Alton High’s Alex Bergin focuses on her delivery during the IHSA Girls Bowling Regional Tournament last weekend at Bowl Haven. Bergin won the individual regional championship and will lead her team to the Mount Vernon Sectional this Saturday.
Nathan Woodside | For The Telegraph
Alex Bergin is a busy young lady. She’s a junior at Alton High and works two jobs. She has also found time to become one of the area’s top girls bowlers and helped her team advance to Saturday’s Mount Vernon Sectional.
One more thing – Bergin captured the individual championship at last week’s IHSA Alton Girls Regional at Bowl Haven. And she was one of the last to know.
“My goal was to help our team get to the sectional,” Bergin said. “We had lost five seniors from last year’s team and it was something we really wanted to do.
“But I didn’t think at all about winning the (individual) championship. My coach (Dave Meyer) doesn’t tell us the standings during a meet. He doesn’t want it to distract us. So, after it was over, we wanted to know if we had made it to the sectional as a team. (Dave) was calculating something, then he told me I had won and they all cheered. It was very exciting.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect to win it.”
Bergin came from behind to beat Highland’s Molly Marshall for the top spot. She overtook Marshall in the final game and finished with a score of 1246 pins, to Marshall’s 1216.
Highland was first in the 13-team race with 5456, followed by Vandalia 5292, Triad 4963 and Alton 4894. The top four teams advance to the sectional.
The Redbirds grabbed the fourth and final sectional-qualifying spot ahead of Edwardsville, which was bowling in the lane adjacent to AHS. The Tigers had 4620 pins.
Bergin said she likes no knowing the standings during play.
“I think I would be worried about what I had to have every time,” she said.
Now that she’s won a title, how will she approach things Saturday in Mount Vernon at the sectional?
“We’ll go back to the same approach,” she said. “It worked.”
It’s been an eventful year for the personable Bergin. “At the beginning of the year, I couldn’t find my groove,” Bergin said. “But (Meyer) would pull me aisde and give me pep talks. He’d say he believed in me and that I could do it. That was so much help.
“This was my first year getting to bowl all the time every tournament,” Bergin said. “We had five seniors last year, so I would bowl a couple games here and there, but not an entire meet.“
Meyer is in his second year as the AHS coach. He replaced longtime Redbirds coach Jeff Wosczczynski.
“Both coaches have helped me a lot,” Bergin said.
Bergin said she started bowling “kind of late.”
“It was the summer before sixth grade,” she said. “My dad made me go to the Alton High Bowling Camp. I was all mad because it was going to make me waste my whole summer.
“It was really just like two hours a day for three days,” she said with a laugh. “I liked it and stayed with it it, but I didn’t get serious about it until seventh or eighth grade.”
She’s plenty serious about it now.
“I want to bowl in college,” Bergin said. “But, I want our team to make it to the state tournament first. That’s my immediate goal.”
Next season, her senior season, Alex will have a freshman teammate about whom she’s excited.
“My sister, McKenna,” she said. “I’m excited for next year.
But first, she has a date at Nu Bowl in Mount Vernon Saturday and she hopes a solid performance that leads to the IHSA State Tournament the following weekend in Rockford.
Alex works at two area restaurants in addition to going to school, studying and, of course, bowling.
“I tell people if I’m not at school, I’m bowling” she said, “and if I’m not bowling, I’m working.”
Alex got a bit of a surprise when she saw the work schedule for one of her jobs last week.
“They had me down to work Saturday,” she said. “I told them I really needed that day off because I was bowling in the regional.”