Darcy Lange and her Hoffman Estates teammates are headed back to the state finals.
Lange, a senior, got the Hawks out of the gate Saturday in a hurry with a 228 in Game 1 at the Buffalo Grove girls bowling sectional tournament.
The Hawks rolled on from there, finishing with a 5,927 grand total pinfall to win the sectional and reserve their spot in the IHSA state tournament at the Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
Hoffman Estates took fifth place at last year's tournament finals.
"We wanted to make sure today, no matter what," said Lange, "to have diagonals on the scoreboard. We came in with a good attitude. We always pick each other up. That's what brings us back to state every year."
Schaumburg also qualified for Rockford based on its second-place total of 5,688 pins.
Saxons junior Kylie Frick won the first-place individual medal. Her 250 in Game 6 propelled her to the crown, as she averaged 221.17 on the day for the 6 games.
Frick was also Mid-Suburban League titleist this year in addition to winning the Lake Zurich regional.
"I didn't know much about individual standings going into the second half of the tournament," said Frick. "I knew that a couple of girls were ahead of me, and I wanted to stay strong for myself and my team. I focused and I got my game where it needed to be, and was able to finish and secure my spot."
Frick's sister Haylie, a freshman, marked games of 221 and 212 to boost her team's advancement.
"We bowled so well as a team," said Haylie Frick. "We pushed through everything, and I'm so excited to be able to bowl (at state) with my sister.
"As a team this was our main goal, to make it to state. We reached a lot of goals this year, and this was our biggest one."
Saxons coach Mark Kelly said he appreciated the effort of his entire team.
"We wanted to stay the course and realize today that it was a marathon and not a sprint," said Kelly. "They stayed the course and I'm happy for them."
Buffalo Grove sophomore Rebecca Howard is proving that she has a flair for the dramatic.
Last week Howard shot a 288 final game to advance out of regionals at Deer Park, and Saturday she counted a 226 in Game 6 to vault over several competitors and claim the final individual qualifying spot for the Cherry Bowl.
The sophomore said she had no idea what place she was in heading into the last game.
"I didn't want to know," said Howard. "I was trying to block out anybody from telling me. I just wanted to focus on my game. But the last few frames it really hit me and I was able to power through at the end."
Howard said she didn't realize that she'd advanced until the awards were announced at the end of the day.
"I started crying," said the sophomore, "because I knew this (the state trip) is going to be a great experience, and after that I've got the next two years to improve."
Warren and Antioch earned the other two team qualifications, while Conant sophomore Elizabeth White excelled.
Not only will White move on to Rockford, but her total pinfall of 1,294 -- including games of 250, 245 and 236 -- saw her win the second-place overall medal.
Junior Jenica Baron of Barrington (1,249, 258) also earned one of the five individual tickets to the Cherry Bowl.
Fremd finished fifth as a team, with Piper Miles leading the way with a 222 game and 1,184 series.
For the sectional winners, Hoffman junior Alexis Orwat was outstanding with games of 247 and 226 enroute to a 1297 6-game series, good for the third-place individual medal.
Kelly Paradowski (1239, 237), Allura Magsino (1155, 234) and Emilie St. Clair (1148, 253) all contributed to the Hawks' victory.
"We like to start with a lead so we don't have to worry and have to work our way back up," said Paradowski of Hoffman's hot start Saturday.
"I was pretty confident coming in to today," Magsino said. "We knew what we were going to be and what we had to do. All we had to do was focus on our marks and take it one frame at a time, and we really did that well today."
Lange said now that the Hawks have made it back to Rockford, they're looking to bring some hardware back to Hoffman Estates.
"Last year we were fifth," said the senior. "This year we're going to bring a trophy home."