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Young junior Livio Bolzon (right) became just the third Public League bowler to win a medal when he finished fourth at 2,756 (229.7 average). | Courtesy of Livio Patterson
The only thing better than winning one state championship medal is winning two of them.
That’s what Lockport senior Shane Matejcek did Saturday at the boys bowling state finals at St. Clair Bowl in O’Fallon.
Matejcek cruised to the individual championship with a two-day total of 2,924 (243.7 average), the second-highest score in state finals history, and also helped the Porters win their first team championship. He missed the state finals record, set by Salem’s Alex Henseler in 2008, by 39 pins.
“We’re still excited,” Matejcek said. “It’s just hitting us right now that we’re the state champs, the first in Lockport boys bowling history. “I’m glad to be a part of this team. We’re like a band of brothers. We’ve had the best season of my career and to share it with these guys is great.”
Matejcek’s championship was the third won by Lockport in the past four years - Kyle Anderson won in 2010 and 2011 – but the first accompanied by team success.
The Porters, who were second in 2009, started the day in third place, 66 pins behind Minooka, but moved up thanks to their consistency, which saw them shoot 6,422 on Friday and 6,424 on Saturday. Their 12,846 pinfall (214.1 average) was 74 better than O’Fallon and 308 more than Salem, which edged Minooka by one pin for third place.
“It was a great day,” Lockport coach Jeff Wyatt said. “It’s awesome. This group of kids deserves it and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids to win it with.
“They never gave up. There were a couple times where I had my doubts when we were struggling today, but they just said, ‘don’t worry, we’re going to get it done.’”
Lockport’s all-senior crew placed four bowlers in the top 60 as Brian Hodolitz was 17th (2,601), Alex Wilmsen 39th (2,529) and David Wysocki 60th (2,465). But it was Matejcek who led the way throughout, taking a 37-pin lead after Friday’s action and extending it on Saturday.
Matejcek’s lowest score was a 214 and he finished with a 742 series in the afternoon, including games of 257 and 264, to defeat Salem senior Dylan Plahm by 105 pins.
“I just made sure I made good shots and stayed focused and if I left something I picked up my spares,” Matejcek said. “I think I had only three or four open frames today.
“He’s another kid who put a lot of time and effort into his game and it’s paid off for him,” Wyatt said. “It’s just a great feeling to watch him go out on top and show what hard work and determination can do.”
Wyatt wasn’t the only one feeling great. Young junior Livio Bolzon became just the third Public League bowler to win a medal when he finished fourth at 2,756 (229.7 average). Only Morgan Park’s Willie Jubiter, who was third with 2,791 in 2006, has finished higher or scored more than Bolzon among CPS bowlers.
“I’m so giddy,” Young coach Javier Perez said. “It’s like going to prom. It’s an honor to be able to coach him. It’s a huge accomplishment for CPS.”
Bolzon was making his third state finals appearance. Each time he has made the second day, taking 16th as a freshman and 54th last year despite battling food poisoning.
This time Bolzon stayed in the top 10 throughout, finishing 10th on Friday and steadily moving up on Saturday. In the fourth game, Bolzon rolled a 279, his postseason career high, and finished 19 pins behind O’Fallon junior Billy Goodman, who was third, and 168 behind Matejcek.
“It means a lot,” Bolzon said. “I’m really happy to do that for CPS. My school, we’ve never done anything bowling-wise, so I really pleased to help with that.
“I didn’t leave the top 10 at all. My goal was to keep moving up and try for first. The Lockport kid crushed it, [his performance] was amazing, so I can’t complain.”
Two other local bowlers matched Bolzon’s feat of becoming their school’s first medalists. as Lincoln-Way West junior Josh Glover took fifth with 2,712 and Marist senior Pete Switalski tied for 11th at 2,623.
Minooka, which was edged 12,538 to 12,537 by Salem for the third-place trophy, still turned in its highest finish behind sophomore Dylan Pickett (2,576), juniors Zach Segatto (2,551) and John Kauffman (2,545) and senior Justin Sheaprd (2,493). Oak Lawn capped its best season ever by capturing fifth (12,844), with sophomore Ryan Kirby taking 13th (2,615), while defending champion Andrew finished eighth (12,416) and Lake Park 11th (12,052).