SPRING VALLEY — It was a season to remember for Hall High School bowlers David McManus and Kaitlyn Padgett.
McManus wrote the final chapter on his storybook high school career, starting out with the fledgling program in its first season in 2009-10. He rolled another 300 game this season while recording a sparkling six-game series of 1,554 to win the LaSalle-Peru Cavalier Classic, finishing with a season average of 219. He had a high 799 series.
Padgett turned in a stellar junior season, advancing to the IHSA State Tournament for the second time in her career. She rolled a season average of 208.
They share BCR Bowler of the Year honors.
The season did not quite finish as McManus would have liked. He finished third in the sectional at DeKalb with 1,352 pins, and was on top of the board for a chance to get an at-large bid for State, but tournament rules did not do him any favors.
“What IHSA does (for at-large state bids) is they take the last bowler to qualify for the sectional and they subtract their score from your score and whatever the difference is, the closest difference from all of the sectional participants goes to State. Essentially, I missed it by one pin,” he said. “Which wouldn’t have been a big deal to me, but, out of all the at-large bowlers I had the second-highest series. But that is beside the point.”
Regardless, McManus does not have a bad taste in his mouth about not getting in. “That’s how it is,” he said.
Regarding sectionals McManus said, “It’s the same experience every single time for me. You go there and try to lead your team to first. If you don’t succeed then you go and try to get first place yourself. That’s the experience.”
On this being his last season at Hall McManus said, “I have not really felt anything about that yet. I kind of just realized a few days ago that it was my last time bowling in high school. I’m done with that. It’s different, a different feeling.”
While McManus is not sure whether or not he is going to college to bowl, he is going to college.
“It all depends on scholarships and stuff like that,” he said.
Padgett had a total of 1,259 pins in the ladies sectional landing her a third-place finish and a trip to the state tournament. She finished 54th overall in the state tournament with a 12-game total of 2,330.
Commenting on the state tournament Padgett said, “It was not my best, but it definitely was not my worst. I definitely got gypped a bunch of times (only hitting) 10 pens. That was probably the key to the day. If I didn’t pick up my 10 pins I would not have even placed 54th. But, overall, the other girls were roughly bowling the same scores.”
“I had a couple of high games I bowled during the day between 180 and 190 or so,” she added.
Padgett, who averaged 2-8 for the season with a high series of 768, was in her second state tournament as she made it as a sophomore last year. About returning she said, “Walking into the bowling alley was 10 times better. I wasn’t as nervous as I was last year. I knew what to expect. I knew the routine,” she added.“Overall I think I bowled better than last year.”
Looking forward to next season Padgett said, “I am going to work on some things in the offseason. Things like moving around on the lanes and playing different shots. I’m working on getting rid of my wrist-brace and working on my wrist getting stronger.”
“Overall, our girls’ team did very well. We finished 10-1. That was an improvement from last year.”