It was a long but worthwhile trip up Interstate 55 for the Highland High School bowling teams on Saturday, Dec. 1.
Both the Bulldogs boys and girls team acquitted themselves well at the 11th annual Abe Lincoln Tournament in Springfield.
On the boys side, Highland finished in fourth place out of 16 teams in the field.
Junior Austin Davis the led the boys team finishing third individually with a 1,350 pinfall.
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“To place in fourth for the caliber of team that were there is an awesome start for them,” Highland coach Laura Wander said.
Collinsville, Alton and Althoff finished ahead of the Highland boys.
In the girls division, the Bulldogs were equally strong on the lanes, bowling their way to a sixth place finish out of 16 teams.
Sophomore Molly Marshall led the way with a 10th place finish with a 1,202 pinfall.
“This was a good tournament for the girls since it was just their second match for them,” Wander said.
O’Fallon, Collinsville, Salem, Mascoutah and Hoopston finished ahead of the Bulldogs girls in the tournament.
Two days earlier, the teams had a mixed-bag of outing as the Bulldogs girls beat Mascoutah 28-12 and the boys lost in the final game of their match to fall to Mascoutah 23-17.
Freshman Carissa Merkle, senior Delaney Grimes, junior Maci Prister, sophomore Kayla Ruiz, sophomore Molly Marshall and freshman Sage Thole comprise the Bulldogs girls squad this winter.
With only three players lost to graduation, the group should be solid again. “We lost three girls to graduation but the other girls we have except for two freshmen, all have varsity experience,” Wander said.
Freshman Hunter Hediger, junior Lucas Hollenkamp, junior Austin Roach, junior Austin Davis, senior Trevor Leitshuch and sophomore Steven Reinacher are expected to be the regular rotation for the boys team.
“We have had a bit of sickness and people can’t play one night and then can play the next but the boys have been in season for about a month and they are starting to settle in,” Wander said.
As the teams begin to head into December and more matches loom after the holidays, Wander feels that the team will be productive and compete well match after match.
“I think that we’re getting into a good place with both teams,” Wander said.