Richards won its own regional on Feb.4 behind the efforts of Katie Barr (from left), Natalie Stahulak, Mia Montes, Ulyssa Garcia, Laurin Jacobs, Kylie Schaefer, Andrea Abarca, Yasmine Maali, seen here with head coach Ed Fink and assistant coach Brian Waight. The Bulldogs advanced to the Oswego East Sectional. Photo by Mike Walsh
Girls Bowling | Richards wins regional; Shepard’s Kahlen Ranson rolls to individual title
By Mike Walsh
Screaming and cheering parents and friends expressing their staunch support for their bowlers.
Teammates fervently hoping for an opportunity to advance to sectional competition next weekend.
For good measure, not one but two gender-reveal parties getting ready to begin a few lanes away.
Quite a vibrant atmosphere for a freshman bowler who is the anchor of Richards’ lineup and was competing in the postseason for the first time.
But Ulyssa Garcia isn’t a typical rookie, leading the Bulldogs to a pinfall of 5479 and the Richards Regional championship. Evergreen Park (5281) finished second, Sandburg (5260) was third and Stagg (5008) placed fourth.
All four teams advanced to the Oswego East Sectional on Saturday at Parkside Lanes in Aurora.
Kahlen Ranson (1279) of Shepard won the tournament’s individual championship. Holly Gubernat of Stagg (1229) was second.
Garcia rolled a six-game series of 1221 to finish third as an individual. Garcia had three games of 200 or better and a high game of 256 in the tournament held Feb. 4 at Arena Lanes in Oak Lawn.
“Ulyssa is something special,” Richards coach Ed Fink said. “She’s a 15-year-old freshman and she’s one of the best bowlers in the state. It’s very exciting watching her bowl.
“I didn’t know how to react to her at first. I didn’t know she was coming out for the team. I was like, ‘Who is this kid?’
“She wins tournaments and she’s a straight-A student as well. I’d love to see what she can do for us as a senior.”
For now, the right-hander will settle for guiding the Bulldogs to their first regional win under Fink’s tutelage.
“I’m pretty satisfied but I thought I could have bowled better,” Garcia said. “But we all have those days, you know?
“I’ve been bowling since I was 3 years old and my whole family bowls. It feels like I’ve been in a bowling alley every week of my life. I’m glad I picked up on that.”
“I’m really proud of them,” Fink said. “They’ve done well all year and we wanted them to stay loose and stay rolling today.
“This is the first time we’ve hosted the regional and we wanted to stay in the same routine like during the season and take the bus over here. It’s the playoffs now and these are all great teams and great bowlers. We didn’t want the girls to think this was a normal day.
“They all stepped up and did great. We have two freshman, two sophomores and a junior in our starting five. We hope to do this more often.”
The highlight for Garcia occurred in the fifth game when she rolled a 256 with strikes in the first eight frames.
“This is a huge accomplishment,” Garcia said. “This is my first year with our team as a freshman and it’s pretty good to get this far. We’re proud of all of us.”
Mia Montes (1192) of Richards finished fourth at the tourney, Charlese Banks of Sandburg (1189) placed fifth and Olivia Doran (1168) of Evergreen Park took sixth.
Regional champ Ranson began the day in impressive fashion, rolling games of 236, 245 and 238 to conclude the morning session with a total of 714. She added games of 173, 233 and 159 (565 total) in the afternoon session.
“I was definitely feeling it in the beginning a lot,” Ranson said. “I was just trying to keep it clean in the second half. My coaches and my teammates told me to relax and do what I do best.”
Ranson, who has been a two-year varsity starter for the Astros, will bowl collegiately next year at the University of St. Francis in Joliet.
But that’s in the future. For now, it’s all about winning the regional and advancing along the path downstate.
“It means a lot to me,” Ranson said. “I’ve worked very hard for all four years and the team support today really helped and my parents have taken me to lessons to get better.
“(Going to sectionals) is more special as a senior because I’ve put so much work in. Some people look down and they think I can’t do it, but I did it.”
The top 10 individuals who are not part of an advancing team will bowl sectional. Joining Ranson and Stewart are Lindora Kamalu of Brooks (1158), Arianna Jentel (1138) and Cameryn Landers (1126) of Shepard, Trinity Jones of Brooks (1117), teammates Heidi Vanderbosch (1039) and Evelyn Schutter (981) of Chicago Christian, and the Marist duo of Alexis Dunaway (1002) and Maggie McDermott (980).
Rounding out the team scores for the Richards Regional but not qualifying for sectional competition were Shepard (4740), Chicago Christian (4717), Morgan Park (4537), Brooks (4470), Marist (4379), Mother McAuley (4147), Eisenhower (4135), Agricultural Science (3970) and Chicago Washington (2813).
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