Wauconda's McKeel rolls to sectional title
Ever since Jasmine McKeel rolled her way to state last year, the Wauconda junior has wanted another chance to return to Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
McKeel put in a lot of hard work in the offseason and during the season, and was ready for her opportunity on Saturday. It turned out even better than she expected. McKeel knocked down more pins than anybody and won the Hoffman Estates sectional. She rolled a 1,377 over 6 games for a 229.5 average at Poplar Creek Bowl in Hoffman Estates.
Antioch (5,303) and Grant (5,194) finished second and third in earning spots at state next weekend. Schaumburg was the team champion with 5,914 and set a state high in its opening game with a 1,252. Buffalo Grove (5,160) advanced as well.
Other individuals who advanced included Lakes' Aubrey Kiddle (1,153), Barrington's Jenica Barron (1,246), Conant's Jenna Skweres (1,194) and Resurrection's Janna George (1,173).
McKeel had no idea that she was the front-runner in her final game. She was in a battle on the same pair with Schaumburg's Kylie Frick (1,352). Frick, who was on a spare to start the game, put together a string of 10 consecutive strikes before leaving a 10-pin on her last shot for a 289. But McKeel had a lead of 106 going into the last game and rolled a 208, leaving her 25 pins ahead of Frick.
"I knew the game before that (Frick) didn't bowl that well," McKeel said. "I knew I had I lead on her, but I didn't know by how much it was. I was going in thinking that we were even, so when she started striking, I was getting frustrated. At least I was able to make my spares."
McKeel's performance came after nearly winning both the Northern Lake County Conference meet and Antioch regional.
"It feels awesome. I put a lot of work in," McKeel said. "A lot of practice and coaching. It's starting to finally pay off, which is good. I knew since I've bowled here before that this would be a high-scoring house. I had to make shots and keep making my spares."
McKeel broke 200 in five of her six games. She rolled a 279 in game two, starting with 8 strikes. She finished the first session with a 225 and 194 for a 698 series. She then posted scores of 227, 244 and 208 for an afternoon set of 679.
Antioch, which will make a return trip to state, has come a long way this season with a young group. The Sequoits showed their potential in the NLCC meet and regional, both of which were at their own house, Antioch Lanes.
"I was looking at the scores coming in, and I thought we had a shot at this," Antioch coach Phil Lindberg said. "We always had the one lower game, but the other four bowlers picked us up. Man, these girls keep going. We have the talent. We just have to click on the same page as everybody else. These girls are impressing me. At the beginning of the year, I didn't think we had a chance with these girls being so young."
Allison Kane led Antioch with 1,149, followed by Allyssa Tanner (1,099), Alyssa Olson (1,093), Lynn Michalec (990) and Kayla Tikovitsch (972).
Grant made its way back to state for the first time in since 2009. The Bulldogs had to overcome a couple of bowlers who got injured -- Autumn Hernan (ankle) and Katie Dinschel (thumb).
"They work together as a team," Grant coach Beth Miller said. "When we're not hot, someone else will step it up. We had two firing today, and the other three picked it up a bit along with some other help."
Marisa Garcia was Grant's top bowler with 1,220. Other contributors were Madeline Cimo (1,128), Hernan (958), Hana Yazdani (924), Madison Knuth (798, 5 games) and Dinschel (166, 1 game).
Lakes' Kiddle secured the final individual spot with a 213. The sophomore was stunned to hear that her 1,153 allowed her to advance.
"I'm in complete shock after a bad fifth game," said Kiddle, who will be making her first trip to state. "I just tried to bowl my best in my last game. I know it will be very competitive (at state), and I will have to bowl my best."