Girls bowling: Buffalo Grove's Howard looking forward to a banner season
At last year's IHSA girls state bowling championship tournament, Buffalo Grove's Rebecca Howard posted a strong performance on the first day of the two-day meet.
On Day 2, she was simply outstanding.
Howard, then a sophomore, fired games of 257 and 244 in the Saturday session en route to a two-day total of 2,390, which saw her place 23rd individually at the tourney in Rockford.
Howard averaged just under 200 for the weekend and had the second best score of any sophomore in the field.
"Rebecca was the anchor bowler for our varsity last year," said first-year Bison coach Chris Van Grondelle. "She was a varsity medalist, regional medalist and sectional medalist. She bowled very well for us."
Howard said that her memory of excelling at the sectional tournament and advancing to Cherry Bowl in Rockford for state was an emotional one.
"I wasn't expecting it, but it was a goal I had in mind," said Howard of her qualification out of the BG sectional, where she rolled an 1,196 to claim the final individual spot to move on to Rockford.
Then Howard made sure that her first state finals appearance was a memorable one, especially on the final day -- and she said that the experience she gained on the Cherry Bowl lanes in the first session gave her a boost in the Saturday finale.
"I got more comfortable," said Howard. "I just started to trust my shot and I trusted my coaches. They know what's best for me."
Howard is an all-around competitor who has played volleyball and softball in the past, and is a member of the Bison badminton squad where, according to Van Grondelle, she "has been a JV conference champion both years. She's an amazing athlete."
"She's made it her mission this year to be a great team leader and team captain. Rebecca is always willing to work with other kids. She has worked with some great programs and is determined to make our program something she is proud of."
For her part, Howard -- who finished sixth overall in the Mid-Suburban League last year -- agrees that it's important to promote the sport within her school.
"It's rewarding trying to get them to come out for the bowling team," said Howard. "You don't know how it is until you've tried it, and it's so exceptional to see the kids come out to a few practices and find out just how fun the sport can be. It's huge for them to see that early on."
Howard is just beginning to think about her college choices (her favorite class subjects are literature and reading), but that's in the future, and for right now Van Grondelle can be thankful that he has the talented standout for two more seasons.
"Our goal, of course, is to make it to state," said Howard of the upcoming season. "I'm always working on trying to improve the little things, like my balance and my timing. I try to work on something until I get the job done. It's one step at a time, and I'm trying to be very consistent in throwing the same shot time after time and be repetitive. Just keep going on and try to stay positive for my teammates."