Perfect game powers Auburn’s Bannister to lead in NIBPA Top 16 tourney

ROCKFORD – Auburn senior Caitlyn Bannister is one-third of the way to wrapping up her high school bowling career with a championship.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bannister can’t win a state title, instead she’s hoping to win the NIBPA Top 16 Tournament, which features the top 16 girls bowlers in the NIC-10 this year.

The three-day tournament kicked off Monday and after five matches Bannister leads Harlem’s Paige Carpenter by 172 pins. She averaged a torrid 259 over her five matches, including rolling her first perfect game, and she won all five games for 150 bonus pins. The 15-day event gives a bowler 30 extra pins for every game won.

It’s no surprise that Bannister is battling Carpenter for the title. The Harlem junior was the only one to out bowl Bannister during the pandemic-shortened regular season, averaging 213.8 pins in NIC-10 bowling to Bannister’s 209.5.

Monday, though, Carpenter was no match for Bannister who put together this string of games – 297-216-227-300-256.

Still, it is a disappointment that the IHSA didn’t allow a state bowling tournament. As a sophomore, Bannister recorded the highest finish ever for an Auburn girls bowler when she finished third in the state.

Bannister wasn’t the only RPS bowler to impress on Monday. Guilford’s Elli Cabello is fifth after the first day with an overall score of 1,139, and fellow Vikings bowler LeAnn Severson is sixth at 1,105.

The tournament continues Wednesday at Viking Lanes in South Beloit and wraps up Friday at the Cherry Bowl in Cherry Valley.

NIBPA NIC-10 Top 16 Tournament
Top 10 after Monday at Don Carter Lanes
Rank Bowler, School Average Score With Bonus
1. Caitlyn Bannister, Auburn 259 1,446
2. Paige Carpenter, Harlem 231 1,274
3. Olivia Watton, Harlem 215 1,197
4. Abby Topham, Hononegah 211 1,144
5. Elli Cabello, Guilford 210 1,139
6. LeAnn Severson, Guilford 215 1,105
7. Madison Woodman, Harlem 203 1,103
8.  Kyley Olson, Hononegah 201 1,093
9. Jocelynn Eggert, Harlem 205 1,084
10. Hillery Dyson, Freeport 204 1,080

Posted on 03.23.21