Girls bowling: Buffalo Grove, Wauconda's McKeel champs at Zion-Benton sectional
Jasmine McKeel of Wauconda was near perfect in her second game at Sunset Bowl in Waukegan on Saturday.
She threw 11 straight strikes and on her 12th and final shot, she left two pins standing, the 4 and 7, for a 298 high game. Her other games were 164 and 248 for a 710 series through the first three games. She finished with a 222, 219 and 202 for a 643 over her last three.
McKeel finished as the Zion-Benton sectional individual champion and top qualifier with 1,353 pins. She's never had a perfect game of 300, but has a career-best 299.
"I was so nervous," McKeel said. "I was so fast and was so really amped up. I've had the front 11 before and thought I had It this time. So, I got slow on that shot and was so nervous. I was all shaking. I had the shot come up high and as a team we got over a 1,000."
Wauconda posted its highest team score of the season with 1,020 in that game.
However, McKeel really wanted the rest of team to join her at state, but the Bulldogs missed making it by two pins
"It's kind of heartbreaking," McKeel said. "I figured this year we had the best chance going as a team. We did have some pretty good bowlers this year. It's kind of bittersweet. It's nice to make it as an individual, but we were so close to making it as a team. It was pretty heartbreaking."
Buffalo Grove won the Schaumburg regional and the Mid-Suburban League. The Bison came out with a strong finish over their last three games Saturday, moving into first place after game four with a 947, then followed up with a 1,034 and an 881 for a 2,852 that followed a morning series of 2,925 with a team total of 5,787 to win the team championship.
"We were bowling very consistently all day long," Buffalo Grove coach Chris VanGrondelle said. "Even the games in the afternoon, we just continued what we were doing in he morning. It was a total team effort and we had six girls going. Everybody's really contributed very well. It's been pretty exciting for us."
Conant (5,576), Antioch (5,573) and Hersey (5,496) were the other teams that qualified for the state tournament next weekend at Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
Buffalo Grove was led by Sara Clay (1,296), Rebecca Howard (1,199), Quinn Donohue (1,126), Mia Shiakalis (1,097), Ally Howard (681) and Kelly Allaire (388).
Conant will be making its first trip to state since 2013.
"It was our goal all season, this group of girls has worked real hard," Cougars coach Jennifer Mikrut said, "especially, over the last few weeks. We have been practicing hours upon hours. As a coach, I couldn't be more proud."
The Cougars' bowlers included Elizabeth White (1,293), Cassandra Hyland (1,220), Jemma Skweres (1,134), Mia Germaine (958) and Jessica Rosales (911).
Antioch will be making a trip back to state for a third straight year.
"We were ahead for the first three games," Antioch coach Phil Lindberg said. "After transition period, we just lost it. We'll get it back this week and we want to make the second day."
The Sequoits' bowlers were Lynn Michalec (1,233), Alyssa Olson (1,139), Alyssa Tanner (1,137), Allison Kane (1,070) and Ashley Lubkeman (994).
Hersey reached state on the last game, just getting past Wauconda by two pins.
"We did have a solid afternoon" Hersey coach Mark Gunther said. "We almost broke a school record to start and just bowled some very good games. The girls hung in and knew we were chasing a mountain. We stayed in it and bowled so mentally tough today. We bowled six bowlers and they picked each other up."
The Huskies were led by Maddie Ritter (1,208), Morgan Breden (1,163), Sydney Pape (1,096), Janine Boyan (1,009), Lauren Brown (522) and Molly Leno (496).
The other four individuals that qualified were Schaumburg's Haylie Frick (1,217), Anna Ziebell of Waukegan (1,211), Lakes' Aubrey Kittle (1,199) and Kaiilina Lainez of Niles North (1,186).