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 Sunday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2013. There are 23 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: For the whole of last week we have been favored with the most delightful Indian summer weather, and mercury ranging from 40 to 65 above zero. The river is entirely clear of ice and looks as mild and soft as summer. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Albert Johnson was appointed a deputy in the circuit clerk's office. 1913 -- 100 years ago: 800 or more tons of earth in six landslides covered 38th Street for a distance of 200 feet near 7th Avenue and destroyed much property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: One of the 350-foot towers, which with a new transmitter will increase the power of WHBF to 1,000 watts day and night, has been completed on a 20-acre tract at 23rd Avenue and 51st Street, Moline. 1963 -- 50 years ago: In cooperation with The Associated Press, The Argus presents to its readers a complete, beginning-to-end account of one of the most tragic and dreadful chapters in American history, the assassination of President Kennedy, available in book form, and now in preparation. The book is entitled "The Torch is Passed." 1988 -- 25 years ago: Deere & Co. stockholders received good news of a boost in their quarterly dividends from 20 to 30 cents per share of common stock. The dividend, made to stockholders of record on Dec. 30, will be payable on Feb. 1, 1989.