MORRIS – It was deja vu Saturday at Echo Lanes for the girls bowling sectionals as the same four teams that qualified for this sectional last week all advanced to the state finals next week; although this week it was in a different order over the six games.
Joliet West (6,124), Joliet Central (5,971) Minooka (5,906) and Lincoln-Way East (5,792) will travel to Cherry Bowl in Rockford for next Friday’s first day of the state bowling championships.
It was the first time since 2008 that four area teams placed in the top four at sectionals. It was also the first sectional title in the Tigers’ school history, along with the Steelmen and Griffins qualifying as a team for the first time in their school’s history.
The area also had two individual qualifiers: Olivia Daujatas from Lincoln-Way West finished sixth overall (1,243) and Plainfield South’s Savannah Magruder placed 8th (1,236).
In winning their first sectional team title, the Tigers also had their first individual sectional champion as sophomore Brooklin Chavez rolled a 1,388. Her afternoon three games were 248, 257 and 266 to propel her to the title.
“I’m overwhelmed and I’ve never felt like this before,” Chavez said. “To be a part of all this with this team is special. We knew we really wanted this today, and we came together like the family that we are. We were so together today, the best we have been all season. We really helped each other, had great enthusiasm and it was a fun day.”
West also received an 11th-place finish from Taylor Wagner (1,221). The Tigers took the lead in the fourth game and never looked back.
“This feels pretty darn good,” Tigers coach Jeff Bailey said. “We have had trouble finding our identity all season, but these last few weeks this team really came together. We talked with them about the importance of staying together as teammates and friends. I couldn’t be more proud of this group and the best thing about today was that we used all eight bowlers and they all did a fantastic job.”
Central shot a school record 1,130 last game to push them into second and a place in school history.
“I can’t put into words what this means,” Steelmen coach Steve Perion said. “It all started this past summer and these girls worked hard and they believed in themselves. We have been getting better all season long, and this was our goal to achieve and it feels so good. This is really an unbelievable feeling.”
Central was led by the fourth-place finish of Devon Thomas (1,266), the 12th-place finish of Heidi Johnson (1,212) and the 18th-place finish of Jocelyn Hernandez (1,183).
Minooka had the sectional runner-up in sophomore Kiara Backstrom (1,324), a seventh-place finish from Alyssa Ritchie (1,237) and Megan Gillson placed 14th (1,210) as the Indians also used all eight bowlers.
“It was a little letdown after last week, but sometimes you have to be a realist as it was a totally different shot today than last week,” Minooka coach Frank Yudzentis said. “But I’m glad it happened this week and we learned from this today. We will be ready for next week.”
“I was so stressed all day, but this feels so good,” East coach Carlie Premo said. “My job today was not to let any pressure get to the girls, I just wanted to keep them loose, not let them know anything and have fun bowling. Really, I can’t begin to describe the feeling of going to state for the first time in school history as a team.”
East had Sydney Tyler finish 10th (1,227), Katelyn Marks in 16th (1,197) and Angela Juskie in 17th (1,197).