ALTON WINS REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP — The Alton High girls' bowling team took the first step for a postseason run on Saturday at the Alton Regional at Bowl Haven Lanes in Alton.
The Redbirds picked up 5,675 pins to earn the regional championship, breezing past runner-up Highland (5,163). The rest of the 13-team field rounded out with: Triad (5,024), Jersey (4,971), Taylorville (4,711), Pana (4,680), Roxana (4,097), Southwestern (3,882), Jacksonville Routt (3,801), East Alton-Wood River (3,789), Metro East Lutheran (3,645), Edwardsville (3,405) and Civic Memorial (3,378).
Alton's team now qualifies for the O'Fallon Sectional set for Feb. 14 at St. Clair Bowl in Fairview Heights. EA-WR advanced two individuals in juniors Kierstan Niethe and Shelby Yarbrough. Senior Deb Bethel will represent the Shells as their lone bowler at sectionals.
Senior Becca McBride of AHS led the way with 1,186 pins on the day, second only to North Mac's Natalie Koprowitz (1,255) who won the individual regional title.
Alton junior Eryka Graham was third with 1,185 pins. Graham turned in the best individual game of the day with a 268.
The rest of the Redbird lineup on Saturday included: Allison Steines (1,161), Ashley Heistand (1,111), Amanda Menke (863) and Chloe Greenberg (169).
Roxana's Bethel had the second best score for an individual on a non-advancing team, knocking down a total of 1,052 pins. For the Oilers, Niethe compiled 929 pins, while Yarbrough had 923 to make the cut.
Highland, Triad and Jersey also advanced to the sectional as teams.
Collinsville won the Cahokia Regional Saturday and qualifies for the O'Fallon Sectional along with O'Fallon, Mascoutah and Belleville East. At the Herrin Regional host Herrin won to advance to sectionals with Salem, Harrisburg and Waterloo.
The O'Fallon Sectional will begin at 9 a.m. on Feb. 14 and includes 12 teams and 30 additional individual bowlers. The top four teams and top five individuals on non-advancing teams move on to the state tournament at Cherry Bowl in Rockford on Feb. 20-21.