With seniors Drew Escamilla and Tommy Hennessy the only returnees from the 2022 state-qualifying lineup, the Lyons Township High School boys bowling team should have had many question marks this season.
But the Lions had all the answers on Jan. 21, finishing third at the IHSA Sectional at Bowlero in Glendale Heights to qualify for the 24-team state meet for the second straight year and seventh time since 2013.
Needing a top-six finish, the Lions (6,163) averaged 205.4 pins per game.
“We were always talking about how fun state was last year and we all knew from the beginning of the season it was going to be our goal,” Hennessy said.
Escamilla’s 1,354 six-game series (225.7 average), climaxed by his highest games of 258 and 257, was seventh individually.
Senior Matt Skwarek (1,268, 211.3 average, 236 high game) was 20th, followed by Hennessy (30th, 1,231, 205.2 average, 254 high game) and senior Nick Boxell (1,116, 186.0 average, 233 high game). Senior Michael Kubick (756) bowled in four games and sophomore Danny Haley (438) and junior Cesar Izquerra bowled the final two.
“It’s not just one person. Any one of us can put up big numbers,” Escamilla said. “[We’re] just a well-rounded team. We’ve got three guys off the bench who can come in and make an impact,” Hennessy said.
Earlier in the season, on Dec. 19 at Bowlero, the Lions (6,599) achieved the highest team series in program history at the Glenbard North Invitational with Hennessy (1,454) taking first place and Escamilla (1,407) and Skwarek (1,356) also excelling.
“I’ve had a lot of good teams that I would think would have put up numbers like that. I didn’t expect it from this team, but it just shows they’re got a lot of potential,” LTHS coach Gary Morrill said. “Once again, it’s not the same person every time leading this.”
At the 2022 state meet, the Lions finished 16th (5,845) and didn’t make the cut to the second day for the top 12. Escamilla tied for 88th (1,165) and Hennessy bowled 943 for five games. Skwarek and Kubick were alternates.
These Lions hope to challenge the program’s highest state finish of ninth in 2018 (11,426).
“We’re just happy that we can go back to state again and hopefully rewrite history,” Hennessy said. “I think we’re ready and prepared.”