MOUNT VERNON – Alton's boys bowling team and Roxana's Christian Bertoletti have advanced to next weekend's IHSA Boys Bowling Championship at St. Clair Bowl in O'Fallon.

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The Redbirds finished sixth in Saturday's IHSA Mount Vernon Sectional at NuBowl Lanes to move into the state tournament, which takes place next Friday and Saturday; the Redbirds were led Derek Henderson, who had a total pinfall of 1,346 in his six-game set Saturday; he was followed by Justin Milliman (1,253) and Gavin Taylor (1,110) among Redbirds who rolled all six games on the day.

The Alton High varsity bowling team consists of Jeremy Grover, Grant Stricklar, Jared Cochran, Justin Milliman, Carl Crumer III, Matt Engdale, Derek Henderson, Gavin Taylor, Trevor Vallow and Chris Duke. Coaches are Brian Stawar, assistant coach, and Dave Meyer, head coach. The boys and coaches are pictured above.

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“The boys bowled well in the morning finishing for lunch in sixth place, just making the cut," Coach Meyer said on Saturday. "Alton had a bad fourth game bowling a 914, moving them to eighth place. The fifth game the boys came back better with a 960 this moved them into seventh place. Brian Stawar and myself had a talk with the boys letting them know that they were 100 pins out of state qualification. The boys stepped up with Derek (259) Trevor (224) and Chris (204) for a 1017 game pushing them past Highland.”

O'Fallon won the team championship with a total pinfall of 6,480, followed by Collinsville (6,159), Belleville East (6,147), Columbia (6,088), Freeburg (6,001) and the Redbirds (5,991); the top six teams advanced to the state tournament. Highland (5,984) just missed the cut with a seventh-place finish; they were followed in the 16-team field by Herrin (5,865), Roxana (5,801), Centralia (5,747), Abdington-Avon (5,722), Marion (5,698), the host Rams (5,679), Triad (5,459), Anna-Jonesboro (5,426) and Jersey (5,130).

Bertoletti was the only area individual to advance to state with a total of 1,336, finishing second among individual bowlers on non-qualifying teams to state; the top seven bowlers from non-qualifying teams advanced. Freeburg's Tyler Hunter won the individual title with a total pinfall of 1,416 on the day.

Play at the state tournament begins at 9 a.m. Friday for the 24 teams and 30 individuals who have advanced to state; following Friday's first day, the field will be cut to the top 12 teams and top 30 individuals from teams not making the cut for Saturday's second day. Play begins at 9 a.m. Saturday for the final two rounds of the tournament.

The boys will practice Monday thru Wednesday at Bowl Haven in Alton Thursday at St. Clair Bowl and begin the state tournament Friday morning at St Clair Bowl.

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