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Oswego East bowler earns All-State finish : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Oswego East bowler earns All-State finish
Oswego finishes 12th in team standings

by Christine Bolin Dascher


The Oswego girls' bowling team ended up placing 12th at the state tournament, which was held this past Friday and Saturday at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford.

"We definitely wanted to finish in a higher place, but we still had a good trip," Oswego head coach Dan Okoren said. "We still think we really could bowl with any of the teams that made it there. The expectation was high and we wanted to do well - but we didn't bowl as high as our talent could have taken us. The girls worked so hard, and I'm really proud of them and for them finishing in the top half at the tournament."

Waubonsie Valley defended its state title and won the tournament for the second straight year with a 12,416 series. Leyden was second at 12,214, followed by Hoffman Estates (12,164), Collinsville (12,111), Minooka (12,018) and O'Fallon (12,011).

Harlem was seventh overall with an 11,957, followed by Freeport (11,912), Guilford (11,866), Joliet West (11,857), Lockport (11,823) and Oswego (11,821).

Oswego East sent senior Kailey Kopacz as an individual. She ended up earning All-State honors after she finished tied for eighth overall with a 2,635 series.

"There's 180 or so girls, and the top 12 get All-State, so this was a huge accomplishment for her," Oswego East head coach Jeremy Hillman said of Kopacz, who will continue her bowling career at Robert Morris next year. "I'm really proud of her. She really maintained her enthusiasm and did outstanding."

After the first day of play on Friday, Oswego was in ninth place (of 24 teams) with 2,954 pins. Waubonsie Valley was still in first with 3,210 pins.

"There were some nerves (on the first day), but they were determined to get to that second day of play," Okoren said. "We still felt we had a shot to at least finish in third, but we knew we would have to bowl lights-out and had to be flawless top to bottom."

Senior Trashaunna Manning led Oswego with her 2,535 series. Senior Cheyanne Valdez was next with a 2,432, followed by senior Jessica Mendez (2,424) and sophomore Brittany Breedlove (2,320).

Sophomore Hayley Douglas finished with a 1,019, senior Lauren Torrez (931) and junior Kayla Williams (160).

"We finished up with all the seniors in the lineup because the top three spots were out of reach by then," Okoren said. "It was good to see girls like Hayley and Kayla get some state experience. That experience is crucial to the future of the team."

Oswego East finished the 2013-14 season with a 6-1 Southwest Prairie Conference record, a third-place finish in the conference tournament, placed third at the Bolingbrook Regional and seventh at the Moline Sectional.

Sophomore Abby Ragsdale, junior Jordan Tiritilli and Kopacz, the lone senior, made the All-Conference team. The majority of the starting lineup is expected to return to the Wolves next season.

"If everyone comes back, we are going to have a pretty darn strong team," Hillman said. "But you can't predict everything. We'll see what happens."

Oswego went 4-2 in conference play, won the conference tournament, placed second at the Bolingbrook Regional and third at the Moline Sectional.

Valdez, Manning, Breedlove and Mendez all made the All-Conference team. The Panthers graduate four seniors -Valdez, Manning, Mendez and Torrez.

"Jessica and Cheyanne were freshmen on varsity. Jess came in and got state experience (when the Panthers placed fifth as a team), and Cheyanne has been a rock since then," Okoren said. "As a freshman, Trashaunna was new to the sport and was All-Conference the past two years. Lauren picked up the game in her sophomore year, and her work ethic has been exceptional. She was able to jump in the lineup when we needed that fifth bowler, and that's quite an accomplishment. I'm going to miss all of them - we really did become a family."

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