Girls bowling state tournament preview
What: The girls bowling state championship
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Where: Cherry Bowl Lanes, Rockford
When: Friday and Saturday
2012 team champion: Andrew
2012 individual champion: Morgan Flaherty, Lincoln-Way West
Most recent local team champion: Hoffman Estates (2006)
Most recent local individual champion: Marilyn Gawlik, Schaumburg (2008)
Area team qualifiers
Conant (Fremd sectional titleist) roster includes: Senior Courtney Slavich (187.67 Mid-Suburban League average, 5th overall); sophomore Jordyn Wagner (185.85, 6th), freshman Angela Anzalone (181.87, 12th, winner of the Fremd sectional with a stellar pinfall of 1311); Annie Witt; juniors Katie Harrold, Carly Roeske, Marissa Schwichtenberg and Jordan Gonzini.
Leyden (St. Ignatius sectional titleists) roster includes: Five West Suburban Gold all conference bowlers - Danielle Trevino, Reba Hall (2nd at the St. Ignatius sectional with a 1084), Erika Pimentel (3rd at sectional with a 1069), Nicole Lassin and Ashley Kriston. Also competing will be senior Jeanette Treto and sophomore Nicole Pitsenbarger.
Schaumburg (runner up at its own hosted sectional) roster includes: Junior Danielle Yohe (182.73, 10th in conference, 1189 series at the Saxons Sectional); junior Shannon Maiers (180.38, 13th); sophomore Jessica Halas, freshman Sarah Schwind, and senior Samantha Hansel. Additional lineup members will be senior Raquel Wood, senior Mary Berger, and sophomore Kaitlyn Azevedo.
Prospect (runner up at the Fremd sectional) roster includes: Junior Meghan Mulcahy (189.03, 4th in the MSL); junior Nicole Cusack (rolled the league's top game, a 277), junior Katelynn Bieber, senior Kayla Jagus, senior Samantha Victor, senior Noelle Johnston, sophomore Monica Lopez and freshman Jessica Skudlarek.
Area individual qualifiers
Sarah Wille, Hoffman Estates junior (Mid-Suburban League titleist with a 200.23 average).
Katie Conrad, Palatine (185 MSL average, 7th place, 3rd best conference series of 681).
Bowlers to watch
Palatine junior Katie Conrad was on pins and needles over the weekend after her oustanding performance at the Fremd sectional. She bowled extremely well (games of 233 and 203-twice) but still found herself on the state tourney "at-large" list. The IHSA selects only six at-large bowlers to advance to Rockford, and Conrad didn't get the confirmation that she had made it until she checked the website midmorning on Monday -- and the first thing she did was call her dad, Jeff, to give him the good news. "He was so happy," said the junior. Also extremely pleased was Pirates coach John Burke, who said Conrad's qualification to Cherry Bowl was no accident. "It was not a fluke," said Burke. "It was all due to hard work." Once Conrad learned over the summer that the MSL was switching sites to Arlington Lanes from AMF Rolling Meadows, she spent a lot of time there, practicing at the new site three or four times a week. "They know me very well at Arlington," laughed the junior, who will be making her first trip to the state tourney. "I've never been to Cherry Bowl," said Conrad, "but I've heard it's something special. I'm disappointed that my team won't be going with me, but they've been great -- they're all supporting me." Coach Burke, of course, will be there, and has no doubt the junior will do her best. "Katie had a disappointing season by her standards, despite the fact she finished seventh in conference. I know she'd prefer to have her teammates with her, but I'm happy that all of her hard work has paid off. She's dedicated to the sport and it's paid big dividends for her."
It's the final prep tournament for Leyden senior Danielle Trevino, and she and her teammates look to go out on top. There's a realistic chance that the Eagles can improve on last season's sixth-place state finish, and Trevino will be leading the charge based on her sectional-winning score of 1095 at St. Ignatius. They won't be favored, but Trevino feels her team can surprise a lot of people. "We didn't have the best day at our sectional," she said, "so if they look at the pinfall, they're going to underestimate us. We're going to be the underdog." The Eagles went old-school to advance to Cherry Bowl out of Town Hall Lanes in Cicero, where the lanes where "definitely not what we were used to," according to Trevino. "They were wood lanes," said the senior, "not synthetic. We thought they'd be dry, but they turned out out to be oily, so we had to adjust." They made the corrections, winning at Town Hall with a score of 5167, 743 pins better than the runners-up. "I'm very excited, especially since it's my last year," said Trevino. "Our goal is to just go out there and do our best. If we do that, I think we've got a great shot to win."
Conant senior Annie Witt, who coach Jennifer Mikrut calls "a great bowler and a great leader", will be leading her squad to Rockford as the Cougars qualified for their first state tournament since 2004. "We wanted to go so badly as a team this year," said Witt, who boasted a top 25 MSL average (171.64) and excelled at the sectional tourney with an 1147 6-game series, one that included games of 236 and 208. "We bowled our butts off (at Arlington Lanes) and it paid off," said Witt. "We're so excited." Witt added that there was no thought by her or any of her teammates as to advancing to the state tournament as individual bowlers. "It was as a team or nothing," said the senior. "We've been talking about that since Day 1 of the season." Witt travelled to Cherry Bowl in 2012 as a fan to support her teammates Slavich and Sam Pincenti, and now this year she'll be there competiting for a state title with the rest of her teammates. "We've been practicing hard, pushing hard, looking to find a bond and keep it going as as we head to Rockford," said Witt. "I know it's going to be a crazy atmosphere at Cherry Bowl, but if we continue to perform at a high level like we did last week at sectionals, we'll be OK."
The rest of the field: Collinsville, Glenbard East, Grayslake North, Harlem, Hinsdale South, Lake Park, Lake Zurich, Lockport, Minooka, Moline, Mount Vernon, O'Fallon, Oswego East, Rockford Jefferson, Salem, Sandburg, St. Ignatius, Sterling, Thornton Fractional South, Waubonsie Valley.
The shakedown: The top 12 teams and top 30 individuals not part of a qualifying team advance to Saturday's second round, where the team and individual champions will be crowned based on their two-day scores.
-- Bill Esbrook