Leyden is looking to make history after the first day of the girls bowling state finals Friday at Cherry Bowl Lanes in Rockford.
But it remains to be seen whether reigning state champion Waubonsie Valley can slam the door on the Eagles’ attempt to claim the ultimate prize.
Waubonsie Valley dominated the action, racking up 6,422 pins to take a commanding 191 pin lead on Leyden. Machesney Park Harlem is in third, 341 pins behind.
Leyden, which is seeking its first state trophy in a girls sport, appears to be the only team with a legitimate shot at catching the Warriors.
“It was a great day,” Leyden coach Chris Aylward said. “We did what we knew we were capable of doing. We need a great performance tomorrow, but I’m happy with where we’re at.”
Waubonsie Valley senior Julia Bond leads the individual competition with 1,445 pins (240.8 average). But two Leyden bowlers are in the top five, including senior Reba Hall, who is second, just nine pins back.
“I bowled really well today,” said Hall, who opened with a 279 and closed with a 211, her lowest score. “I kind of went down a bit in my last game but you learn from your mistakes.
“I think I have a shot [the title], but anybody can win it. It can change game by game.”
Metea Valley senior Jordan Newham, her school’s first state qualifier, is in third, 23 pins back, followed by Joliet West senior Julie Kowalski (1,380) and Leyden senior Erika Pimentel (1,360).
Senior Nicole Lassin (1,265) and junior Ashley Kriston (1,177) were the other big contributors for Leyden.
“We just need to figure out that fifth spot,” Aylward said. “If we can have a day tomorrow like we did today, I think we can [get a trophy]. It would be very special to see these girls do that.”
But the top spot is Waubonsie’s to lose. The Warriors got great performances from Bond and seniors Rachael Felton (1,285) and Talyssa Melgoza (1,283), who are 20th and 21st, respectively.
Minooka headlined the other Chicago-area teams that advanced to the second day. The Indians are fifth with 5,947.
Oswego is ninth (5,843), Hoffman Estates 10th (5,837), Lockport 11th (5,834) and Joliet West 12th (5,823).
Other top individuals include Oswego East senior Kailey Kopacz, who is eighth (1,348), Hersey freshman Emma Wrenn (13th, 1,312), Trinity senior Tara Quinlan (17th, 1,305), and Sandburg senior Jessica Colson (18th, 1,292).