Libertyville’s Jack Baumruk takes aim at state bowling meet

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Libertyville senior Jack Baumruk is one of the top students in his class with a particular interest in physics.

His fascination with physics helps him out at the bowling alley, of all places.

“He understands the physics of bowling,” junior Duncan Hughes said. “He knows how the ball is going to move, and that helps him out a lot.”

Baumruk’s ability to make adjustments based on how the lane is breaking down was on full display at the Rockford Boylan Sectional Saturday. Baumruk opened with a 672 series and followed that with a 652 series for a six-game total of 1,324 (220.6 average).

At each sectional, the top eight bowlers not on an advancing team qualify for the state tournament at St. Clair Bowl in O’Fallon. Baumruk was four pins out of the top eight, but he was one of the two at-large advancers from the four sectionals.

There was some confusion over how the at-large advancers qualified, so Baumruk did not know he was likely in until he was on the car ride home from the sectional.

Even if he hadn’t qualified, Baumruk would have been thrilled with his performance. His 220 average was almost 30 pins higher than his average during the regular season. He was joined at the sectional by junior teammate Alex Price (206 average) and Hughes.

“I was really nervous while waiting for the final scores to post, but even if I didn’t make it I would have been fine with the end of my bowling career,” Baumruk said. “I bowled out of my mind.”

Libertyville coach Robert Sweno said Baumruk’s mental game is a real asset.

“He’s a very smart kid and he applies that to bowling,” Sweno said. “A lot of kids will talk with their buddies or stare off into the distance in between shots. He watches the lanes and how the ball is reacting so he can make adjustments before he has to throw.”

Baumruk is not the most intense bowler, but that changed in the week leading up to the sectional tournament.

“I’m a pretty chill guy but I put in a lot of practice and really wanted to show up and bowl well at [the sectional],” he said.

He also benefited from using two new bowling balls. One was from his dad and the other came courtesy of one of his dad’s friends. Each ball reacted so well to the lanes that he expects to bring both to the state tournament.

“I was able to throw both of them so well,” he said.

Throughout the six games, he never got down on himself.

“He didn’t get discouraged at all,” Sweno said. “When he didn’t strike, he [focused] on picking up his spares.”

Baumruk did the math — naturally — this weekend and calculated that his qualifying score was the 44th-best at state.

“I’m hoping to place 44th or better,” he said. “The pressure is off, and I’m proud to go and [compete] with all these awesome bowlers.”

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