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updated: 2/9/2013 8:11 PM

Big finishes for Hoffman's Wille, Palatine's Conrad

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By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent

Sarah Wille of Hoffman Estates and Katie Conrad of Palatine didn't let the frenetic atmosphere of Cherry Bowl Lanes bother them in the least.

As a matter of fact, the junior bowlers thrived in it.

In the jam-packed setting of the Rockford alley -- one that a fan rightly called "organized chaos" -- Conrad and Wille showed their mettle by placing in the top 20 at Saturday's state tournament.

"It was simply amazing," said Conrad, who excelled with games of 256 and 220 Saturday enroute to a two-day total pinfall of 2,493 in her first appearance at Cherry Bowl. "There's nothing that can you prepare you for this. It's awesome.

"Being here was a great adrenaline rush. I think it's the best thing about girls bowling in the state, and I hope I'm lucky enough to make it back next year."

Waubonsie Valley won the team crown at Rockford behind the support of throngs of enthusiastic fans. Senior Giselle Poss from Oswego East was the individual titleist, and Reba Hall from Leyden enjoyed another stellar meet at Cherry Bowl.

Hall's two games of 238 on the second day saw her finish ninth after placing in third last year as a sophomore, and this season her showing led the Eagles to seventh place as a team.

Erika Pimentel (2,336 two-day 12-game total) and sophomore Ashley Kriston (2,434, 257 game Saturday) gave a big assist to Leyden's first-class day.

"We worked together so well this year," said Kriston. "We wanted to come out here today and have fun and remember the moment, and whatever place we ended up finishing would just be a bonus."

Prospect ended the tourney with an 11th-place finish led by Nicole Cusack, who fired games of 232 and 214 in the final day's afternoon session.

Junior Meghan Mulcahy got the Knights off to a strong start by rolling a 233 in the first game of the day.

Although Mid-Suburban League rival Conant didn't advance to the second day as a team, two Cougars bowlers made it through as individuals.

Conant senior Courtney Slavich ended her prep career on a high note with a 202 final game that followed a 235 earlier in the session, while frosh Angela Anzalone departed the day's proceedings with the memory of a 248 game one.

For Mid-Suburban champion Wille, who led the conference this season with a plus 200 average, it was another state tournament to remember.

As a sophomore in 2012, Wille bowled her way to a 16th-place finish. She matched that placement this year despite what she considered a subpar performance on Day 1.

"I didn't come out focused (Fridah)," said the junior. "I also was a little nervous, and I was feeling a lot of pressure."

Wille shook all that off to post one of the best scores of the day Saturday, a 6-game series of 1343 that included 5 games over 200 (including games of 247 and 239).

"I used a different ball today," said Wille, "and that made a big difference. But the biggest difference was that I was focused on the task at hand."

Now the MSL champ, who competed this season as an individual at Cherry Bowl, is looking forward to an all-or-nothing campaign next year when she'll be a senior.

"I was hoping to place in the top 10 this year." said Wille. "That didn't happen, so I'm going to go all-out next season. I just hope can be here as part of a team and share that experience with my teammates."

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