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, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000. 1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city. 1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association. 1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College. 1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.