Scouting girls bowling sectionals / Northwest
What: Girls sectional bowling tournaments
Where: Various sites statewide
What's at stake: Advancement to the state finals next weekend at Cherry Bowl Lanes in Rockford.
The skinny: Eleven of the 12 Mid-Suburban League teams will compete at the Fremd sectional at Arlington Lanes in Arlington Heights, including the host Vikings, Hersey, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, Conant, Hoffman Estates, Prospect, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling. With the quality of talent and the outstanding track records of the teams involved, it'll be obviously one of the most competitive meets in the state. Only two teams can qualify for Cherry Bowl, and leading the charge will be the three-time defending MSL champion Grenadiers. "This was a great season for us," said Grens coach Jason Svehla. "I feel that if we bowl up to our abilities similar to last Saturday (at the MSL championship tourney) we should place well. Our entire team has stepped up to exceed expectations." Elk Grove boasts the league's second-place individual finisher in junior Kayleigh Duff (194.47), who gets a lot of support from teammates Abby Nix (eighth overall in the MSL), Allison Peters and Brooke Barges. Hoffman Estates junior Sarah Wille won the MSL individual title going away with a plus-200 average, and she and teammates Brandy Hoglund and Melyssa Donovan helped lead the Hawks to a second-place conference finish. Palatine jumped all the way from seventh to third in the league after a stellar showing at the conference tourney, and the Pirates are led by all-star senior Anna Lessner, who was third in the MSL with a 193.03 average. "Anna is just so accurate with her spares," said Palatine coach John Burke, "and this year she has all the pins falling down on her first shot quite a bit. She doesn't blast 'em -- she just knocks them all down." Burke said the conference tournament showing was a big confidence-builder for his team. "I think after they announced that we got third place, they realized just how good they are," said Burke. "I think I might have been more excited than they were." Conant placed fourth in the MSL, and coach Jennifer Mikrut says that the "girls work hard and are always cheering each other on." The Cougars received tremendous performances all season from Courtney Slavich (fifth in conference, 187.67) and Jordyn Wagner (6th, 185.85). "I'm so proud of what they've accomplished this year," said Mikrut. "After missing out on state as a team by a mere 8 pins last season, we're really hoping to earn a trip this year." Prospect had the conference's fourth-best bowler in Meghan Mulcahy (189.03), while Kayleigh Burnitz leads the host Vikings. Phoebe Kim had the top scores for Rolling Meadows. The top two individuals not part of qualifying teams (plus six sectional-wide at large bowlers) also will advance to Rockford, and looking for possibly one of those golden tickets will be Emily Sullivan of Barrington, Anna Haller from Buffalo Grove, Cailey Markiewicz from Wheeling and Hersey's Delanie Steinweg.
Other individuals to watch at Arlington Lanes include Maddy Stagnito (Barrington); Joanne Savage (Buffalo Grove); Jordyn Wagner, Annie Witt and Angela Anzalone (Conant); Gina Rowlett (Fremd); Marie Spychala (Hersey); Katie Conrad (Palatine); Nicole Cusack, Katelynn Bieber, Kayla Jagus (Prospect); Heather Hok (Wheeling)
Leyden looks to continue its incredible string of success at the St. Ignatius sectional at Town Hall Lanes in Cicero. The Eagles took sixth place in state in 2012 and their run has continued this season. Leyden was West Suburban Conference champions with an 8-0 record and there might not be a better bowler in Illinois than standout Reba Hall (third individually at Cherry Bowl last year). Danielle Trevino (who rolled a 693 earlier at Leyden's Headpin tournament), Ashley Kriston, Nicole Lassin and Nicole Pitsenbarger all excel for the Eagles. "I'm blessed with a talented team and we have the depth that very few teams have," said coach Chris Aylward of his Eagles, who won 6 tournaments this season, including at Stevenson and Streamwood, and finished second in two others. Aylward says he has high hopes for another state run but knows advancing out of Town Hall Lanes may be difficult. "It's an old wood-lane house," said Aylward, "and the lanes have some considerable wear on the heads, including peeling beyond the foul line. We're a little concerned about getting the ball through this area without it changing paths, but I think we'll be all right. I have a skilled team and I believe we'll be able to handle it."
Schaumburg is the only Mid-Suburban team not competing at Arlington Lanes as they'll host their own sectional at Poplar Creek in Hoffman Estates. The Saxons boasted four players in the MSL's top 25 this season: Danielle Yohe, Shannon Maiers, Sarah Schwind, and Samantha Hansel.
The other sectional tournaments will be hosted by Warren, Bremen, Reavis, Collinsville and East Moline United, Mount Vernon, Rich East, Plainfield North and Rockford Auburn.
What they're saying:
"Our sectional is going to be a real dogfight with us, Elk Grove, Hoffman, Conant, Palatine and Rolling Meadows all with legitimate shots at advancing, as do quality programs such as Resurrection and Loyola. We just hope to be right in the middle of it." -- Prospect coach Greg Troyer.
"The Fremd sectional is so tough -- it's made up of so many teams with a lot of talent. It's going to take six games of 900-plus to make it to state." -- Hoffman coach Dan Pfligler
-- Bill Esbrook