graduate Ken Trumpey is not proud of his actions at the state bowling tournament his senior year in high school, but it was never personal.
The Thunderbolts were on the verge of winning their second consecutive state championship in 2006 when Trumpey set his sights on teammate and good friend Tony Yakes.
“Tony got the spotlight and did amazing the previous year,” Trumpey said. “Sadly enough, I wanted to beat Tony so bad. Going into the last game, I knew we were going to win state, so I was trying to beat him. We just always strived to be the best. Whoever did the worse between all of us was going to hear about it from the others. There was always a lot of bragging rights.”
Trumpey rolled a 224 in his final game to finish with a team-best 12-game series of 2,786 (232 average) and help clinch back-to-back championships for Andrew.
It was that kind of internal competition that made the Thunderbolts so successful.
Yakes doesn’t exactly remember Trumpey’s goal, but he’s not surprised by it either.
“That sounds very believable,” Yakes said with a laugh. “We were always competing with each other. I think it brought out the best in us. I felt if you were willing to not only beat the competition, but beat ourselves, it could only make you better as a team. We still helped each other on the lanes.”
Trumpey and Yakes, now both 23, have remained close to this day, like many of their former teammates.
Some of them bowl in men’s leagues together and others are on the same softball team.
“We were all friends, which is kind of rare,” said Trumpey, who bowled his first three 300 games after graduating from high school but still hasn’t matched his best three-game series at Andrew. “We were friends before high school and we are still friends today. We had really good chemistry, the best you could ever have.”
Yakes graduated from Northern Illinois and is now teaching physical education and health in Plainfield at Creekside Elementary and Thomas Jefferson Elementary.
“I still enjoy bowling, but I’m a teacher now and that takes up a big portion of my time,” said Yakes, who hopes to coach in the future. “High school was a whole different life. We got to bowl all the time and that’s part of what made us so good.”