If you expected the unexpected Saturday, your expectations were certainly realized.
Both the Lake Zurich and Grayslake North girls bowling teams earned spots for the first time in school history in the IHSA state tournament to be held Friday and Saturday at Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
Lake Zurich rolled to its first-ever sectional title by knocking down 5,244 pins, and Grayslake North finished as the runner-up with 5,206 — just ahead of Marengo (5,198) and host Warren (5,159) at the IHSA Warren sectional at Bertrand Lanes in Waukegan.
“Oh my,” said Lake Zurich coach Mel Fox, who has coached the team the last seven years. “What do we do now? We’ve never done this before.
“I knew from Day One this year that they could do it. We weren’t that great all year, but I thought this would be the year to go to state.”
The Bears’ Dani Sikorski rolled to the individual sectional championship, with a total of 1,354 pins over six games.
Individually, Libertyville’s Emma Davellis (1,238) and Sami Jo Zak of Grant (1,157) each qualified and advanced.
Sikorski shot a career-best 279 with 11 strikes, along with games of 191 and 237 for a 707 series over the first three games. She followed that with a 256, 181 and a 210 for a 647 series in the afternoon.
“I’ve waited along with the team all four years for something like this to happen,” said Sikorski, who recently won individual honors at the Grant Invitational. “It was like ‘Wow, I can shoot these scores this year.’
“I threw a few shots in practice (Saturday) and I figured it out and switched a couple of balls. I moved around a little bit, but the way I was throwing seemed perfect.”
Lake Zurich rolled its best-ever team score of 1,068 in the second game after opening with a 781 and completed the morning with an 840 for 2,689. The Bears followed that with a pair of 819’s and finished with a 917 for a 2,555 total over the last three games.
Grayslake North also enjoyed moving into uncharted territory — although Knights coach Laura Bertermann has been to state before as the former Libertyville coach.
“I never imagined we would go that quickly,” said Bertermann, whose Knighs won the Fox Valley Conference title last week in her fifth year coaching the team. “I always wanted to go to state with them. This was the first year that we jelled together as a team, and they know the importance of picking each other up.”
The Knights started with a 2,686 for the first three games — 871, 871 and a 944. In the afternoon session, they rolled 906, 794 and 820 for 2,520.
“We had a good morning and we had to do the best we could in the afternoon,” Bertermann said. “The girls were consistent and solid every game. It lasted all the way to the last frame of the last game.”
Sarah Littleton led the Knights with a 1,211 and was third overall. She tossed a 664 in the morning set with games of 166, 230 and 268. Then she rolled games of 216, 159 and 172 over the last three for a 547 series.
Libertyville’s Davellis shot games of 268, 193 and 150 for a 611 for the morning. Then she hit 216, 159 and 222 for an afternoon set of 627.
“I’m ecstatic. I’ve been on a roll for a very long time,” Davellis said. “I’m glad it paid off. As a freshman, I never thought it would happen, but I’m glad it did happen.”
Zak will be making her first trip to state. Zak started with 246, 185 and 190 for a 621, and came back with games of 203, 173 and 160 for a 536.
As a freshman, Zak had watched former Grant standout Bri Brugioni.
“I looked up to her so much and she was a great bowler,” said Zak, who missed a state berth last year by 20 pins. “Watching her gave me so much confidence. I wanted to push through in my senior year. The thought of even going to state would be so exciting for me.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.