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 Saturday, May 18, the 138th day of 2013. There are 227 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: A large variety of children's wagons and gigs have arrived in thecity and are being sold at war prices. 1888 -- 125 years ago: All Rock Island retail houses, with the exception of a clothingstore and a jewelry store, have agreed to early closing hours during the summer months.The store will be closed at 8 p.m. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Baseball enthusiasts in Rock Island are attempting to raise$20,000 to keep the Island City Park open, despite the fact that the city has no franchise inorganized baseball this year. 1938 -- 75 years ago: The organization of a third rural young people's unit will beundertaken tomorrow night at the Milan Presbyterian Church, with Mrs. Mildred K.Wellman, home advisor, and Robert Smith, county farm adviser in charge. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Deere & Co. will begin a "big switch" on its telephone systemMonday morning. The extension numbers of all 1,600 telephones on the firm's EastMoline and Moline exchanges will be changed Monday morning. 1988 -- 25 years ago: East Moline's June Jamboree VI -- Nostalgia Days, will seemlike a '60s revival with the appearance of stars like Bobby Vee, Freddie Cannon, PeterNoone, Turtles, The Grass Roots and Lou Christie. This year's festival has beenexpanded to five days, June 22-26, at the Northeast Park complex.