A pin away leads to a historic day for Pobanz

Chris Steele
Emily Pobanz became the first Geneseo bowler in school history to reach the State Finals. Pobanz will compete in the first round of the state finals at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford on Friday, Feb. 15 starting at 9 a.m.

Emily Pobanz made school history becoming the first Lady Leaf bowler to earn a berth to the state finals.

A senior, Pobanz nabbed the fifth and final individual qualifying spot at the Minooka Sectional held at Echo Bowling Lanes in Morris on Feb. 9.

After falling just one pin shy of reaching the state finals last season, Pobanz dedicated herself to making sure she wouldn’t fall short of history this time around.

“Since I didn’t miss by much last year, I couldn’t end my senior season not going to state,” Pobanz said. “It made me want it even more. That competitive side of me came out.”

Pobanz finished ninth overall rolling her way to a 1235 six-game series, but the support she had from her team made a big difference.

Assistant coach Denny Lynch helped Pobanz reset her focus in the final game to lock up a state berth, and Pobanz said Geneseo teammate Karis Ostrowski helped her stay upbeat.

“Karis helped me through the whole day,” Pobanz said. “She was always keeping me laughing and not worrying about my game.”

Pobanz started the day with a 179 game but rallied rolling a 250 game and a 229 game to put her back in the thick of things.

After a 166 game to start the afternoon three-game set, Pobanz bounced back again rolling a 235 game.

Pobanz was struggling in the final game with state on the line, but Lynch was able to get her to refocus and finish strong.

“I knew that if I didn’t do very well it would be very close,” Pobanz said. “Denny told me, ‘Take these next three frames and give me all you have got.’ It really made me calm down and forget about the last few frames.”

Pobanz made the most of her opportunity and becomes the first bowler in school history to advances to state.

“It shows we can have really big accomplishments for only being a two-year sport,” Pobanz said.

Pobanz will finish her season at the State Finals held at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford with the first round held on Friday, Feb. 15 at 9 a.m.

Geneseo’s Karis Ostrowski rolled her way to a 53rd place finish with a 1027 series at the sectional tournament.

The Lady Leafs’ Jenah Hart tallied a 989 series, and Delaney Ostrowski finished with a 951 series.