The Alton High School girls bowling team rolled themselves into the ISHA Girls State Bowling Tournament next weekend in Rockford with a third-place finish at sectionals.
The top four teams will advance to the state tournament, with the host team finishing behind two Southwestern Conference rivals Saturday at Bowl Haven in Alton.
However, O’Fallon and Collinsville have yet to see the last of the Redbirds.
It was a close race for the top spot. O’Fallon came out in first place with 5,552 pins to runner-up Collinsville’s 5,548. Alton narrowly finished in third place with 5,523 pins.
The Herrin Tigers grabbed the final team-qualifying position with 5,378 pins.
The Redbirds used eight bowlers to advance out of Saturday's tournament; Alton sophomore Eryka Graham was tops for her team with a total of 1,239, alongside Alton senior Abbie Reilly with 1,184 and junior Allison Steines with 1,068. Other totals for the Redbirds were junior Becca McBride, 667; junior Amanda Menke, 660; freshman Ashley Heistand, 388; freshman Claire Gorman, 172; and sophomore Chloe Greenberg, 145.
“ It was good to see some of our conference teams finish in the top spots,” Redbird head coach Jeff Woszczynski said. “I would had liked to have been first, but we’re through to the state tournament. That was the goal. I still think we’re one of the best teams in the state. We’ll get a chance to prove it.”
Belleville East’s Katey Sauerwein grabbed individual honors with a total of 1,261 pins. She will advance to the Rockford tournament next weekend, along with the other top four individuals not on qualifying teams.
Other individual bowlers who advanced included Rebecca Stricklin, of Harrisburg, at 1,229; Michelle Fresnen, of Triad, at 1,182; Carbondale’s Kaylan Talley at 1,173 and Salem’s Morgan Vanhoutin at 1,183.
Bowling will begin at 9 am. Friday at the Girls State Tournament at Cherry Bowl in Rockford, with the final round to be held Saturday.