Lyons’ Pett prepared for performance at state meet
Countryside, 01/22/13 Lyons Township's Danny Pett goes through his warm-ups during practice at Rolling Lanes January 22, 2013. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 2, 2013 6:31AM
Coming in cold off the bench is not a tried-and-true formula for success, but it sure doesn’t seem to bother Lyons bowler Danny Pett.
Competing in its first state meet — in only its fourth season as a program — Lyons was looking to become one of 12 teams to advance from Friday’s preliminaries at St. Clair Bowl in O’Fallon to Saturday’s finals. The Lions finished 13th to narrowly miss the cut.
Early on, Pett was brought in by coach Francisco Gamboa and he delivered in a big way. The team captain, whose average hovered around 165 during the regular season, substituted for a teammate on Friday and rolled a 243 in Game 3. He followed with a 221 and a 237, and closed with a 161 for a 213 average.
“I brought him in cold — almost two hours into the prelims — and he came in guns blazing,” Gamboa said. “He was calm and cool, and he went straight down the lane. Not a fancy shot, but very consistent. He found his line and hit it.”
Pett’s first ball was a strike.
“And then I was zoned in,” he said. “If I start out hot, I get locked in. We wanted to come back and bowl as a team the next day, so it was kind of upsetting to realize we blew it. But it is pretty awesome knowing you’re the first team ever at your school to go to state.”
Gamboa said that Pett, who was named athlete of the month by the school newspaper, the LT Lion, was ready for the call. The skipper claims that Pett is always on his toes and always puts the team first.
“We made him team captain this year due to the team spirit and energy he brings,” Gamboa said. “He’s had his ups and downs (in competition), but regardless of whether he’s starting or not, he shows whole-hearted, sincere interest in how the team’s doing. It’s never just about him, but about the team as a whole.”
Pett said he makes sure to keep his teammates in the game by leading cheers and providing encouragement. In turn, he said that helps him prepare for when his name is called.
“If I’m not starting, I’ve got to cheer on the team to keep the tempo up,” he said. “Your teammates know you’ve got their back. If someone is struggling, you tell them to keep their head up and not worry about that frame. That really keeps me focused, too. So when it’s my time to go in, I’m ready to go.”
Lyons juniors Mike Kicmal and John Yanulis did advance to finals as individuals, and Kicmal finished 23rd with 2,582 pins; Yanulis ended up 65th (2,436).