O'FALLON — Studies have shown that the odds of bowling a 300 game are about 1 in 11,500. The odds of a team or individual qualifying to compete in the state bowling tournament are much better.
Beginning in the 2013-14 season, high school bowlers from throughout the state will have to work a little harder to reach the state finals after a revision of the postseason format was approved earlier this year.
Bowlers in both the boys and girls programs will have to advance through regional and sectional tournaments to qualify for state. Previously, the IHSA postseason featured just a sectional tournament before state.
Southern Illinois High School Bowling Conference commissioner Mike Imes said that with the continued growth of high school bowling in Illinois, another round was needed to give more teams and individuals a chance of advancing to state.
"What do I think of the changes. Ask me at the end of the year,'' Imes said. "The reason for it is to give more bowlers a chance at qualifying for the state finals.
"With the success our SIHSBC and the Southwestern Conference has had at the state level, I think it gives us a chance to have four or five of our teams make it to state depending on in what sectionals we're placed.''
The boys postseason will begin with 16 regionals around the state with 11 or 12 teams in each field. The top four teams and top 10 individuals not on those teams will then move on to four sectional sites.
Each sectional will consist of 16 teams and 40 individuals. The top six teams and top seven individuals at the sectional will advance to state.
The 2014 boys state tournament will be held Jan. 31-Feb 1 at St. Clair Bowl in O'Fallon.
The girls format will include 18 regionals with 11 or 12 teams in each field. Four teams and 10 individuals will then move on to six sectionals.
Four teams and five individuals will move on to the state finals. The 2014 girls state tournament will be held Feb. 21-22 at Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
The regular season has already begun for the metro-east's boys team with the girls slated to start later in the month. The O'Fallon Panthers, who finished second at the 2013 boys state tournament and feature a top individual in senior Billy Goodman, are already off and running after winning the Kahoks Invitational at Collinsville. They are expected to be the one of the teams to beat in the boys division, along with Belleville East.
Collinsville, East and O'Fallon are expected to be the top girls teams in the metro-east.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org