Northwest Herald

2024 Northwest Herald Boys Bowler of the Year: Johnsburg’s Aiden Schwichow

Skyhawks senior makes school history, places 5th at state

Johnsburg’s Aiden Schwichow experienced one of the greatest thrills of his life as part of the school’s first sectional championship in boys soccer in the fall.

In the winter, Schwichow experienced another high.

Schwichow, who started bowling competitively as a freshman, advanced to the IHSA Boys Bowling State Tournament at St. Clair Bowl in Fairview Heights and became the school’s first medalist.

After ending Day 1 of the tournament in 11th place, he finished the tournament in fifth and only 15 pins out of third place.

Schwichow is the only Skyhawks’ boys or girls bowler to place at state, according to IHSA records. Only Jacobs’ Brandon Biondo, who was runner-up in 2014, had a higher area finish.

“It meant a lot,” Schwichow said of making it to state in his final season. “I started bowling my freshman year and it was always a goal of mine to reach state and see how far I can go. My sophomore and junior year I made it to sectionals, but I was never close to making it to state. I was just practicing and practicing going into my senior year.”

For his standout season, Schwichow was selected as the 2024 Northwest Herald Boys Bowler of the Year by the sports staff. It’s the first year of the award. Richmond-Burton senior Gina Scichowski was named Girls Bowler of the Year after taking runner-up at state.

Schwichow spoke with sports writer Alex Kantecki about his final high school season, the hardest part about bowling, plans for college and more.

Aiden Schwichow, Johnsburg

What sports moment was so huge that you’ll always remember where you were when it happened?

Schwichow: I have two, actually. First was winning a sectional championship in soccer for the first time in school history. For bowling, it was down at [St. Clair Bowl in O’Fallon] when I got fifth place [at state].

What was the best part about state?

Schwichow: I definitely think the experience of getting there and understanding how serious it can be. It’s a big accomplishment to bowl at state.

Did you think you could get to state when the season started?

Schwichow: State was my main priority, as well as placing in the majority of tournaments we played in. Most of the tournaments were with people that were good enough to reach the state level, so I knew if I could hang with them I could get to state.

What did you focus on most this season to improve your game?

Schwichow: I was focusing on consistently hitting the pocket with my strikes and then just picking up spares and learning how to adjust off difficult oil patterns.

Where is your favorite place to bowl?

Schwichow: Raymond’s Bowl [in Johnsburg] because of how much I’ve bowled there.

How often do you bowl during a normal week?

Schwichow: In a normal week, I bowl two times a week after the high school season. During the season, it is almost every day. I do some tournaments for scholarship money and other times I just do a few fun leagues with my friends.

How did you get your start in bowling?

Schwichow: My parents telling me I should do a winter sport. I always wanted to play basketball, but I felt bowling was more for me. And then I just started loving the sport. I grew into it and found out I was pretty good and just kept going with it.

What are your plans for college?

Schwichow: I think I’m going to Judson University. They offered me a scholarship.

What is the hardest part about bowling?

Schwichow: The amount of adjusting. There are so many different oil patterns on the lanes and a lot of people don’t know that. It can really affect the ball that you use, and you have to know which ball to use and how to precisely hit a certain mark on the lane. It’s a lot more challenging than people think.

What would be your dream job?

Schwichow: I would love to be an assistant anesthesiologist. But another dream job would be a professional bowler.

Who is your favorite professional sports team?

Schwichow: Manchester United.

What is your favorite movie?

Schwichow: I would say “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” or “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.” If I had to side with one, I’d say Transformers.

Which professional athlete would you like to hang out with for a day?

Schwichow: Cristiano Ronaldo would be a fun one.

What will you remember most about your time at Johnsburg?

Schwichow: I’m going to think about my coach, JR [Wright], and how great he has been to me, and definitely all of my teammates and how they’ve helped me and how I’ve helped them in high school. I’m always going to remember those guys.

Alex Kantecki

Alex Kantecki

Alex is a sports writer for the Northwest Herald.