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Vernon Hills boys bowler Zack Furlett can’t seem to sit still.
The senior averaged 187 pins — with a high game of 205 — in six games for the Cougars during the state meet in O’Fallon on Friday. Furlett is a three-sport athlete (cross country and tennis), and a nominee for one of 26 spots (13 male, 13 female) on the 2012-13 IHSA All-State Academic Team.
“I like getting stuff done — I don’t like to just sit there,” said Furlett, who holds a 4.3 grade-point average. “I know I have to get work done, so I just do it. I like to keep busy.”
Furlett said that being a three-sport athlete — which limits his homework time because of practices, meets and matches — actually helps him manage his studies. His take is that being focused on sports puts him in the right frame of mind to shift that focus to the books.
“Most kids relax after school before homework, but I feel it’s easier to transition to homework after playing sports,” he said. “Because when you relax, you want to keep relaxing.”
Furlett played football as a freshman, and said that’s when he began learning to balance school, sports and homework. It wasn’t a case of having a master plan; it just seemed logical to him.
“You have to manage your time,” he said. “For me, it all fits perfectly in the amount of time I have in a day.”
As much as he enjoys athletic competition, the bigger picture for Furlett revolves around academics. That’s not lost on Vernon Hills coach Ron Long, who said that Furlett’s smarts come into play on the lanes as well.
“He’s a good student, so he understands and comprehends things very quickly,” Long said. “Some kids don’t understand how the oil patterns break down in order to make adjustments, but he’s very good at that. He’s not afraid to ask questions, either. So all of that adds up. You have to be intelligent on the lanes.”
Furlett said his favorite subject is math, followed by business and science.
“I want to set myself up for success, so I want to learn as much as I can,” he said.
Vernon Hills finished 18th on Day 1 of the state meet and did not advance as a team to Saturday’s finals. Senior Eric Swanson was the Cougars’ top performer, finishing 20th overall with 2,593 pins after advancing as an individual.