Last season Leyden found itself in sixth place at the state tournament after all was said and done.
That's the exact same position the Eagles are in this season after the first day at Cherry Bowl Lanes in Rockford.
Led by junior Reba Hall, ninth individually after six games of bowling in the books on Day 1, Leyden stands only 355 pins behind co-leaders Lockport and Rockford Jefferson.
Hall, who took home the third place medal at state in 2012 while only a sophomore, rolled games of 257 and 244 Friday enroute to a series total of 1308.
"I'm excited," said the junior. "It was a good day for myself and my teammates. We worked together all day.
"We had a little bit of a tough start, but everyone goes through a rough patch in the beginning. We did much better the rest of the day."
Leyden coach Chris Aylward agreed that his team stumbled at the outset -- the Eagles found themselves in 14th place after one game -- but found their footing to rally into contention.
"We did get off to a rough start," said Eagles coach Chris Aylward, " which we normally don't do. We only bowled one game over 1,000 today but that was big, a 1,075 in the first game after lunch.
"A lot of people might be looking at our sectional pinfall (5,167 at St. Ignatius) and consider us the underdog here, but we don't feel that way. We know that we came out of a sectional where the lane conditions were not the best."
Hall's total leaves her only 66 pins back of leader Emily Malone of Jefferson with 6 more games to play today before the awards are handed out.
"Everyone is separated by a very thin margin right now," said the junior, "not only in the team race but also in the individual race. I have a feeling it's going to come down to the very last game. It's wide open."
Other contributors to Leyden's stellar showing included sophomore Ashley Kriston (1161, 245 high game), junior Erika Pimentel (237), senior Danielle Trevino (243) and junior Nicole Lassin (195).
Conant senior Courtney Slavich enjoyed a tremendous morning series, rolling a 226 in game one, a 258 in the second game and a 235 in game three enroute to a second-place individual standing at the break.
Slavich tailed off just a bit in the afternoon session but still finished the day in 25th position, tied with Palatine junior Katie Conrad.
Both Mid-Suburban League bowlers tallied a total day score of 1,235, while Conant freshman Angela Anzalone also excelled.
The freshman fired an 1,144, including a 258 game to open the afternoon session, but the day wasn't kind to the Cougars as a team as they didn't make the cut for the second day.
Only the top 12 of the 24 teams at the tourney bowl in day two, and the Cougars total pinfall of 5490 left them in 16th place.
Conant junior Katie Harrold fired a 213 game while teammate Annie Witt rolled a 212.
Hoffman Estates junior Sarah Wille, the MSL champion, will compete today based on her score of 1,161 which included a 214 game in the afternoon.
Schaumburg (Danielle Yohe, 213) also missed the cutoff for advancing to day two, but MSL rival Prospect was able to finish 12th and will participate in the meet's final action.
Senior Samantha Victor (221, 216, two games of 201) led the way for the Knights, while Nicole Cusack stormed out of the gate with a 247 first game.
"It was a lot of fun today," said Victor, who had travelled to Cherry Bowl in the past as a fan but was competing in the tourney for the first time. "We worked together as a team so well."
The senior said that she and her teammates had to sweat a little until the final scores were posted confirming the Knights had made it to the second day, but adds that now the pressure is off.
"We already know that we're one of the top teams in the state," said Victor. "We're going to go out tomorrow and just do the best we can and see what happens."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.