Boys Bowling: Romeoville’s next step? A state title
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media November 4, 2012 4:12PM
Leading Romeoville this season on the lanes will be junior Stephen Vaughn (from left), senior Corey Minchuk, senior Brandon Talley and Kyle Zaremba. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
TOP AREA TEAMS
Romeoville: Once a doormat, Spartans have become a perennial state contender.
Lincoln-Way East: The Griffins made a surprising run to state last season with four juniors among their top five bowlers. East will be looking for more consistency this season.
Plainfield Central: The Wildcats have finished eighth in the state two straight seasons and have the potential to improve on that this season with Bryan Blair, Charlie Rife and Ray Ciangiola returning.
Minooka: The Indians are hungry after falling just 19 pins shy of claiming the state-qualifying spot earned by Romeoville last season. Zach Segatto, Nick Beeler and Justin Shepard are returning starters.
Lockport: The defending SouthWest Suburban Blue champion Porters can never be overlooked. Senior Brian Hodolitz took third in the conference meet last season.
(in alphabetical order)
Bryan Blair, sr., Plainfield Central: A quarterback on the Wildcats’ football team, Blair (36th in state last season) also is adept at throwing a ball underhanded.
Zack Berndl, jr., Plainfield North: Berndl set a school record with a 1,376 six-game series last season.
Eric Kramer, jr., Bolingbrook: The Raiders’ only returning starter will be counted on to lead a young team.
Brandon Nathan, sr., Lincoln-Way East: In 2011-12, Nathan peaked in the postseason, culminating in a 25th-place finish at state.
Zach Segatto, jr., Minooka: Segatto, who finished 30th at state last season, is one of the state’s top juniors.
Brandon Lisak-Talley, sr., Romeoville: The coach’s son will be looked to as the Spartans’ veteran leader.
Dakota Vostry, jr., Romeoville: Vostry is determined to lead the Spartans to the team state title.
Eric Wood, sr., Joliet West: Wood is the top returner from a Tigers team that went 8-2 in SouthWest Suburban Blue dual meets last season.
Updated: December 6, 2012 6:10AM
After taking ninth in the team’s first appearance at the state boys bowling tournament in the 2010-11 season, Romeoville improved four spots to fifth last season.
The Spartans have their sights set on moving up four spots again this season, which would mean bringing home the school’s first team state title in any sport.
“We’re moving up and getting better and better every year,” Romeoville junior Dakota Vostry said. “State will be a lot of fun this year. As long as we can, hopefully, make it back, I think we can get first this time.”
Vostry will be looking to lead the way. After his 59th-place finish in the state meet as a freshman put him among the top ninth-graders in the state, he improved to 31st last season.
“Dakota was named in Bowler’s Journal magazine’s top 100 prospects in the country,” Romeoville coach Tony Talley said. “He’ll be our stud. We’re leaning on him.”
Talley also will be counting on his son, senior Brandon Lisak-Talley, for leadership.
“I know I have to take on a vocal role this year,” Lisak-Talley said. “I know I’m the person who can step up as a senior and be a leader. I’m excited for this season. I can’t wait. I think we have a good chance at winning the title.”
Lisak-Talley knows, perhaps better than anyone else on the team, how special it is for Romeoville, long a cellar dweller in the Southwest Prairie Conference, to talk about the potential of winning state titles.
“My dad used to coach at Plainfield South and he used to make fun of Romeoville,” Lisak-Talley said. “Now he tells us we’re no longer the doormat. We have done that for the program and that feels good.”
The Spartans will try to overcome the graduation of Corey McReady, who made a surprising run to an 11th-place finish at last year’s state meet, and Will Thompson.
Talley thinks the talent is there to do it. Senior Jacob Young and junior Kyle Zaremba join Vostry and Lisak-Talley as bowlers with two years experience bowling at the state meet.
“That experience definitely helps,” Talley said. “I really feel that if we can make it back — and we know we’ll have to go through the toughest sectional in the state to get there — we’ve got a shot.”
Talley is looking for someone to fill the fifth spot in the lineup, with Steve Vaughn, Corey Minchuk and Cody Surgess among the contenders.
“We need one player to step up,” Talley said. “We’re just missing that one piece of the puzzle.”
Vostry said the key for the team will be fundamentals.
“We can strike any time we want to,” he said. “We’re great at striking. Spares are going to be the huge thing. We’ve got to pick up our spares.”
The Spartans hope they can win a state title, in part, for their coach, who says he “bleeds blue and orange.”
“We’re not as passionate as him, but I hope we get as passionate,” Vostry said. “He gets really fired up. He gets emotional. He fires us up.”