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Girls bowling: Oswego East’s Giselle Poss wins state title

Updated: March 11, 2013 6:59AM

ROCKFORD — Oswego East bowler Giselle Poss could barely see after enduring a blinding array of camera flashes following the awards ceremony at the state finals Saturday.

That’s what happens when you win an historic state championship.

Poss overcame a 36-pin deficit heading into the final game and beat Rockford Jefferson senior Emily Malone by 28 pins to capture the individual title at Cherry Bowl Lanes. Poss, a senior who will bowl at Vanderbilt, is the first bowler and just the second athlete in Oswego East history to win a state championship.

“It feels pretty good,” Poss said. “I wanted to win and I just really have to thank my team and our coaches and our fans and my parents. They all contributed.”

Poss, who was 11th last season, finished with a two-day total of 2,727 pins (227.3 average), the sixth-highest total in the 41-year history of the state finals. She capped her performance by firing a 226 while Malone, who was bowling in her home house, rolled a 162.

“I knew I was down 36 pins going into that last game and I just really had to make a big push, so I did whatever I had to do and the other girl did shoot (162), so that was good for me,” Poss said. “It’s a great way to end.”

That end came too soon for Oswego East coach Jeremy Hillman, who said he will miss his two-time captain and three-time state qualifier.

“If she wouldn’t have gotten it I would have felt that she would have gotten an injustice done to her throughout all of her four years that she’s been bowling for me,” Hillman said. “She is an unbelievable athlete, a great student and she’s somebody who is the definition of a hard worker and great a teammate.

“It’s going to hurt losing her, not so much as her bowling but just her leadership and her personality, the type of teammate that she is.”

There was more than just individual glory for Poss as she led Oswego East to second place in the team standings, tying the highest finish in school history.

Waubonsie Valley won its first state championship with 12,512 pins (208.5 average), the second-best team score in state history. The Warriors, who were third last year, were in fourth place with two games to go but rolled an 1,141 in the penultimate game to take the lead before closing with a 1,063 to beat Oswego East by 226 pins.

“It’s great because last year we were so close, so finally getting there is amazing,” Waubonsie Valley junior Julia Bond said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Bond paced the Warriors by finishing fourth (2,634), while junior Sara Barsotti placed seventh (2,608), junior Rachael Felton was 24th (2,482), senior Charley Barbary was 30th (2,451) and senior Marianna Guerrieri took 52nd (2,337).

“It takes five horses to do this,” Waubonsie Valley coach Marty Miller said. “I’m so proud of them.

“This is my fourth year as coach. We had to change the culture. We did that. I just put more emphasis on bowling techniques and trying to get girls to bowl in college. We made that culture change and boy, we’re having fun now.”

The 1-2 finish by the Warriors and Wolves wasn’t unexpected but was a fitting end to a great year by both local rivals. The Warriors edged the Wolves by 52 pins for third place at last year’s state meet before the Wolves beat the Warriors by the same amount at last week’s sectional.

“The rivalry that we have with Oswego East is probably one of the best ones you can have because we’re both such great teams that are always going at it, and we keep pushing each other to be the best at what we do,” Bond said. “So the fact that we’re one-up on them again, it’s good for us and unfortunate for them because they probably want to win, but it’s nice rivalry.”

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