Columbia’s Touchette bowls his way to state

Columbia’s Cameron Touchette stands with his team during the National Anthem at Sectionals Saturday. Touchette advanced to state as a freshman. (submitted photo)

The Columbia bowling team (10-4) had a week of excitement last week. And to add to it, Eagles bowler Cameron Touchette qualified for the IHSA State bowling competition, as one of the two advancing individuals out of the Cahokia Boys Bowling Sectionals on Saturday. The top two teams advance to state out of each Sectional competition, with the top two individuals not on those teams advancing as well.

Touchette is the first freshman to ever advance as an individual for the Eagles. He bowled total of 1,429 (206, 225, 279, 236, 235, 248), four pins away from placing first overall. According to IHSA records, in 2002-03 Billy Braun went to state as a freshman for Columbia but advanced with the team.

Eagles coach Kevin Nowak said Touchette kept his composure while bowling on Saturday. “As the day went on he was getting into it,” Nowak said.

As a team, Columbia placed fifth in the Cahokia Sectional with bigger schools Belleville East and O’Fallon taking first and second to advance to the State tournament.

“It was exciting. It was a good day because we were challenged all day,” Nowak said, explaining that Columbia was in 10th place after the first two games of the six game competition but jumped up to sixth in the middle of the day.

“That’s a good placement,” Nowak said. “The highest since I’ve been there for the boys.”

Other Columbia game highs include: Blake Meyer (257), Jared Schmidt (255) and Reid Glaenzer (242).

Touchette will compete in the state tournament Friday and Saturday at St. Clair Bowl in Fairview Heights.

In other boys bowling news…

Waterloo (15-1) and Gibault (3-10) competed in the Mt. Vernon Sectionals Saturday.

Waterloo, coming off its first loss of the season last Wednesday, was crowned the Mississippi Valley Conference champion at the close of the regular season before heading to Sectionals this past weekend.

Waterloo took fourth place and Gibaut came in 10th out of 13 teams. Salem and Centralia took the top two spots in the Mt. Vernon Sectional.

“This weekend at boys sectionals, in Mt. Vernon, was a little below average for the team,” Bulldog coach Matt Beck said. “Although we aver- aged 192 per bowler each game, it wasn’t enough to advance to the state tournament. The top two teams averaged at least 200 per bowler each game.”

Beck explained that Troy Aldridge was leading the way for the Bulldogs most of the day, averaging 200 through the first five games. In the last game of the match, Michael McGarry passed Aldridge up, by bowling a 244. McGarry and Aldridge were both potential at-large bowlers, but neither advanced to state.

There are a handful of potential at-large bowlers picked from each sectional aside from the two automatically advancing individuals. Those bowlers are then all put in the same pool and the top at-large bowlers from across the state advance.

“Overall, we did well, but I know that we could have done better,” Beck said.

For Gibault, this past weekend was a learning experience.

“This was the first year for everyone on the team to bowl in the Sectionals,” Hawks coach Tom Fanara told the Republic-Times. “Fortunately, there were only two seniors on the team this year, so we will have several of the bowlers returning next year with this experience under their belt.”

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