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Boys bowling: Verhaeghe second, Sycamore third at regional

DeKalb's Eberly advances as an individual

DeKALB – The Sycamore boys bowling team couldn’t repeat the win the Spartans got in the conference tournament earlier last week but still managed to place third at the Sycamore Regional to keep their season going.

“I’m happy with the performance,” Sycamore coach Aaron Williams said. “I do, though, believe we could do a lot better. We left a lot on the table today, especially in our own home.”

The Spartans hosted the regional tournament at their home bowling alley: Mardi Gras Lanes.

“We’re so used to throwing here, but we throw good wherever we go,” Sycamore sophomore Riley Runowiecki said.

Senior Austin Verhaeghe led the charge for the Spartans with a 1,381 pin total, good for a second-place individual finish.

“I felt pretty good. I felt consistent,” Verhaege said. “I made continuous shots and just kept repeating. It felt good.”

Verhaege finished nine pins behind the regional champ, Freeport freshman Ty Collalti. The Pretzels also took home the team title with 6,326 total pins, 318 more than Sycamore’s 6,008.

DeKalb finished seventh as a team with 5,517 pins, but junior Nicklaus Eberly squeaked into the top 10 for individual qualifiers, finishing eighth, to advance to the sectional despite having to change balls early in the tournament.

“My thumb started getting swollen, so I couldn’t get it in the ball,” Eberly said. “It made me throw [the ball] straighter, so I didn’t [get] strikes. I was really hoping I would make it.”

DeKalb coach Al Collins hoped his team would advance but was happy to have at least one qualifier.

“I expected us to get out of this regional as a team today, but you have to show up and bowl every game,” Collins said. “There’s a lot of competition out there on the lanes. [But] that’s a great feeling to have a player advance.”

Rochelle and Rockford Auburn rounded out the top four advancing teams.

By the numbers: For Sycamore, Runowiecki finished 12th overall with 1,217 pins. For DeKalb, Michael Rae finished 17th with 1,143 pins.

Beyond the stats: Since Mardi Gras Lanes is home to both the Spartans and Barbs, the sectional will be at the same location with DeKalb as the host instead of Sycamore. The NIB 12 tournament also was held there Thursday.

They said it: “It feels really good [to play at home], but we’ve got a lot of tough teams coming in [for sectionals]. We’ve got to be one of those tough teams,” Sycamore coach Aaron Williams said.

Up next: The sectional tournament will be at Mardi Gras Lanes at 9 a.m. Saturday.

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