Conant's Angela Anzalone may be only a freshman, but she's bowling like a seasoned veteran.
Wednesday night at Arlington Lanes, a clutch performance by Anzalone helped keep the Cougars in the thick of the Mid-Suburban League title race.
The frosh's 575 series helped push Conant past Rolling Meadows for a 7-2 win in the final meet of the season before Saturday's league championship tournament.
Elk Grove kept its hold on first place with a win over Palatine, led by a 214 game from Brooke Barges.
"This season has been all about the team helping each other out," said first-year Grens coach Jason Svehla. "If one of the girls has a bad game, someone else steps up."
Anzalone came into Wednesday's action in 12th place individually in the conference with a 180.27 average, and coach Jennifer Mikrut says the freshman has been a steady influence all season.
"She's such an asset to our team," said Mikrut of Anzalone. "Being a freshman, it did take her a little while to adjust to being with the older girls, but she's doing quite nicely.
"She's got a great, positive attitude."
For her part, Anzalone says it didn't take her too much time to adapt.
"I didn't know any of them (her teammates) to start out," said the frosh, "but they've been great at helping me fit in. I had a feeling that we were going to have a good season but I didn't know it was going to be quite this good."
Conant sophomore Jordyn Wagner added a 209 game while Courtney Slavich contributed with a 208 to help the Cougars stay in third place heading into Saturday, only 4.5 points away from the Grens.
Buffalo Grove defeated Hersey Wednesday as Joanne Savage fired a 223 game, while the Huskies' Zoe Sarbekian excelled with a 214.
Schaumburg (Danielle Yohe, 637 series and Shannon Maiers, 244 game) defeated Fremd, while Prospect topped Wheeling to roll into the conference tourney in second place, just 1 point back of Elk Grove.
Prospect rolled a 1,009 first game series enroute to the victory, and one of the big reasons for the Knights' success has been the return to form of senior Sam Victor.
"Sam missed some time in December due to illness," said Prospect coach Greg Troyer, "and she's just starting to come back strong.
"She's one of only two bowlers on our team this year with varsity experience (Meghan Mulcahy being the other), so we count on her quite a bit."
Victor was solid Wednesday with games of 188 and 184, and the senior said the missed time and the time off the bowlers have had recently due to finals and MLK day does take its toll.
"It affects your stamina," said Victor. "When you're bowling and bowling every day, it's easier to keep your energy level up. But when you have 'down time' it makes you tired fast the next time out."
Kayla Jagus (236 game) and Nicole Cusack (230) excelled to keep the Knights nipping at the Grenadiers' heels, and Victor says her team is looking for another season of success at the MSL tournament and beyond.
"We've got the potential -- we know what we're capable of," said the senior. "We've got to keeping picking up our spares and stay positive."
One thing coach Troyer is positive about is that Victor will be there, doing all she can for the Knights.
"She's a leader," said Troyer. "Sam is a very cerebral bowler and she spends a lot of time out there concentrating, so she's not the rah-rah type -- she's one of the quieter girls but she leads by example."