MT. MORRIS – Oregon senior boys bowler Austin Strite is our newest 13 WREX Athlete of the Week, sponsored by Rock Valley College.
Strite began the school year with the Hawks football team, and vividly remembers his last play from earlier in the season.
“Second play after half, I was blocking, the running back came to the side, tackled into me, knee bent,” Strite recalls. “I lost all feeling. It was tingly. I couldn’t walk.”
He had torn his MCL.
“I thought it was the end of the season watching him go down, not sure he would make it back to bowl for us,” said Oregon head boys bowling coach Eric Carlson.
Strite missed two weeks of bowling, and has soared for the Hawks ever since. He won the individual regional title in Freeport, then the individual sectional title at Don Carter Lanes, qualifying for state.
“I didn’t think I’d make it to state,” Strite said. “The first couple of weeks I was really bad. I guess I’ve been lucky.”
He also credits his teammates’ year-long support during his recovery, and his coach adds that his impressive mental approach has also been a key to Strite’s success.
“He’s so level headed, so calm,” Carlson said. “He doesn’t let anything get to him. He could bury an 8-pin, a 10-pin, doesn’t get a certain carry or leaves a split, he comes back, throws the next ball, and moves on.”
Strite and a host of other local bowlers head to O’Fallon this weekend for the IHSA state tournament.