Warwick throws first 300 game in Redskins history
On Wednesday afternoon at Echo Lanes bowling alley in Morris, Redskins coach Harry Banks was asked about the significance of what sophomore Taylor Warwick had done the night before in DeKalb.
"She knocked down 10 pins 12 straight times," he said laughing.
In the process, she made MCHS history by becoming the first bowler ever to roll a 300 game. She did it on Tuesday night at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb - home of the Kaneland girls team.
"It makes me feel amazing," Warwick said of accomplishing the feat.
According to former Morris coach Ron Lear, the 300 game has been something to reach for. However, many have fallen short.
"When I was there (at MCHS) I went to the library and did research on the team going all the way back and I never saw anything indicating there has been a 300 game," the current Plainfield North athletic director said. "I'd say it's a fact. It's the first 300 game."
Morris has had a girls bowling team since 1972 and the previous record score for a member of the Redskins team is thought to be a 289 by Whitney Ties in the 2004-05 season.
It's been something of an ongoing saga for Warwick as she has rotated between three different balls this season in trying to perfect her game. In fact, just two days before the perfect game, Tim Butterfield who runs the pro shop at Echo Lanes suggested she try a Storm model.
"It's a Tropic Heat that I had just gotten the day before," Warwick said.
On Monday, Butterfield set Warwick up with a used floor model and then helped get the finger-seperation of the ball just right.
"We've gone through a lot of changes with Taylor trying to find the right finger hole and thump hole span," Butterfield said. "Harry had asked me if I had a ball that had the right grip for her and I had that one on the floor that had been returned."
The 15-pound ball is about a year old according to Butterfield.
"We drilled it for her but I thought the span was a little bit big for her. She then went out and bowled with it in practice but came back in and told me that it was still dropping off her hand," Butterfield said. "So I changed things. Shortened it up and I also changed the angle of the thumb. She then went out and everything else is history."
A Mardi Gras Party
On Tuesday afternoon, the Redskins went up to take on the Lady Knights at their home lanes in DeKalb. It was the first time Warwick had taken the ball out of her bag and used Tropical Heat in competition when the magic started.
"After she threw the first six strikes, it entered my mind that she could throw a 300 game," Banks said.
Banks says that he has thrown 38 perfect games in his life, starting with the first one at the age of 22.
"So I kind of know what goes through your mind," Banks said. "It's about trying not to squeeze the ball to hard and to put a good roll on it."
After the sixth frame, girls on the Morris team were going up to Banks and wanting to talk about what Warwick was doing.
"I told them not to think about it. I told them I don't want to talk about it," he said. "I didn't want to focus on it. You never want to jinx someone like that."
Banks said that Warwick was kind of on her own little island throughout the first game but that she was having conversations while it was ongoing. Warwick said that one conversation in particular sticks out in her head from that game.
"One of the girls on the Kaneland team in the ninth frame asked me if I had ever rolled a 300 before and I told her I never had," Warwick said. "I told her that if I do it that it would be the first one from anyone in my family. And she was like, 'well, good luck'."
Taylor's sister Jen was an integral bowler on Morris' third place team from 2002 and her sister Tera also bowled, though not at the varsity level. Her father Greg also is an avid bowler, though none of them had ever reached bowling's promised land.
"Everyone was paying attention," Banks said about the last four throws on Tuesday.
Then came the fateful 12th ball of the day.
"I was shaking unbelievably and my body went numb," Warwick admitted. "I thought I was going to tug it because I was shaking so much. I felt like I had no control when I threw it. It went right into the pocket."
Warwick said that she was aware of only the two girls behind her being near as the last approach took place.
"I don't know when everyone gathered behind me. I was in my own little bubble," she said. "I didn't hear anyone walking up."
Upon the final crash of pins, the congratulations rained down on Warwick between lanes 23 and 24.
"My dad was the first person to grab me and I started crying," she said. "When I turned around, my whole team was screaming and my dad was screaming. He hugged me and I bawled my eyes out."
She also said that several people hanging out at Mardi Gras also came up to congratulate her.
"Some guys there had come out to watch," she said. "They came up to me and gave me a hand shake."
For many not named Harry Banks, rolling a 300 game is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Still, Banks is hoping that the best is yet to come from his sophomore.
"Being a sophomore, she's got the rest of this year and I'm hoping that she can keep on improving," he said. "If she shows the heart and has enough dedication, I think she can do that."