By Bob Balgemann


Belvidere and Belvidere North’s boys’ and girls’ bowling teams combined for a 3-1 record against Rockford Jefferson and Boylan Catholic on Tuesday, Nov. 29, on opening day in the NIC-10.

At the end of that day, Blue Thunder’s Garrett Nelson, a senior and returning state qualifier, sat atop individual performances from the 10 teams with his 279 single game. His three-game 731 series was three pins behind the day’s leader, Nick Sommer of Hononegah.

Sophomore Justin Bragg had the second best performance for North, averaging 208 over three games. His 625 series included a 217 high single game. Another varsity veteran, Javier Martinez, turned in a 206 average, a 619 series, and a high game of 238.

The rest of the Blue Thunder lineup included senior Jose Gonzalez, a junior varsity performer last year, who averaged 180 per game. He turned in a 540 series and high 194 single game.

Senior Alex Schauer had a 170 average, a 510 series, and a 203 high game. His 256 single game and 633 series ranked second among all junior varsity bowlers last year.

Another senior, Max Rukhaberlen, rounded out the starting six with a 158 average to go with a 475 series and a 220 high game.

Team-wise, Blue Thunder took all three games from the J-Hawks, starting with a 1,247-1,103 victory. For the day, North amassed 3,500 pins to 3,304 for Jefferson.

Sophomore Kevin Jenks and seniors Joe Gallagher and Brock Irwin led Belvidere in a narrow 3,356-3,340 loss to Boylan Catholic. The Bucs won two of three games, but the Titans rang up a 61-pin advantage in their opening win to provide the 16-pin difference.

Games two and three went to Belvidere, 1,133-1,126 and 1,171-1,133.

Jenks averaged 201 per game against Boylan with a 603 series and high 222 single game. Gallagher’s 238 was Belvidere’s high game of the match. He averaged 200 and had a 601 series.

Irwin was close behind with a 197 average, a 227 high game, and a 592 series.

Junior Anthony Gutierrez chipped in a 182 average, a 214 high game, and a 548 series. Another junior, Ben Deardorff, averaged 182 per game with a 195 high game, and a 533 series.

Newcomer Greg Suthers had a high game of 176 and a 463 series, while averaging 154 per game.

Girls sweep opponents

Girls’ teams at Belvidere and Belvidere North built on last year’s 7-2 records, which were good enough to create a tie for second in the conference. In a pair of one-sided victories, the Lady Blue Thunder rolled past Jefferson, 3,356-2,867, while the Lady Bucs romped over Boylan, 2,950-2,325.

North featured a balanced attack led by freshman newcomer Rachel Nelson’s 599 series, 222 single game, and 199 average per game. Veteran Brynn Lambrecht, a junior, was close behind with a 198 average, 594 series, and 215 high game.

Senior Alexis Bendorf, a regular last year, chipped in a 193 average, 204 high game, and a 580 series.

Other contributions came from senior Sidney Baird, who averaged 180 per game and had a 213 high game and 540 series; junior Kylie Johnson, 537 series, 189 high game, and a 179 average; and sophomore Camile Spencer, 506 series, 168 average, and 175 high game.

Team-wise, North’s 1,158 single game and 3,356 series ranked third among the five matches on opening day.

Belvidere was led by junior Hailey Carter who turned in a 610 series, averaging 203 per game with a team-best high game of 213. She was followed by junior Hannah Lowery’s 171 average, 188 high game, and 513 series.

Another veteran from last year’s varsity, sophomore Alexis Sherman, kicked in a 490 series with a 163 average, and high game of 176. Junior Holley Steelberg, who bowled in all 27 varsity conference games last season, had a 487 series, a 162 average, and 172 high game.

Newcomer Hannah Whidby, who led the 2015-16 junior varsity team, rolled a 444 series to go with a 148 average and 177 high game. Another up from the junior varsity team, Elyce Turnipseed, averaged 135 with a 406 series and high game of 163.

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