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Oregon senior now healthy, helps Hawks roll past Dukes at Plum Hollow

Strite finding his stride at right time

DIXON – Oregon capped off a perfect season in duals at Plum Hollow on Thursday with a 3,573-3,063 win over the Dukes.

The Hawks finish the dual season 18-0, their first perfect season since 2015-16, when both boys and girls teams went undefeated.

“I was more focused on our conference, getting that done, but it’s still pretty nice, I guess,” Austin Strite said.

The latest invincible group of Hawks capped off that mark with a win at Plum Hollow, with Strite leading the way with a 752 series.

Battling illness recently and bowling in just his second meet back at full strength, he started off strong with strikes in his first four frames of his first game, followed by a spare, then three more strikes. His 246 first game was followed by a 238 in the second and a 268 in the third.

His third game opened with three straight strikes, followed by back-to-back spares, then five strikes in a row.

Strite had to pull out of a meet after one game last week due to illness, but rested up and made it back to bowl Tuesday at LaSalle-Peru with a 698 series.

“It’s good to see that coming into regionals, to be back to somewhat normal,” he said. “It was basically the same today, just back to normal routine.”

Trevor White led Dixon with a 553 series, which included a second game of 201. He kept that going early in the third game, opening with back-to-back strikes followed by a spare, then another strike. He finished that game with a 193.

As a team, the Dukes opened the dual with a 957 in their first games to trail by 258 pins. Dixon’s best games were the second, rolling a 1,106 as a team, but Oregon was still able to build its lead by rolling a 1,164.

“[It was] just a tough day out on the lanes,” Dixon coach Chad Bahr said. “It seemed like they were a little distracted with it being Senior Night, maybe their heads were somewhere else. Kind of a big change from when we got third last weekend. Hopefully we can get back to that for regionals on Saturday.”

Dixon’s Tyler VanQuathem had games of 180 and 220 sandwiched around a second-game 143 to finish with a 543 series.

“The lanes were pretty slick, but that’s how Plum Hollow usually is,” he said. “What I was doing was at first trying to throw a more inside line. As the games went on, I decided to go with a little wider shot and snap in since the oil was pushing down.”

Tyler Yocum rolled a 533 series, which included a 225 second game. Jacob Wickert added a 503 series. He left pins standing in each of his first three frames of the second game to record a 27 for those frames, then bounced back with strikes on the next four frames and a 170 in that game.

Jon Rivera’s back-to-back-to-back strikes to open the second game put him on the path to a 184 in that game and a 498 series. Kade Fulton rolled a 433 series.

Dixon closed out the dual portion of its schedule with what Bahr hopes will be an eye-opening chance to see a powerful team like Oregon up close.

“Any time you go to a tournament, you want to be on the same set of lanes as a team like that because you want to bowl up to your competition,” Bahr said. “You want to see what it takes. You want to see how other good bowlers are bowling. It is good for our kids to see that even if they’re having trouble with the lanes, there are other guys who are out here doing very well.”

The Hawks got a 638 series from Justin Poole, who had six strikes and four spare in the second game for a 234. He followed that with a 213 in the third game after being able to adjust to the lane conditions.

“I just had to move right the whole time,” he said. “I had to make sure to keep my hand around the ball, make sure not to come over the top of it.”

Jacob Smith had a 596 series, which included a 212 first game and a 223 third game. Eddie Buttens had a 547 series. Kyle Strite rolled a 524 series, and Isaac Kaltenbrun rolled a 516.

As a team, the Hawks averaged 198.5 per game, just shy of the 200 average Austin Strite said he is hoping to see from the team at Saturday’s regional.

“[We’ve] still got a lot of work to do,” Oregon coach Eric Carlson said. “[Today] hopefully we’ll square everything up at our practice over at Freeport, but all in all, they’re set up pretty good right now.”

Boys bowling

Oregon 3,573, Dixon 3,063

Star of the match: Austin Strite, Oregon, 752 series.

Key performers: Justin Poole, Oregon, 638 series; Jacob Smith, Oregon, 596 series; Trevor White, Dixon, 553 series; Tyler VanQuathem, Dixon, 543 series.

Up next: Regionals at Four Seasons Bowling Center, Freeport, Saturday

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