When the final pins fell and the lanes were clear, the tears began to roll.
Many veteran girls bowlers were visibly emotional as their high school careers came to a close Saturday at the Fremd Sectional. Few teams suffered worse than Loyola, which was comprised of five close-knit seniors.
“Personally, it really hasn’t sunk in yet,” senior Caty Frehe said. “I haven’t shed tears yet; I’m sure they’ll come eventually. It is really sad, because you don’t realize how much time you spend with these people.”
Frehe and her twin sister Rosie finished 25th and 39th, respectively, while Dana Jones was the Rambler’s top finisher in 20th place. The three seniors helped Loyola (5,251 pins) finish a solid seventh overall to cap off what might have been the team’s best season in school history.
“We’ve never had a team quite this good before,” coach Bruce Tres said.
“They’re all seniors, and they knew this was their last shot and they handled it real well. It’s tough knowing every shot you’re throwing is one less in your career.”
Krista Morgan and Erin Kollar were the other two seniors on the team.
Regina senior Mercedes Munoz earned an at-large berth to the state tournament after she tallied 1,207 pins at the sectional.
The state tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford.
As the day wore on Saturday, the lanes — and the scores — took a turn for the worse.
Many participants cited the conditions as “too dry,” and even the meet’s top two finishers — Conant freshman Angela Anzalone and Hoffman Estates junior Sarah Wille — suffered from declining pin totals in the afternoon session.
It didn’t seem like anybody was immune. Except for Evanston senior Breanna Bisbee, who apparently didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
Bisbee’s scores rose throughout the day until the final round, starting at 174 and following with 195, 214, 219, 220 and 159. As a result, Bisbee (1,181 pins) saw her placement skyrocket from the mid-20s to ninth place. Anzalone won the meet with 1,311 pins.
Bisbee was eligible for an at-large bid to state, but did not make the cut. Evanston finished in 12th place with 4,751 pins.
Barrington found pins hard to come by Saturday afternoon and finished a disappointing 16th (4,396). But for all the hardships and rough patches the team weathered during the meet, at least the Fillies were able to stick together.
And they literally were together.
The team’s top three finishers — the senior trio of Emily Sullivan, Hannah Hornig and Maddy Stagnito — came in at 67th, 68th and 69th place, respectively.
Not to be left out, the team’s other three bowlers, seniors Jaclyn Moncek, Aly Bainbridge and Emily Troxell, placed 71st, 73rd and 77th, respectively.
If Buffalo Grove girls bowling coach Jean Tripam had a time machine on Saturday afternoon, you had better believe she would have set the controls to one year in the future.
Although the Bison finished 13th out of 18 teams, Tripam expects 2014 to be a different story.
“I’m getting everybody back,” Tripam said. “I don’t graduate one senior, so that’s exciting. I’m hoping they do some work in the offseason, and I’m not expecting them to come out and shoot 1,100 a game, but I’m looking for consistency. That’s what any coach wants.”
Junior Anna Haller, who finished 36th, was Buffalo Grove’s top bowler with 1,034 total pins Saturday. The Bison may have gotten a glimpse of the future a year early, as freshman Joanna Savage was close behind in 44th place.
Buffalo Grove tallied 4,657 pins as a team, well behind first-place Conant (5,838 pins).
“I’m not sure about the future,” Savage said. “But I’m sure we’ll get some good bowlers and continue to improve.”