Belleville West senior Haley Dunn arrived at St. Clair Bowl in O’Fallon Tuesday for the Maroons match with O’Fallon with her usual array of six bowling balls.
Entering the match with an average of 215, Dunn was both mentally and physically prepared to be at her best against the Panthers as she warmed up on the St. Clair Bowl Lanes.
“I change bowling balls often when I bowl. That’s why I take the six bowling balls with me.,’’ Dunn said following the Maroons win over Granite City on Thursday. “When the lanes start to break down, I’ll change balls often until I find one that I think will work.”
But against O’Fallon, one bowling ball was all she needed.
Putting herself at the top of the Maroons bowling record book, Dunn recorded games of 257, 263 and 269 for a 789 series. That total, according to Maroons coach Stephen Misselhorn, is the best in history by a Belleville West female bowler and one of the top series in recent SIHSBC history.
“I was thinking about 700. To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about bowling 800,’’ Dunn said. “It helps when you have a good team and you are bowling against good competition. O’Fallon is always very strong and bowling against them also gives me extra motivation. I was really focused that night.
“”The last couple of matches, the ball didn’t feel exactly right coming out of my hand. Against O’Fallon, it felt good when I released the ball. I had a bowling ball that was working and so basically I just stayed with it.’’
An active bowler since the age of five who comes from a bowling family, Dunn’s emergence as one of the top high school bowlers in the St. Louis area has been gradual. As a freshman, she carried an average of 130 and has since added 85 pins to her total per game.
“I’m not surprised Haley had the 789 series. She was coming off a tournament victory a couple of weeks ago and she’s just been very solid for us all year,’’ Misselhorn said. “She’s done it through hard work. Haley has a very good and supportive group of teammates which have helped her, but there is really no secret to her success. She’s worked very hard to the accolades she is getting.’’
Dunn, whose previous high series of 710 came against O’Fallon a year ago on the same St. Clair Bowl lanes, also shines on the softball field. A power hitting first baseman, Dunn hit .320 with three home runs for the Maroons varsity squad last spring.
But bowling is her first love, her best sport and one that she hopes to compete at the college level. Dunn is looking at several schools, including Missouri Baptist University.
“I really have no idea what it is about St. Clair Bowl that makes me bowl so well. We bowl our home matches at Bel-Aire and so I bowl here more than anyplace else,’’ Dunn said. “I think part of is that against O’Fallon we’re all really fired up and ready to go. I am always very focused when I bowl, but maybe even a little more against O’Fallon.’’
While Dunn will be bowling at the college level beginning in the fall of 2019, she has her sites set on a more immediate goal. Dunn hopes to qualify for the IHSA Girls State Bowling Tournament which will take place at Cherry Bowl in Rockford in early February.
“We’re having a really good season this year as a team so the goal is to get to the state tournament. I’ve never gotten to the state finals,’’ Dunn said. “ I think it’s going to take for me to be more consistent and just being more focused when it comes time for the sectional.’’