GALESBURG — Galesburg High School’s Chloe Day holds just about every bowling mark in the school’s record book.
But there’s still one the senior has yet to obtain.
In the 1997-98 school year, the Silver Streaks’ Suzie Cruz ended up with a 2,330 in the Illinois High School Association’s state bowling tournament, and she finished in 11th place and earned a medal.
Day wants to become the second Galesburg bowler in the school’s history to finish in the Top 12, and she’s got her sights set on faring a tad better than Cruz did. Day hopes for a Top 10 finish this weekend at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford, and the goal is not beyond her reach.
Day had a practice session slated for Thursday before Friday’s preliminaries with the hopes of moving on to Saturday’s finals. It’s the first time Day will be competing in the state tournament, and she qualified to do so by finishing atop a field of 122 with a 1,381 six-game series in sectional action Saturday, Feb. 12 in LaSalle.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Day didn’t have an opportunity to qualify for state in 2020-21, as the tourney was nixed. Day didn’t make the cut as a sophomore or as a freshman.
“It’s my last chance. I’ll be really motivated to do well,” Day said early Wednesday evening before departing for Rockford. “This season is definitely the best season that I’ve had in the past four years. It’s exciting to know this is the year that I really have a chance to do it. It would really mean a lot to me and the school, as well, to have a state champ or in the Top 10 at least.”
Day holds Galesburg’s career pin count mark. Her six-game high (1,381) and three-game high 751 — which Day re-broke both marks in the sectional in LaSalle last weekend — also put Day atop the school’s record book, as does Day’s single game high (290), which she set as a junior.
And what is the game plan for Day once she hits her assigned lanes in the state tourney?
“We’re going to look at one frame at a time. We’re not going to look down the road,” Galesburg bowling coach Dave Sharp said. “We’re going to work on one frame at a time and I think if she focuses on that she’ll be fine.
“Chloe is a seasoned athlete. I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about nerves and things like that,” added Sharp, who is in his fourth season. “She’s been in these type of competitions before. She has a lot of tournament experience.”
Day needs to work on ‘mental game’
In mid-October 2021, Day signed to continue her academic and bowling career at Mount Mercy University, an NAIA school located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Day knows what aspect she needs to improve before she gets there and will be honey in on this weekend while in Rockford.
“Right now, it’s really understanding more of the mental game behind bowling. That’s something that I need to work on, and I need to learn more about my equipment and stuff like that,” Day said. “Mentally the hardest thing is knowing that you have to perform well. You’re going up against the best people in the state so one low game may take you out of the competition.
“At sectionals, my lowest game was 202. The first three games I shot 751, which is really really strong. In the afternoon, I think I bowled 100 pins less,” added Day. “A 630 was still good for the other three but I’ve got to figure out why I’m dropping so much in-between sets.”
Read more about Chloe:Galesburg’s Chloe Day breaks school pin total mark; K of C hosting free throw contest
Day’s put in the time to improve
Over the summer, Day spent a lot of time working on improving her bowling skills. The 17-year-old has a private coach in Bloomington that she works with, and Day made quite a few voyages there.
“I went three days a week,” said Day, who took up bowling when she was five years old. “On Sunday’s, I’d practice with 25-30 games a session.”
Day more than a bowler
Not only does Day rep Galesburg on the bowling lanes, but she also does as a member of the school’s marching band. She’s a drum major, and Day, who is a high honors student, is also a Key Club and Student Council member.
Check out:Galesburg High School High Honors List
“She’s not only an outstanding bowler but she’s an outstanding person. She’s there for her fellow bowlers and classmates,” Sharp said of Day. “She’s involved in all kinds of school activities such as the band, and she exceeds in those areas as well.
“Chloe is wanting to become an educator. That’s her future so that’s a plus for us on top of the bowling,” Sharp added. “I don’t think any coach could have been blessed with a better person than Chloe.
“I know she’s going to make this community proud.”
Matthew Wheaton can be reached at (309) 315-6073 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewlwheaton