Metea Valley bowler Jordan Newham and her teammates heard all the noise coming from St. Charles North’s lane in the fifth game at Aurora’s Parkside Lanes in Saturday’s Metea Valley Regional, and they knew their big lead had dwindled.
It was going to take a bold stand in the sixth and final game to preserve the lead and Newham provided it by starting with four straight strikes. She went on to the individual championship and her teammates followed suit as the Mustangs emerged with a 5,620 total pinfall and the regional tourney crown at their home alley.
“We were definitely aware it got down near 20 pins, but I think that helped us in the end to pull through and to push harder as a team,” said Newham, a junior. “We heard [the noise] but we were pretty much trying to worry about our own individual games and to bowl as a team. We weren’t thinking about them.
“I think the (strikes) gave us some momentum, and in general that everyone had a good start to the last game. And it went on throughout the game.”
Newham, who was third in the Upstate Eight meet and won the Reavis Invitational, put three more strikes together later in the final game, and left a single pin that she cleaned up in the other three frames and finished the final game with a 246 and a 1,378 total. She won individual honors by 158 pins over St. Charles North’s Ashley Montgomery.
Newham had a meet-high 255 in her second game and the Mustangs had a comfortable 90-pin lead going into the fifth game before North made all its noise with a 936 to Metea Valley’s 872, so the Mustangs’ lead had shrunk to 26 pins. In the last game North rolled an 839 to Metea’s 965. Metea’s Shannon Jean had a 1,176 (fourth overall) with a 191 in the last game. Breanna Grafton rolled 195 for a 1,078 and Alexis Dowell a 184 for 1,047.
“Shannon sprained her thumb a few weeks ago, so we weren’t even sure if she’d be able to bowl,” Newham said. “She’d only been able to do three games, but she was able to go the whole day today and it was really important.”
Metea Valley has never had a team qualify for state and will try next week at Freeport. Also making sectional as a team were St. Charles North (5,472), St. Charles East (4,671) and Larkin (4,383).
“Today was probably our worst day all season,” North coach Lindsay Madej said. “We’ve had three 1,100 games and today we were struggling to get to 900.”
“But our ultimate goal was just to make it to sectional as a team and we did that,” said North senior Bobbie Jo Buhlman, who rolled a 1,161 for fifth overall.
North also had a 1,036 by Lynn Byers and 1,023 from Mari Elias and 895 for five games by Jessica Miller. East was led by third-place finisher Erin Heuer (1,177) and Dana Brandt (1,138).
Larkin came from behind to outduel Streamwood for the final sectional team spot, coming up with an 800 in the final game to the Sabres’ 686 to win 4,383 to 4,249.
Jordan Dick had a 1,004 to lead the Royals, while Rachael McDonough rolled 890, including 208 in the final game. Haley Hansen had 888, Jennifer Lascon 823 and Isabel Guadalajara 778.
“I was really proud of our young team, with all our sophomores and juniors,” coach Rich Heisel said. “Jordan struggled the last game, but really got us into position before that.”
Individually, Bartlett’s Raychel Korn (1,098) and Natalie Gonzalez (912), Streamwood’s Jordan Ankebrant (971), Kristin Strand (935) and Kelsey Strand (886), Elgin’s Breanna Tinder (950), Westminster Christian’s Lauren Mason (915), IMSA’s Vivian Chau (1,018), Kaneland’s Christie Crews (908) and Geneva’s Brenna Baumgartner (859) also advanced.