Glenbard East Athletic Director D'Wayne Bates, a former Chicago Bears wide receiver, presents a medal to Shepard's Kahlen Ranson at the state bowling meet on Feb. 18. Ranson placed fifth at the tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva
Girls Bowling State Finals | Shepard’s Kahlen Ranson rolls to fifth at Cherry Bowl
By Randy Whalen
While most competitors at the IHSA girls bowling state finals had practice time on the lanes the day before the tournament started, Kahlen Ranson did not.
That worked out just fine for the Shepard senior.
Ranson polished off her high school career by rolling a two-day total of 2562 to place fifth in state at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford. The fifth-place finish was the best ever for an Astros girl bowler.
Ranson rolled an even 1300, with a high game of 244, on the tournament’s first day Feb. 17. She followed that with a 1262 on the second day, with a high game of 238.
She finished 201 pins behind the individual champion, St. Charles East senior Lida Burgos.
Ranson did not practice at The Cherry Bowl on Feb. 16 because she was at a certified nursing assistant program at Moraine Valley Community College.
“But I knew I was fine,” she said. “I was here with the team last year. I didn’t bowl the greatest then, but I just had to trust in myself.”
Her total this season was more than 400 pins better than her performance at state last season (2142), when the Astros placed ninth.
Ranson, who will continue her bowling career at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, said finishing fifth at state was an emotional experience.
“I’m really proud of myself, and in my last game I was looking back at all the progress I made the past two years,” she said.
Richards freshman Ulyssa Garcia will be looking to make progress over the next three years. She made it to the second day and placed 31st overall with a total of 2346.
“I was nervous, but my mindset was to do well on my spares and I did that,” Garcia said. “I was pretty happy to be here, and I just want to keep my mindset up at all times next season.”
Garcia had an 1153 score, with a high of 257, on the first day. She had a high game of 235 on the second day.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of her,” Richards coach Ed Fink said. “She got to see what it’s like here. The future is bright for Richards bowling with all five starters back for next season.”
In this season’s Oswego East Sectional, Richards was edged by Stagg in a historic two-frame roll-off to see which of the two teams would qualify in the fourth spot for state.
But at the state finals, Stagg did not advance past the first day. The Chargers placed 12th in 2022.
“Getting back to state means the world to our program,” Stagg coach Rich Kowalczyk said. “We were able to return after losing some key pieces from last year’s team. Next year we will have a battle-tested roster with a ton of talent and state experience.”
Stagg junior Holly Gubernat advanced to the second day as an individual and tied for 59th overall with a 2211, which included a high of 222 on the first day. Stagg only graduates two seniors, Michelle Martinez, and Hannah Radosevic.
“We were excited to see Holly advance to Day 2,” Kowalczyk said. “She now has two years of state experience under her belt. Nothing rattles Holly. She can bowl in the most pressure-packed situations and always bowl at her best. She truly loves bowling and gets better every day. Some college program is going to be lucky to get her.”
Lockport rallied in the final game to capture its third straight state title and seventh overall. The Porters (11975) edged Joliet West (11942) in a battle that came down to the final frame. Harlem (11,878) took home its state record 13th trophy with a third-place finish. Andrew (11,736) had its best finish since winning the state title in 2012, and Oswego (11,633) was fifth.
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