BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
The O’Fallon Township High School Bowling Program has long been established as a perennial contender in the Southwestern Conference, but they know that hanging a banner inside the Panther Dome requires excellence when it matters most.
The Panthers got their latest championship push under way in Friday’s contest against Collinsville, collecting a big 27-13 win over the Kahoks at Camelot Bowl.
Eli Rosenberg led the way for the Blue and Gold, rolling a 683 series. Senior Josh Bradshaw and junior Mark Hoerner each contributed 648 efforts.
Senior Andrew Orf added a 631 afternoon to help power O’Fallon to a much-needed win ahead of the looming playoff stretch.
Collinsville’s Clay Hartman provided the highest Kahok total of the day with his 666 series, followed by Ryan Warner’s 602 and John Misiewicz’ 608.
“This is a great way to start the new year for our guys,” Head Coach Mike Imes said. “It keeps us in a great spot to fight with East for the conference crown.”
The JV team suffered just its second loss of the season, dropping the contest to the Kahoks in heartbreaking 4-3 fashion.
OTHS lost games one and two but won the final game and the final pin count, salvaging three points from the meet.
Both O’Fallon and Belleville East are tied for the Southwestern Conference lead with a pair of losses apiece.
The Panthers have three matches in the coming week ahead of the IHSA Boys Regional at Belleville’s Bel-Air Bowl. Top qualifiers from the regional will advance to the IHSA Sectional.
The Panther Girls marched into their contest in Collinsville with a little more remaining schedule then their boy counterparts, but Head Coach Garrett Spencer’s charges were not without a sense of urgency.
OTHS won games one and two in addition to the final pin count en route to a 26-14 win.
Natalie Heltne led all bowlers on the week, using a 279 game to pace a 728 series, 38 pins ahead of Collinsville’s Madi Juenger’s 695.
“We have high hopes of finishing the season strong,” Imes told the Weekly. “We’re looking forward to heading into the regional on a positive note.”