Bowlers place sixth at state

The girls' bowling team poses at their state tournament. The team placed sixth in its first state appearance since 2005. (Photo courtesy of Greg Troyer)
The girls’ bowling team poses at their state tournament. The team placed sixth in its first state appearance since 2005. (Photo courtesy of Greg Troyer)

By Alyssa Zediker
Staff Writer
Out in the cold last Wednesday night, the girls’ bowling team covered head coach Greg Troyer’s house in toilet paper, which, though the girls didn’t know that at the time, was a tradition. The girls were headed towards the state tournament in Rockford the following day for the first time as a team since 2005.
Troyer said, “I’ll put up with toilet paper if that means we are going down state as a team.”
The varsity team this year, which consisted of four seniors, Kelly Lawless, Emily Victor, Whitney Schmidt, and Mary Styzek and junior Alison Walsh, got along well and was able to take second at sectionals, behind Hoffman Estates, to make it to state.
At state on Friday the team finished with a score of 5,925. The ladies placed fifth out of the 24 teams and made the top 12 cut for Saturday. Finally after 4 rounds with 3 games each round the Knights finished sixth with a total score of 11,644.
Troyer was pleased with the results of the weekend, but he was also exhausted. The girls accomplished what they set out to do at the beginning of the season and that was to make state, and they also accomplished their goal to make it into the top twelve.
However according to senior Whitney Schmidt their real goal was to just beat Hoffman Estates. Having had most conference meets next to Hoffman both for the lanes and being close in standings, the girls developed a healthy rivalry as a result.
“They beat us out at conference, they beat us out at sectionals,” said Schmidt, “but we beat them when it counted, at state.”
Hoffman finished fourth on Friday, but during the last game Saturday the Knights caught them and took the lead, knocking them back to eighth place. Even with the rivalry, the girls still managed to be friends and had a dance party together at Hoffman’s hotel Thursday night.
Unlike some teams that are extremely intense about bowling, the girls had time to relax and just have fun. The team decorated their hotel doors with pictures they brought with them and they also went to the mall to play laser tag for some team bonding.
Still, on Friday and Saturday the girls came out focused and ready to compete. Lawless finished as Prospect’s top bowler, placing 34th in the state with a 2412 after two days.
Troyer refers to her as ‘The Machine’ because her style is very consistent — “nothing flashy.”  Meanwhile, Walsh knows her as ‘The Ninja’ because of the way she sneaks up on her opponents.
Emily Victor also had a strong weekend after struggling for a few weeks to get back to her old form. Troyer says she carried the team during the fourth round on Saturday — when everyone else was getting tired she bowled a 673 and took a total score 2304.
The performances capped off an unforgettable season.  “This was one of my best years of all time,” Troyer said.