CARPENTERSVILLE — For Huntley’s Amy Antczak, placing first was more of an afterthought as she spent Monday night making some new bowling friends.
Antczak – the Red Raiders’ top bowler – had a total score of 1,696 pins, which was good for first place at the Fox Valley Conference Bowling Kickoff Tournament hosted by Dundee-Crown at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville.
But scores had little to do with the tournament that had all of the FVC teams in attendance.
“It is really just a way for all of the bowlers to get to know one another,” D-C coach Dave Mensching said. “During the season the girls tend to just talk amongst teammates, and this gives them a chance to branch out a bit and meet some players on different teams.”
The tournament is in its second year and offers a nontraditional take on bowling.
Each lane is played on by four or five bowlers from different teams. Each bowler rolls one ball, then the next person in the lane will roll the next, trying to pick up the spare. If a strike is bowled, the next bowler begins the next frame.
Each bowler gets one ball then goes to the back of the line. The process repeats itself until 10 frames are bowled. After the game, each bowler heads to a different lane accompanied by different bowlers. Ten games were bowled Monday, and the total scores were tallied.
“As a coach you just have to step back and watch,” Mensching said. “Because you only bowl one ball at a time, there isn’t much to work with from a coaching standpoint, but this is really more about the experience of interacting with other teams.”
Johnsburg coach JR Wright looked at it as a fun moment in a sport that can be intense at times.
“It’s basically like playing the lottery,” Wright said of the final scores. “You could get paired up with some great players on one lane, then the next [might] not bowl so well.”
Huntley’s Antczak, who is regarded as one of the area’s best bowlers by the coaches in attendance, found a way to win, though. Sometimes things have a way of working themselves out.
“It is a ton of fun,” the senior said. “It is a different tournament for sure, but it’s great meeting all of the other girls out there and making some new friends. It was actually pretty surprising to win because you only have one ball at a time, but we had some good games out there.”
Antczak, Zoe Carrie of Jacobs, Ashley Sonneberger of Dundee-Crown, Kaitlyn Straulin of Johnsburg and Lainey Kruse of McHnery combined for a tournament-best 223 in the eighth game of the night and drew cheers from those in attendance.
Antczak also was a part of the only other 200 game of the evening when her lane bowled a 209 during the fourth game.
“It’ll be nice when the meets against [FVC teams] start,” Antczak said. Huntley lost to Marengo Nov. 19 in its first meet of the season. “Conference play is always a good time.”