Arlington Lanes was packed to capacity Saturday, as all 40 alleys were taken by the 20 varsity and 20 JV teams competing in the Valhalla Invitational.
And as usual, things went like clockwork at the Fremd-hosted tournament.
The top six individual bowlers posted averages over 200, led by Leyden senior Reba Hall, who won the individual tourney crown with a 231.33 average.
Oswego took home the team title.
Hall, who was been a star bowler for the Eagles since her freshman year and has placed ninth and third at the state tourney the last two seasons, rolled top games of 236 and 235.
She's excelled every season at Valhalla, winning the invite 3 of 4 years.
"I'm looking to have fun this year," said Hall of her senior campaign. "I've taken a lot of pressure off myself by deciding on a college (McKendree University) to attend. I signed with them two weeks ago."
"Hopefully our team will go on to state again this year. It would be nice to go out by winning (the state team title) as half of our team is graduating this year."
Sophomore Kaitlyn Rudy of Stevenson (200.33 average, 204 top game) was sixth individually, while Ashley Kriston of Leyden (235 game) finished 10th, and Brooke Barges from Elk Grove (235) took 11th place.
Erika Pimentel of the Eagles pitched in with a 569 series, while Hersey's Emma Wrenn posted a 217 game enroute to a 568.
The composed Wrenn has been making an impact on a strong Huskies team despite being just a freshman, and said that making varsity as a frosh has posed a new set of challenges.
"I'm playing with and against some of the best and most experienced players in the state," said Wrenn, "so it's quite a bit different from starting out on the freshman team. But I love it, and I love the competition."
"Being at this tournament has been very exciting and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and developing along with my team."
Colleen VanDerMulen of Stevenson excelled with a 13th place finish that included a 215 game, while Buffalo Grove's Anna Haller rolled a 211 game enroute to a 183.67 average on the day.
Junior Brooke Leahy was best for the VIkings as she rolled the third best score of game one, a 212, to set the tone for the hosts for the rest of the meet.
There were some distractions for Leahy and her teammates being the tourney hosts, as they had to concentrate not only on their bowling but also had to help out with the younger players who were serving as score runners, in addition to being involved in the tourney bake sale.
Still, it obviously didn't affect the Vikings in the least as Leahy posted a 185.33 average while teammate Abby Peterson shot a 173 over the three games.
"It was fun today," said Leahy. "Our team was pushing each other to go out and do great things."
After an individual morning session, the tournament switched over to the "Baker " format in the afternoon, where each of five bowlers on the teams roll two frames in a team-oriented concept.
"I like the Baker," said Leahy. "It makes each of us focus a little more."
"Most of the college tournaments are Baker tournaments," added Hersey coach Julie Arias, "so it helps prepare the kids who want to move on to the next level."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.