O’Fallon Township High School’s boys bowling team is coming off another great season.
Last year the Panthers were 10-2, won the Southwestern Conference title, won the Zach LeCuyer Invitational, placed third at the IHSA State Finals, and the team placed third at U.S. High School Bowling National Championship in June in Smyrna, Tennessee, near Nashville.
“We are excited for the season to start,” said OTHS coach Mike Imes.
The team did lose three key players to graduation — Andrew Orf, Matthew Toohey and Josh Bradshaw. Orf carried a 222 average, Toohey held a 221, and Bradshaw’s was 205. Orf and Toohey were both first team all-conference selections. Bradshaw was a third team selection. Orf and Toohey were also named to the All-Area team.
But the Panthers do have five bowlers returning that went to the state series last year. Mark Hoerner, Eli Rosenberg and Matthew Doyle are all seniors. In addition to their state tournament appearances, Hoerner and Rosenberg earned slots on the All-Southwestern Conference second team last season, in addition to being All-Area selections. Donny Richards and Josh Herran, both juniors, also went to state last year.
All five players held averages above 200 for the season — Hoerner, 214; Rosenberg, 214; Richards, 207; Doyle, 207; and Herran, 208. And their coach expects better things this year.
“All of my returning bowlers have worked over the summer and are looking forward to the new season,” Imes said.
Hayden Juenger, a senior, will be joining the team this season.
“We are going to be competitive again this season. We are excited about having the opportunity to participate in our ninth straight visit to the IHSA Boys State Finals at the end of January,” Imes said.
The junior varsity also has new faces this season, but also expects to be competitive, Imes said.
“The JV team looks really good early in the season,” he said.
The boys bowling team rolled into play yesterday with a triangle match against Belleville East and Belleville West, and will play again Saturday against Collinsville at Camelot Bowl.