A couple months ago, a man at Ladd Lanes asked someone who is the best bowler in the area.
The other person responded by listing a couple names before the man asked,
“What about David McManus? I hear about him all the time.”
“It made me smile to think that people actually recognize me,” said McManus, who unbeknownst to the man was standing right there.
Despite instances like that, McManus has a tough time saying he’s a good bowler.
“People tell me all the time that I’m good and I still don’t agree with them because I still think I can be better,” McManus said.
Whether McManus believes it or not, he is definitely a good bowler. His accolades and accomplishments speak for themselves.
This season, the Hall senior led the area in average with a 219 — 15 pins better than the next best average — rolled a 300 game, had a 799 series and won the Cavalier Classic with a 1,541 series that is believed to be among the best six-game series ever by an Illinois high school bowler.
For those accomplishments, McManus is the 2012-13 NewsTribune Boys Bowler of the Year.
McManus also won the award as a sophomore.
“I think out of all the years he was with us at Hall, this was his best year,” Hall coach Monica Hrovat said. “He just came into his own in the last year.”
McManus said he started to get more movement back on his ball this season after being hit by a car on Thanksgiving 2011 — although he still has some pain in his right arm from dislocations — and he improved his spare game.
“I feel like I had a lot of struggling this year coming back from my injury last year, but I feel like my spare game has really solidified and become fantastic,” McManus said. “I think over the season I easily got 90 percent of my spares, and that’s amazing to be honest. I think the thing that really hurt me was the inconsistency with my wrist because it was dislocated. I think that really hurt me with getting strikes and stuff.”
McManus didn’t bowl much in the offseason as he healed from the accident, but as the season got closer he focused on his spare game.
Often he’d go to a bowling alley and spend the entire time just working on spares. McManus now approaches the 7-pin differently, and he determined how and where he has to throw each ball for every possible spare.
“I know in practices he did a lot of spare shooting,” Hrovat said. “He just worked hard. He did a lot of practicing this year. I think it just all came together and paid off for him in the end.”
The highlight of McManus’ season came Dec. 8 at the Cavalier Classic at the Illinois Valley Super Bowl.
He rolled a 300 game, which led teammates and even other teams to “mosh pit” him, and bowled a career-best six-game series to win the title.
“I couldn’t miss that day. That’s basically it,” McManus said. “The 1,541 is by far the best thing I’ve ever done in bowling.”
McManus also had a pretty good day at the DeKalb Sectional, but fell short of his third trip to state.
After rolling a 156 in his first game, McManus averaged 239.2 over the final five games to finish with a 1,352 to place third, which is one spot shy of an automatic berth.
He was then a potential at-large state qualifier, but the IHSA selection formula left him out despite his series being second highest among at-large candidates.
“I was OK with it because I’ve made it two years in a row,” McManus said about missing state, adding, however, that he doesn’t agree with the IHSA selection process.
For McManus, missing state senior year does not put a damper on his career.
“Looking back at the accomplishments I’ve done, I feel really good about it,” said McManus, who credits his mother Tammy Edgcomb, Joe Zokal and his coaches for his success.
He has certainly left his mark on the four-year old Hall bowling program.
“When you hear Hall bowling, you think David McManus,” Hrovat said. “He’s going to be missed a lot. It was a great experience for me to watch someone like him. He’s a really good bowler. He’s been a leader, and he’s been very helpful to other kids. He didn’t just care about himself. He cared about everybody on the team. Those are a couple things I’ll remember about him. He’s just a great kid.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.