Angela Anzalone wasn't just bowling for herself and her teammates at Saturday's regional tournament.
She was also dedicating her performance to her late grandfather.
Eugene Anzalone passed way last week, and Angela said that he was a "great supporter" of her athletic efforts at Conant.
Somewhere up there, grandpa had to have a big smile on his face Saturday as his granddaughter excelled at Hoffman Bowl.
Anzalone had the top score by a wide margin with a 6-game total of 1,303 in leading her team to a berth at next week's Zion-Benton sectional.
The sophomore averaged 217.17 for the day, almost 10 pins better than her nearest competitor.
"I'm so happy I was able to do well," said Anzalone. "I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of my teammates."
"This was a special day for Angela," said Cougars coach Jennifer Mikrut. "She told me that it was important for her to be here and to do well today. I even offered her some time off (from practice) during the week, but she wanted to be with her teammates. She said that her grandfather would have wanted it that way."
Conant, Elk Grove (winners of the regional with a score of 5,695), Schaumburg and Mid-Suburban League champion Hoffman Estates all advanced to next weeks's sectional tournament.
Saturday was the first-ever set of girls bowling regional meets throughout the state.
"This is something we've been trying to push through since 2009," said Prospect coach Greg Troyer, who is also the director of the High School Girls Bowling Association. "Our sport has become too big for just sectionals and state."
"I think we have about 236 teams competing this year, and it wouldn't be fair to just have 12 sectionals and two teams come out of each sectional. Instead of giving out 48 sectional medals, now we're giving out 24 sectional medals but also 72 regional medals."
"As a by-product of this, it gives some teams who might not have advanced in the previous format the opportunity to get out of regionals and excel at the sectional tournaments."
Hoffman Estates senior Sarah Wille, who had the top game of the day (a 266) and also posted a 206.67 average on the afternoon, said she saw some pluses and minuses in the new format.
"One one hand, there was a little less pressure because we knew four teams would get out today instead of two," said Wille, "but the downside is you've got to wait an extra week to get to the state tournament."
Schaumburg senior Danielle Yohe fired the fourth-best score of the tourney, a 1,182, as the Saxons rebounded from a roller-coaster MSL season performance to post the second-best regional tournament score, a 5,666 mark.
"This is awesome," said Yohe. "I honestly didn't realize how well I did until they called my name (at the awards ceremony).
"We all came out with a positive attitude today," added the senior. "We had the mindset that we were going to advance. I think we all realized it when we bowled a 1,042 game (in the fifth game of the meet.)"
Elk Grove senior Kayleigh Duff rolled a 1,248 to finish second individually, boasting three games over 200 including a 246.
Jamie Hicks shot 1,163, including a 232 game, to assist in the Grenadiers' advancement, while the Saxons' Kaitlyn Azevedo (1,159, 240), Shannon Maiers (1,155, 236) and Sarah Schwind (1,144, 211) all made clutch contributions to the Schaumburg effort.
Individually, Prospect bowlers Meghan Mulcahy, Jessica Skudlarek and Arie Upshaw qualified for the Zion-Benton sectional.
Junior Lisa Rolden of Rolling Meadows also advanced, while Brandy Hoglund (1142), Amanda Richae (1123), and Jordyn Fera (1031) all assisted in MSL champion Hoffman Estates' effort.
"The difference between this year and last year," said Fera, a sophomore, "is that we have lots of girls who can pick each other up. If one of us has a bad game the others will do well, and that's very reassuring."
Despite being a sophomore, Fera said the excitement of the regional tourney didn't affect her.
"I play softball," said Fera," so I'm used to being in pressure situations."
Buffalo Grove regional: Dundee-Crown took top team honors with a pinfall of 5,498 and Stevenson sophomore Kaitlyn Rudy took top individual honors after rolling 1,233 at Arlington Lanes.
Libertyville took second place at 5,475, and joining them in the team at the Zion-Benton sectional will be third-place Palatine (5,416) and fourth-place Hersey (5,385).
The top effort from Libertyville came from senior Natalie Zeng (1,198). Also contributing for the Wildcats were junior Kaci Cibrario (1,145), sophomore Taylor Sloan (1,071), sophomore Emma Davellis (1,043) and freshman Ally Doherty (1,018).
Senior Katie Conrad and Abby O'Brien led the way for Palatine, rolling 1,208 and 1,134, respectively. Also contributing to the total were junior Kayla Ure (1,131), sophomore Rachael Taylor (982) and junior Stephanie Berber (961).
Freshman Emma Wrenn led Hersey with a 1,206 and the Huskies also counted efforts from sophomore Zoe Sarbekian (1,135), junior Marissa Allen (1,073), junior Delanie Steinwig (1,033) as well as Emily Butler, Ashley Hoffman and Kati Roscoe.
Individuals earning a sectional appearance were Barrington freshman Sarah Tenyer (1,189), Vernon Hills' Kelly Kalsch (1,133), Meghan Calderone (1,114) and Svetlana Sadovskaya (1,043), Fremd's Gina Rowlett (1,097) and Abby Peterson (1,051), Buffalo Grove's Jessica Soskich (1,057) and Stevenson's Colleen VanDerMulen (1,050).
Resurrection regional: Leyden senior Reba Hall supplied a big performance, rolling 1,451 to help the Eagles dominate the team results at Habetler Bowl in Chicago and earn a spot in the sectional it will host next weekend.
Leyden also got strong efforts from senior Erika Pimentel (1,312), junior Ashley Kriston (1,214) and senior Nicole Lassin (1.176).