Senior bowls perfect score at Michael Lang Alumni Game

Jalen Pfaff ‘22 bowls his first ever 300 game


Jalen Pfaff ‘22 bowls at Rolling Lanes on Jan. 25 (Wirtz/LION).

Scarlett Lestina, Copy Editor

As the whole bowling alley watches in silence, Jalen Pfaff ‘22 walks up to his lane and begins to roll the last strike needed to get his perfect 300 score. The ball rolls down the lane and hits all the pins except one. The last pin stands up until it gets knocked down at the last moment by another pin, the final point needed to get a perfect game.

“For a slight second, my heart dropped,” Pfaff said. “I was like, there’s no way I just threw a 299, which is one pin off of perfect.”

Pfaff went into the match as he would any other, not even thinking about having a perfect score until he started to realize that he was continually getting strikes. After the sixth strike, he started to understand what could happen, he said.

“I tried not to think about it because the more you think about it, the more you psych yourself out,” Pfaff said.

A 300 game has not been bowled by an LT athlete since 2018 when Ethan Cabela ‘18 rolled a perfect score at Regionals, head varsity coach Gary Morrill said. However, Pfaff bowled his 300 in front of a bowling alley full of spectators, athletes and coaches on Dec. 22, 2021 at the first annual Michael Lang Alumni Game.

“By the eighth or ninth strike everyone’s watching you, and when you bowl, the place goes silent,” Pfaff said. “It’s a lot of pressure, but the celebration afterward was really cool.”

As soon as Pfaff’s 12th strike was completed, the bowling alley was electric, teammate Drew Escamilla ‘23 said. Everyone started screaming and celebrating Pfaff’s performance.

“I was really proud of him,” Escamilla said. “He’s put a lot of work in the off-season and to see it pay off in a perfect game was amazing.”

While this may have been the first perfect game of Pfaff’s bowling career, he had been close to getting a 300 before, but a mistake pushed him off path, Pfaff said. 

“It was so relieving because I’ve been working to try and get that for so long, and to finally be able to get that was like a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Pfaff said.

Pfaff joined the bowling team his sophomore year and was on varsity by the end of the season. He credits his success to his mentors who helped him understand the game on a deeper level, as well as lots of repetition and practice to help him become the best.

“Jalen is someone I aspire to be like,” Escamilla said. “He’s a great bowler and a really fun guy who brings a lot of energy to bowling.”

The perfect score was bowled at the first annual alumni game, which was a competition between the current bowling team and alumni teams who came back to remember Lang. 

“Michael was extremely funny,” Escamilla said. “That is what everyone knew about him, for he was always positive and always kept a good attitude when bowling. He was definitely someone I looked up to as a freshman on the team.”

Lang, class of 2020, died in October 2020 due to COVID-19. During his time at LT, he was on the bowling team for three years, two of them being on varsity, Morrill said.

“Michael was the kid who got what I always talk about when it comes to being a good [teammate], which is wanting to be a part of something bigger than yourself,” Morrill said. 

Pfaff plans on continuing his bowling career in college after competing at the 2022 IHSA State Finals on Jan. 28-29.