done a good job making them competitive."

Against Joliet West on Monday, the Wolves won, 2,973-2,726. Oswego East is now 5-0 overall in dual meets.

Poss shot a 642 and Kopacz rolled a 632 series. Thornton shot the high game of the night with a 266, which helped her series total with a 619. Jordan Tiritilli shot a 614 series at the JV level with three solid and consistent games of 224, 202 and 188.

"We walked in and saw that we were on the same pair of lanes as Saturday, so we thought this was our chance to see if we learned anything," Hillman said. "What we did (on Monday night) was what we wanted to do on Saturday."

After the Wolves take on Oswego, they will compete at West Aurora's Blackhawk Invite on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Funway in Batavia.

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