Jacobs girls' bowling coach Jim Rood has plenty of reason to be optimistic this season.
The Golden Eagles return numerous key components from last year's team that went 58-23 overall and finished second in the Fox Valley Conference with a 47-16 mark.
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Part of that returning cast is Lyric Dodson, the team's MVP a year ago who set a school record with a high game of 262 (besting Jenn Rood's old mark of 261). Dodson earned all-FVC honors.
"Although the season was a success, our run of three consecutive FVC championships did come to an end," said Jim Rood. "We're looking forward to this season. Our team is poised to take back the FVC championship."
In addition to Dodson, seniors Alexis Cabrera, Zoe Carrie and Michelle "Strawberry" Morrison also are back. Junior MariClare "MC" Daniels, sophomore Kaitlyn Columbia and freshman Marie Beyer also will be competing for roles on the varsity squad.
Jacobs opened the season at the Stevenson invitational where it took fourth out of 12 teams. Daniels averaged 188 there. Beyer took first individually in the junior-varsity portion of the tournament. Jacobs was second in the JV team standings.
Jacobs will host its annual 36-team invitational Jan. 18.
Streamwood update: Streamwood competed in an invitational in Plainfield this past weekend and broke the 700-pin game barrier twice.
Senior Kaitlyn Strand and sophomore Jordan Ankebrant led the way for the Sabres. Ankebrant rolled 198, 204 and 210 games there.
"We're working hard in practice," said Streamwood coach Connie Kott. "We have a lot of new girls who are really trying to become better bowlers. They are supportive of each other. They cheer each other on and offer each other advice and tips while at practice. With 16 girls spread over three sets of lanes, I can't be at every lane. The nice thing is the more experienced bowlers are helping out the new girls."
Kott has 4 seniors and 2 sophomores on the varsity right now.
"I think we have a good group of bowlers this year," she said. "We have a good mix of talent and experience. If we bowl like we can, consistently, we can be in the Top 3 in our division."
The Sabres recently placed second at the Jim Hamrin U-46 invitational behind champion Larkin. Streamwood finished just 23 pins out of first place.
Kott said her squad did not bowl particularly well at the Hamrin meet, but improved in a loss to Waubonsie Valley on Tuesday.
"We bowled 700 each game (against Waubonsie) and the girls were more consistent," said Kott.
Streamwood hosts the Ray Maxwell invitational Dec. 14.
Huntley update: The Red Raiders are led by the trio of junior Shannon Walsh (183 average), junior Megan Sass (170 average) and freshman Marissa Bousk (168 average). Walsh rolled a 234 game in tryouts, while Bousk had a 230 and Sass recorded a 210.
Walsh played on the junior-varsity team last year and finished recent tryouts with an average almost 30 pins higher than last season.
"We have a great group of girls that really wants to work hard and improve," said Huntley coach Sandra Spear. "We're working together with new members to build a team. They are very dedicated to the team and making this the best season possible."
Huntley lost four seniors from last year's team.
"We saw some good scores during tryouts and look forward to revamping our squad with strong returning bowlers from last year as well as a few very talented freshmen," said Spear.
Spear said one key this season will be the ability to adjust to a road-heavy schedule.
"We have quite a few away meets this year so we will be working on adjusting to several different lane conditions," she said.
Elgin update: The Maroons are led by junior Breanna Tinder, who averages 170."We are very young this year. We have no seniors," said Elgin coach Andy LaScala. "We have 13 freshmen this year and they have the desire to learn how to bowl. We feel we should be in the middle of the pack this year in our conference."
South Elgin update: The Storm also will feature a youthful look this season. Currently, the program features five bowlers.
"I have no seniors," said Storm coach Bonnie Kott. "Many of the girls are beginning bowlers so I expect a year with girls improving their skills."
Bartlett update: The Hawks are led by returners Natalie Gonzalez (senior) and Raychel Corn (sophomore). Newcomers to the team include senior Valencia Howery and freshman Jocelyn Noyola.
"Over the last two weeks in practice I have seen great improvement," said Bartlett coach Jessica DeSanti. "We may be a small team, but we are fierce."