Oswego climbs into top 10 on last day of finals

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While Oswego’s boys bowling team wasn’t able to achieve its goal of a top 5 finish at the state finals Saturday, the Panthers did do something they’ve done all season — improve.

Oswego came into the final day at St. Clair Bowl in O’Fallon tied for 11th place with St. Patrick, but rolled a 5,982 series to pass the Shamrocks and defending champion Lockport, which dropped from 10th to 12th.

Oswego’s overall pinfall of 12,142 was good for 10th place, 965 pins behind state champion Rockford Guildford.

“It was obviously tough, but we did get in the top 10 and that’s nothing to shake a stick at,” Oswego coach T.J. Arnold said. “We’re pleased with where we finished.”

Despite having no bowlers with state finals experience, the Panthers came into the season with the goal of making the second day of the state finals.

“I think we believed that we could make it to the second day,” Oswego senior Brad Behrends said. “After the morning session Friday when we were sitting in 20th it didn’t look like it. It was really surprising but we were able to make it. Then we were able to move up today.

“I think it was a really good experience. The team did well together and really worked hard and we fed off each other’s energy.”

For the second straight day, all eight Panthers saw action as no one individual was dominant. Behrends, senior Dom Glatz and junior Zac Clifton all started five of the six games, while seniors Kendrick Marshall and Trever Nelson each appeared in three games and junior Garrett Dennehy and sophomore Eddie Mendez played in two. Dennehy rolled 236 and 220 to lead Oswego in each of the final two games.

Clifton wound up as Oswego’s overall scoring leader with 2,273 pins. Behrends was next at 2,043, followed by Rockwell (1,862), Nelson (1,807), Glatz (1,523), Mendez (1,176), Marshall (800) and Dennehy (658).

“I and the rest of the seniors did really well,” Behrends said. “Everyone missed spares and had some bad shots and we could have done better, but I think we’re all happy and it was a good experience.”

Arnold is optimistic that experience can be repeated. The Panthers were making their first state finals appearance since 2010.

“I think it definitely was a positive experience, especially for the younger kids,” Arnold said. “I have three juniors and a sophomore that hopefully will be able to make it back next year.”

Geneva senior Jason Soto finished 68th in the individual standings with a two-day pinfall of 2,388. Lincoln-Way West senior Josh Glover won the state title with a state-record 2,967.

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