PERU – Heading into and throughout the mid-series lunch break at Saturday’s La Salle-Peru Sectional hosted by Illinois Valley Super Bowl, the Joliet West girls bowling team had just catapulted into first place ahead of the host Cavaliers.
That place atop the team leaderboard did not last through the afternoon session, but the Tigers’ excellent day and berth in next weekend’s IHSA State Finals at The Cherry Lanes in Rockford definitely did.
With a team score of 5,703, Joliet West finished 28 pins behind sectional champion La Salle-Peru to earn runner-ups honors and one of four team berths to state. Also advancing as teams were third-place Minooka (5,407) and fourth-place Rock Island (5,087).
Joliet West led at the mid-series break, but was slightly outscored by L-P in each of the three afternoon games despite having two competitors in the day’s top five – fifth-place Ella Steinke with a 1,231 series (227, 256, 202, 199 high games) and fourth-place Malaya Chavez with her 1,269 (203, 234, 216, 201, 223).
“I’m proud of our team ... and I’m not going to say I carried my team because they know how to carry themselves,” Chavez said. “We’re all different bowlers and different individuals, but we all bowl really great together when we know we can do it.
“I know I can do a lot better individually. I was inconsistent today and wish I got a couple more spares, but I’m so excited for next week.”
Gracie French with a 1,094 (199), Maddie Millsaps with a 1,071 series (221) and Macey Wharry with a high game (225) also led Joliet West.
Minooka was led to state by Bri Gillson and her third-place 1,297 series (253, 222, 207, 234 high games). Also topping 1,000 pins were Ashlee Pruim’s 1,038 (196), Annie Honsik’s 1,033 (224) and Jenna Ritchie’s 1,004 (206, 267) despite bowling only five of the six games, with Natalie Scheldhouse adding a high game (210) as well.
Lincoln-Way West (5,008) placed sixth as a team and was 79 pins away from the final advancing spot, led by Chloe Greep’s 1,045 series (190, 201 high game), Maddie Kukulka’s 1,009 (190), Allie Dague’s 991 (211) and Katy Skonicki’s 966 (202). Madeline Dul added a high game of 205.
The only individuals to score higher than Gillson were Galesburg individual sectional champion Chloe Day and her 1,381 (227, 279, 245, 205, 202, 223) and runner-up Abby Nolan of Lincoln-Way Central with her 1,327 series (256, 233, 246, 196, 212 high games). Both easily earned individual state spots.
“I came in a little nervous but I wanted to get revenge for my sophomore year and missing state by 15 [pins],” Nolan said. “I just stayed focused, hit my mark and followed through, and the pins fell where they fell.”
Other area sectional qualifiers competing as individuals included: Joliet Central’s Mia Cerrillo with a 1,075 series (214, 194 high games) and Maddalynn Butler with her 949; Providence’s Carly Kowalik rolling a 1,092 (194, 234); Lincoln-Way Central’s Samantha Mann via a 951; and Reed-Custer’s Elizabeth Wietting with an 860 series.