TAYLOR, Mich. — De La Salle Collegiate coach Jay Lang can't be in two places at once. But on Saturday he made every effort to make sure he did his best.
His Pilots were competing at the state's Division 1 individual bowling regional at Skore Lanes, and two of his bowlers, Salvatore Aiello and Alexander Thorn, were on the cusp of making or missing the Top 10 cut for qualifying out to the state finals next week.
"The Top 10 cut line had been moving upwards for the last two games (4 and 5) and Sal knew he needed a big game to have any chance of making the Top 10, while Alex just needed to continue his consistent bowling to maintain his (Top 10) position," Lang explained. The only issue was that Sal's final game was being bowled on lanes five and six, while Alex was finishing on lanes 39 and 40."
Needless to say, Sal began to pick his game up, while at the same time Alex was struggling a bit. Both needed their coach as the frames passed on by.
"Trying to navigate the large field of bowlers and the massive crowd is no easy feat," the coach said.
But the coach did it, and despite some anxiety by both bowlers as their final games (of a six-game block) came to an end, both bowlers found a way to get it done. Aiello rolled a clutch 257 game and Thorn's 191 was good enough to help the pair finish ninth and 10th out of a field of 98 bowlers in Taylor.
Aiello and Thorn, both seniors, will be making their first trips to the individual finals, which will be held at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park next Saturday (March 7).
It was a nice bounce-back day for the pair, who saw their team finish fifth place in the team competition on Friday, ending the team's season. Aiello, who just missed qualifying last year after finishing 11th overall, bowled games of 191-229-171-163-202-257 for a total of 1,213. Thorn was one pin back at 1,212, with games of 213-172-181-253-202-191.
Collin Wilson of U-D Jesuit finished 11th with a total of 1,198.
"Getting to see the look on (Sal's and Alex's) faces when I showed them the official standings was such a great feeling for a coach, as the look of joy and relief and knowing that all their hard work paid off in their senior season is something I'll never forget."
De La Salle junior Jack Gohlke had a respectable 18th place finish, totaling 1,145 for his six-game block. His high game was 226. Senior Andrew Rusu had a high game of 206 and finished 31st at 1,086. Junior Rafe Dewar was 55th overall (991), while senior Luke Childs was 64th (973).