Competition rises at Special Olympics State Bowling Tournament

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PEORIA, Ill — Athletes from all over Illinois tightened their shoes and polished their bowling balls off on Saturday.

The Special Olympics State Bowling Tournament was held at Landmark Lanes. It was a clash of 300 bowling athletes who have been working hard all year to get to this point.

“It’s our state competition so there’s two qualifiers throughout the state of Illinois, they compete in a regional event and then a sectional and the winner in gold at those events move onto state,” said Director of State Championships Nate Henry.

A lot of the competitors have been bowling for years and years.

“Since I was three,” said Special Olympics Athlete Allen Platt.

Joseph Rich who plays for the comeback champs has won the state championship 11 of the past 12 years.

“We don’t worry about other people’s scores or what were down by because the more you worry about the team that’s ahead you don’t bowl to your potential,” said Rich.

The tournament includes singles and doubles games.

All the athletes striking pins love the sport of bowling, including Allen Platt who enjoys the competition.

“When you know you’re good at what you do you’re more passionate about it and the people that are better make you want to progress and it’s just so much fun finding someone that’s better than you and having that competitive spirit,” said Platt.

Platt encourages anyone who has considered taking up bowling to just give it a go.

“Try it, all I can say is just try it you might not like it at first but once you get that feeling of accomplishment you will never be the same again,” said Platt.

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