December 6, 2017

CHS students compete at 2017 Illinois Special Olympics Bowling Tournament

By Jim Beers

Four Chester High School students recently competed in the 2017 Illinois Special Olympics Bowling Tournament. Three of the four advanced to the 2017 Sectional Tournament while one made it all the way to the State Finals.

The Yellow Jacket Bowling Team consisted of Jeffrey Dobyns, Jessica Penford, Amber Essman and Austin Schweizer. The team was coached by Michelle Justinen, Chester High School Special Teacher. Justinen served as the CHS Head Bowling Coach for the event. She was assisted by Gwynne Jacobsen.

Three Chester High School students recently competed at the 2017 Illinois Special Olympics Sectional Bowling Tournament held at Fairview Heights November 5. Pictured are: (left to right): Jeffrey Dobyns, Amber Essman and Jessica Penford. All three bowled well and earned ribbons for their finishes. Dobyns earned a 1st Place ribbon, Essman earned a 3rd Place ribbon and Penford earned a 2nd Place ribbon. With his 1st Place rating Dobyns advanced to the 2017 State Tournament December 2 where he earned a 4th Place ribbon. The CHS Bowling Team is coached by Michelle Justinen. She is assisted by Gwynne Jacobsen.

Since Chester does not have a current bowling alley, the team practiced at the Steeleville American Legion Bowling Alley on certain school days. Coach Justinen said, "We did not really get to practice very much due to logistics, but the kids learned enough to compete and had a great time in the process.

The 2017 Illinois Special Olympics Bowling Tournament began last March with the Regional Tournament held at Carterville. All four Chester bowlers had a good time and advanced to the Sectional Tournament.

All four Yellow Jacket bowlers qualified to compete at the Sectional Tournament, but only three decided to move on to the next level. Austin Schweizer was busy with other plans and activities and opted to not participate. Jeffrey Dobyns, Jessica Penford and Amber Essman did proudly move on to represented Chester High School at Sectionals.

The Sectional Tournament took place at Fairview Heights on Sunday November 5. All three Chester bowlers did well, with Jeffrey Dobyns earning a 1st Place rating, Jessica Penford earning a 2nd Place rating and Amber Essman earning a 3rd Place rating. By virtue of his 1st Place rating, Jeffrey Dobyns qualified to advance to the State Tournament. He very excitedly accepted the opportunity and chose to move on to the highest level of competition.

The 2017 Illinois Special Olympics State Finals were held in Peoria Saturday December 2. Jeffrey and his mother, Shannon Dobyns, were accompanied to Peoria by Head Coach Justinen and Assistant Coach Jacobsen.

Coach Justinen said, "I think it was Jeffrey’s first time away. We stayed at Motel 6 in Peoria Friday night December 1. His favorite part of that night was getting to eat at Burger King. We also ate at McDonalds. He really had a great time during the whole experience."

The State Final competition took place the next day, Saturday December 2. Jeffrey had to battle against the best bowlers in the State of Illinois. He did well and had a positive experience. For his efforts, Dobyns earned a 4th Place rating and a ribbon to match his finish.

Ms. Justinen said, "I was really proud of all four of my bowlers. It was a very positive event for them all. Austin did qualify to advance to the Sectional Tournament, but he decided on his own not to take part due to other interests. Jeffrey, Jessica and Amber had a great time and enjoyed the entire experience. They did a wonderful job of representing Chester High School as well as themselves."