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 Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.