Answer Man

Students started bowling in Belleville when Truman was president

Q: When I was in high school, I helped start an intramural bowling team at Cathedral High School in Belleville during the 1947-48 school year. I’ve always been curious whether we may have been one of the first in the area, state or nation?

Don Forness, of Belleville

A: You indeed may have been well ahead of the curve, but without being able to check every high school yearbook in the country, I wouldn’t want to say for sure and wind up throwing a gutter ball.

You almost certainly had the first one in Belleville. Belleville Township, for example, had a tumbling/gymnastics club, but apparently no bowling even though the city was a hotbed, what with the success of Max Stein, etc., according to yearbooks of the time Other than that, all I can tell you is that state-recognized high school bowling apparently started years later — 1958 in New Jersey, for example, 1978 in New York and 2002-03 in Illinois.

Peyton Mercer, a sixth-grader at Harmony Intermediate School in Belleville, Illinois, bowled a perfect 300 game at Bel-Air Bowl on Jan. 21. At 11 years old, he ranks among the youngest bowlers ever to bowl a perfect 300 game, according the United

If anyone knows of any earlier metro-east prep pin clubs, I’d be interested in hearing about them. Otherwise, congratulations on striking out to provide your fellow bowling enthusiasts with an outlet for their talents at the old Cathedral High School, which had four alleys. Forness, by the way, had the high three-game total that year with 565 while he and fellow team co-founder Terry Wade shared the mark for high seasonal game average with a 161.

O'Fallon Township High School Panthers freshman Jordan Peacock, of O'Fallon, Illinois, bowled a perfect 300 game despite having only one arm.

Today’s trivia

What is the only state that has an official state bird named for another state?

Answer to Friday’s trivia: Nicknamed “the Roundhouse,” the New Mexico state capitol in Santa Fe is the only round state capitol in the United States. When viewed from above, it was reportedly designed to resemble the Zia Indian sun symbol.

Roger Schlueter: 618-239-2465, @RogerAnswer

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