Earnest takes four gold medals, one silver in international competition

The final tally: four golds and a silver.

Vandalia graduate Josie Earnest, who will begin another college bowling season at Vanderbilt University in approximately one month, earned four gold medals at the Pan American Bowling Confederation Youth Championships as a member of Junior Team USA. She also grabbed a silver at the competition, which was held in San Salvador, El Salvador.

The most important – and last – gold was the one awarded for the overall highest pin count. Earnest’s total pin count for the five-day tournament was 5,138.

‘Being consistent is one of Josie’s strong points,’ said John Williamson, the Vanderbilt head coach. ‘If something is not working, she makes an adjustment very quickly. She worked very hard, and this is simply a product of her hard work.’

To put together that winning effort, Earnest won the singles division with 1,263 pins. It was a great start, as she beat the second-place competitor, United States teammate Christine Bator of Warren, Mich., by 37 pins.

‘I always tend to bowl better when my back is against the wall,’ said Earnest, who bowled a 155 in the first game. ‘I think it was more of a motivational factor for me rather than dwelling on what happened the first game. You just have to learn from it and move on.’

Earnest then captained the USA team to a victory in the trios. Earnest and company knocked over 3,817 pins. Venezuela finished second with 3,585 pins. USA also won the team competition. The trios competition added the top three scores together, while the team competition added the scores of all four bowlers on the squad.

Earnest teamed with Bator to earn the doubles silver.

‘I am thrilled with how we did,’ said Earnest. ‘I threw the ball really well. This was a great competition. There were a few girls besides my teammates that I know have bowled collegiately.’

Vandalia grad Drew Whightsil caught three passes for 31 yards as the Eureka College football team dropped a 42-25 decision to Westminster College. Thus far this year, Whightsil has five catches for 47 yards. Eureka is 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. …

Iowa State University harrier Rachel Bell finished 40th in the Iowa State Invitational cross country meet. The Vandalia grad, who is a sophomore at ISU, finished the 6,000-meter race in 24 minutes, 19 seconds.

Bell’s time placed her in the Cyclones’ top five, helping the ISU women place 10th as a tema.

Bell was also recently presented the team’s scholar-athlete award for the 2007-08. She has a 4.0 GPA in her two years at ISU. She has been presented a varsity letter for track and field, and is running middle-distance events. She began running the steeplechase during the outdoor season.

The Kaskaskia College volleyball team defeated McKendree University (2-1) and St. Louis College of Pharmacy (3-2) this week. Former St. Elmo volleyball player Maribel Guerrero had 10 digs in the win over McKendree. The McKendree sophomore had five digs in the five-game match against STLCOP.

Dallas Gray, a Blackburn College golfer, shot a 158 at the Big Blue Fall Classic hosted by Millikin University. The Vandalia grad shot a 79 in both rounds. As a team, Blackburn finished fifth by carding a 630. Carthage College won with a 596. …

Vandalia grads Whitney Hagy and Meagan Wright got their first taste of college golf at the Illinois College Fall Tournament. Golfing at the junior varsity level, Hagy finished 15th with a 121 while Wright shot a 123 to take 19th. The IC varsity team won the meet with a 339. Lincoln Community College was a distant second with 405.

Illinois College football player Curtis Hemminghaus, a Vandalia grad, had one assisted tackle in IC’s only win of the season thus far. The 62-27 win over Knox College leveled the Blueboys’ record at 1-1 at that point in the season. They have since lost to Lake Forest College (28-23) and Ripon College (45-20). Illinois College is 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the Midwest Conference.

Kankakee Community College’s Laura VanUytven, a Ramsey grad, has 14 digs thus far. Kankakee is 15-8 overall.

Winter sports will be here before you know it. We will introduce winter athletes in late October. E-mail the name of your son or daughter to me at [email protected] Please include ‘Vandalia Leader Union’ in the subject line. I will need the college or university, the former high school and the sport. The athlete must be a graduate of one of the high schools covered by The Leader-Union or live in the newspaper’s coverage area. The athlete also must play intercollegiate sports.

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