In just their second season, the Moline girls' bowling team proved no standard was too high, no moment too big and no accomplishment was unattainable.
The Maroons continued to break new ground, winning the the United Township Sectional on Saturday at Highland Park Bowl. Moline, who five days earlier won its first-ever Western Big 6 Conference title, repeated as the sectional champion.
Moline (6,119) put together a dominant performance, finishing 577 pins ahead of runner-up Sterling. United Township finished third (5,447) and Rock Island landed seventh (4,981).
After earning a shocking runner-up finish at the Galesburg Sectional last season, it will be the second state berth in as many years for the Moline.
The Maroons' Jessica Howell won the individual title with a six-game score of 1,360 pins.
Howell became the first Big 6 bowler to win the individual sectional title since UT's Kaleigh Spooner in 2007.
"All of our hard work has paid off," Howell said. "It's awesome to say that in only our second year we are going to state for a second time. Our coach (Matt Woods) told us that our score is a state number. If we score like we did at sectionals, we have a chance of placing very high at state."
The Maroons' score is the fourth-best sectional result reported in the state.
Moline's Aimee Becht finished second (1,315 pins), Brooke Lodge was fifth (1,227), Kiley Miller took seventh (1,212) and Hannah Ceurvorst rolled to a score of 1,005.
Despite being transfers from United Township, Becht and Lodge have been welcomed additions and attribute the team's success to chemistry.
"It gets your energy pumping," said Becht of the team's tightly knit group. "It influences you to do better, and the more you play as a team, the more you develop that connection. The more you have that connection the better you will do."
And with the state meet starting Friday at Rockford's Cherry Bowl, there is a chance the Maroons can earn another first.
"We want to get first," Lodge said. "We've been winning everything so far, and we are going to work hard to make that happen."
After a strong performance in the morning, UT was vying for the pivotal second-place spot that would earn them a state berth, but the Panthers fell victim to a hard-luck fifth-game score of 778.
That allowed defending champion Sterling to pass the Panthers for second, and the final state spot by 95 pins.
Rock Island's Jordan Sholl led Rocky with a pin count 1109.
Today is Wednesday, July 30, the 211th day of 2014. There are 154 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: After Sept. 1, every small box of matches will be required to have a 3 cent duty Lincoln stamp on it, and every large box will be one cent for every 100 matches. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Rock Island residents had contributed a total of $1,293 to the American Red Cross for the Johnstown flood relief fund. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Capt. Clark Means, new darkhorse twirler for the ARGUS staff, was in great form in his initial contest as a mound laborer. The result was that THE ARGUS trimmed the Union 6-5. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Hunter and Humprey Moody, young Decatur, Ill, brothers, lack only a few hours of establishing a new world light plane endurance record. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Gates of the 110th annual Mercer County Fair swing open tonight at Aledo for a full week of day and night activity. More that $36,000 will be paid in premiums and race purses. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The baseball field carved out of the cornfield near Dyersville, Iowa, continues to keep dreams alive for hundreds of visitors. Tourists from 26 state and France have visited Dan Lansing's farm to see the baseball diamond seen in the hit movie "Field of Dreams."