For Evergreen Park’s Sarah Klawitter, the key to a good tournament is a fast start.
“Usually when you feel good in the first game, you feel good the rest of the way,” she said.
Monday, Klawitter opened the Eisenhower Invitational with eight straight strikes. She finished with a 275 in the opener and was well on her way to the individual title, totaling 672 pins over three games to top Lemont’s Kyra Udziela by 65 pins.
Udziela led the Indians (2,625) to the team title by 52 pins over Peotone in the 24-team event at Burr Oak Bowl in Blue Island.
For Klawitter, the only negative of the night was not finishing off the perfect game in the opener.
“I wanted the 300 so bad,” she said. “(In the ninth frame), the ball just fell out of my hand. It was heartbreaking. I knew it was going to be a good night, though. I felt good right from the start.”
Udziela also started fast, piling up seven straight strikes in the first game and finishing with a 256. She sparked the Indians to a tournament-best 924 in the opener. Lemont went straight to the top of the standings and never relinquished the lead.
“It was great to put up a big score like that right off the bat,” Lemont coach Mark Hollatz said. “The good thing is a lot of the teams in this tournament have beaten us in the past. A lot of them are in our regional (Saturday’s Sandburg Regional). We’re hoping this is another springboard for us.”
Kyla Owens (605) finished third and Alex Wyatt (534) 16th for the Indians, who won their second straight tournament after capturing the South Suburban Blue title Saturday.
“There’s always that little seed of doubt that you have,” Udziela said. “I think between conference and this, we’re going into regionals confident that we can do some good things.”
Klawitter and the Mustangs (2,538) – who finished fourth, seven pins behind third-place Tinley Park – also hope to take momentum into Saturday’s Brooks Regional.
“It makes you feel good when you do well in a tournament,” Klawitter said. “Once you have one good set, it usually carries over. Our team’s come a long way this season.”
Lincoln-Way North (2,494) was fifth.
Peotone’s Valerie Klootwyk (588), Shepard’s Miranda Lindgren (585), Joliet Central’s Haley Magruder (570), Evergreen Park’s Elan Page (567), Romeoville’s Kaitlyn Maquera (565), Tinley Park’s Sonya Addison (562), Argo’s Savoy Powell (555) and Bremen’s Nicki Adekahunsi (555) rounded out the individual top 10.