Stagg senior Arianna Araujo, who did not qualify as an individual for the IHSA state tournament, nonetheless won the state title on Feb. 17. Photo by Randy Whalen

Stagg senior Arianna Araujo, who did not qualify as an individual for the IHSA state tournament, nonetheless won the state title on Feb. 17. Photo by Randy Whalen

Girls Bowling State Finals | Stagg’s Arianna Araujo rolls to title

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By Randy Whalen
Correspondent

Prior to the start of the IHSA girls bowling postseason, Stagg senior Arianna Araujo made a statement to her coach.

“She told me that she was going to win state,” Chargers coach Rich Kowalczyk said. “I was like, ‘Let’s get through the regional first.’ But she had that much confidence in herself and it was awesome to watch.”

Araujo’s postseason may not have progressed exactly as scripted, but her prediction nonetheless turned out to be prophetic. At the IHSA state finals, held Feb. 16-17 at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford, Araujo rolled a 12-game total of 2,634 pins and at the end stood alone atop the standings as state champion.

“I felt that confidence,” Araujo said of what she told Kowalczyk. “I think putting it out in the world is something that I needed to do. That gave me a lot of confidence.”

Richmond-Burton senior Gina Scichowski (2,597) finished runner-up and Prospect senior Kaitlyn Ruszczak (2,588) placed third.

Araujo is the first Stagg bowler, male or female, to win an individual state title. She is the first Chargers athlete to win a state championship since wrestler Kevin Moylan won the Class 3A 145-pound title in 2012.

Her run to glory did not go as she may have scripted it. After placing first at Oak Lawn Regional she finished outside the top six in the individual standings at the Palos Hills Sectional — and thus did not qualify for the state tournament.

Fortunately, the Chargers qualified as a team for the third consecutive season, keeping her dream intact. Stagg finished in 16th place at state with 5,328 pins.

Joliet West won the team title with 12,223 pins.

Stagg senior Holly Gubernat finished 63rd overall (2,230) and had a high game of 213.

Araujo rolled a 702 over three games, including a high game of 266 — in the morning session on Day 2 of the state finals, but she had a setback with a 160 to kick off the afternoon session. She finished with a 210 and 234 to top Scichowski by 37 pins.

“I knew dwelling on it wasn’t going to help me,” Araujo said of the 160 game. “I knew that I put in a lot of work and had to persevere to get through it.

“Bowling is something I know how to do and I put in a lot of practice. But to get here three years in a row means a lot to us as a team. Getting to state is something we had to fight for and we had a positive mindset.”

 

The Others
Richards had a late charge on Day 1 and finished with 999, but in 13th place and 10 pins short of advancing to Day 2.

“It wasn’t the outcome we wanted,” Bulldogs coach Ed Fink said. “But getting here was fun for the girls and we’re still young.”

Richards sophomore Ulyssa Garcia made her second straight appearance at state and advanced to the second day as an individual. She flirted with making the top 12 and getting a medal, but a right-hand injury sustained during Day 1 derailed her efforts. She finished in 30th place with 2,392 pins and had a high game of 267.

“It’s better going as a team,” Garcia said. “I spent a lot of time with them and now we just have to practice and work harder for next year.”

Morton (4,755) was 24th as a team.

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