Today, Champaign Holy Cross will make school history by sending its five-member girls’ bowling team to state in Joliet.
The impressive feat is made more remarkable considering there was no team to speak of a few months ago. In January, parent Nate Oliveira — a 30-year bowler — approached administrators and asked, “Can we look into starting a team?” he said. ”I wasn’t thinking it’d be this year.”
Given the green light, Oliveira and assistant John Farney sprang into action, meeting the IESA’s requirements and deadline by a nose to form Holy Cross’ first bowling team. Interest among the middle-school crowd (fifth through eighth grades) was high, 13 boys and five girls signing up. However, early practices at Old Orchard Lanes were interesting.
“We had three boys who had bowled consistently,” Oliveira said. “Everyone else, it was here and there, mostly birthday parties and things like that. There was really a learning curve.”
Soon, however, the Crusaders were winging it like Earl Anthony. The rags to riches story peaked at last weekend’s sectionals at Landmark Lanes in Peoria. First, fifth-grader Brody Oliveira qualified for boys’ state as an individual. Then, sparked by Olivia LeFaivre’s “best game ever,” the girls’ claimed the final team spot — by one pin.
A miracle on mineral oil.
“With it being brand new, I honestly had no expectations going into the year,” Nate Oliveira said. “Just being able to offer it to the kids was awesome. But for one (individual) and one team to get to state, I have no words.”
LInk to the article and pictures: https://tinyurl.com/2tca7rvu