East's Peters has emerged as one of area's top bowlers

News-DemocratJanuary 23, 2014 

In a day when power and speed seems to the way to go in athletics, Belleville East senior Thomas Peters prefers a more cerebral approach to the sport of bowling.

Peters is what is called a finesse bowler.

"I would say I'm probably more of a finesse bowler. I like to let my bowling ball do the work,'' Peters said. "I can be a power player and I realize that in order to be successful in this sport that you need to be able to string together six or seven strikes in a row.

"But I also realize that you've got to be able to pick up spares and I've spent a lot of time working on that aspect of the sport as well.''

The top bowler in the Southern Illinois High School Bowling Conference with a 232 average during the 2013-14 season, Peters will continues his journey toward a possible state championship when he leads the Lancers into competition at the Mascoutah Sectional on Saturday at Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville.

The top six teams and top 10 individuals not on those teams will advance to the Illinois boys state bowling tournament, on Jan. 31-Feb 1 at St. Clair Bowl in Fairview Heights.

Third at the Cahokia Regional a week ago at Redbird Lanes, Peters will be competing on the Lancers' home lanes at Bel-Air with the hopes of making a return trip to state the following week.

Peters placed eighth at the 2013 state finals.

"I would call Bel-Air one of my favorite places to bowl and than I'm at St. Clair Bowl almost every day. I live about a mile from the lanes,'' Peters said. "But at the state tournament anything can happen and anybody can win it.

"It's two days and 12 games. It all depends on who gets hot.''

Peters has been burning up the lanes for most of his Lancers' career.

As a junior, Peters averaged 226 per game. He entered this postseason with recent (three-game) series of 782 and 739 and seems to be at the top of his game.

"I feel like I'm in a good place right now,'' Peters said. "I'm relaxed and I know I've worked hard to get to this point. I'm bowling well.''

Peters won't get any arguments from Lancers coach Marcus Barriger, who in his first two years at the helm has watched Peters become one of the top bowlers around.

How? Through hundreds of hours of practice.

"Thomas is always in here (Bel-Air Bowl). He's always practicing and working on his game. What he has been able to achieve in this sport, he's earned many times over,'' Barriger said. "Thomas is a perfectionist.

"Some kids are good and they continue to be good. But when you strive to be at that certain level, it takes hard work and dedication in order to get there. That's what Thomas Peters has done. You're not going to outwork or outhustle him. He's going to do it to the best of his ability.''

Like most high-level competitors, Peters has had help along the way.

Introduced to bowling at the age of five, Peters quit for awhile and didn't take it seriously until beginning middle school.

But it was at that time that he realized that if he was going to take his bowling to the next level, he would need some high-level instruction.

That tutelage came from local bowling coaches Daniel Strubel and Dennis Knepper.

"I started working with Daniel (Strubel) and he helped me out tremendously," Peters said, "and then I began working with Dennis (Knepper) who has helped me take my game to an entirely different level.

"Dennis rebuilt me as a person. My game was not at a level where I was very competitive at that time and he took me to a very competition ready level. I owe both of those men a lot for their help."

An excellent student-athlete, Peters plans to compete in college next season. Among the schools he is considering are McKendree University, Wichita State and Robert Morris University in Chicago.

Peters plans to major in either sociology or psychology.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service