DeKALB – The Sycamore girls bowling team finally got over the hump and is headed to the IHSA state tournament next weekend, as it finished second at the Kaneland Sectional behind Harlem.
For the Barbs, who snuck into the sectional with a fourth-place finish at their own regional last week, there was no dramatics this time. DeKalb finished in seventh place despite a late run in the final game. It was the only team not to advance to score more than 1,000 pins.
“Today overall was pretty good. We shot a 5,557, which is really, really good for us. We stayed above average, but we didn’t have enough to compete with the top four,” DeKalb coach Mike Davis said.
Despite dominating the Northern Illinois Big 12 conference and advancing to regionals the past two years, Sycamore had faltered at sectionals.
“We’ve had a lot of success. Somehow the sectional has been a speed bump that we just couldn’t get over. It’s a great relief. These girls have worked so hard and so long. It’s something they wanted really, really badly,” Sycamore coach Andy Hampton said.
After cruising through the first three games, the Spartans started to slip up in the fourth game right after lunch, scoring their tournament low of 936 and repeating history from the past two years.
“That fourth game, we came out of lunch and we had some problems. We gave a lot of pins back,” Hampton said. “I thought ‘I’ve seen this show before, and I don’t like the way that it ends.’”
The Spartans snapped back in the final two games to power into second place behind 991 and 1,051 in the final two games.
“We just have to keep the energy up and try to keep each other’s heads up. Kind of carry each other to help find out what’s wrong,” Spartan junior Heather Carlson said.
Following up on her second-place finish at regionals last week, Sycamore sophomore Megan Kolberg again led the team with a 1,375, finishing only
two pins behind the sectional individual champion, Treasure Childs of Harlem.
“I’m at a loss for words. It was a long, rough day,” Kolberg said. “A lot of the day consisted of that frame, that game, that part of the day is over. We need to move on. I feel that’s how we got through today.”
DeKalb’s top bowler, junior Reagan Harold, finished 17th overall and missed out on advancing to the state tournament as an individual by 17 pins.
“I was definitely better than last week. I’m really proud of myself because I came back a lot. Obviously, I’m a little disappointed. I was 17 pins out, but I’ll be back next year,” Harold said.
Freeport and Guilford rounded out the top four advancing teams.
For Sycamore, Hampton was excited to move on.
“It’s a great day,” Hampton said. “Today is a great day to be a Spartan.”
By the numbers: Spartan junior Heather Carlson finished 12th overall with a 1,265. DeKalb sophomore Makala Rae finished 23rd with 1,205.
Beyond the stats: Despite having a rough tournament and scoring well below her average most of the day, Sycamore’s Delaney Jones’ score of 230 helped power the Spartans to a final game of 1,051, which propelled them to second place.
They said it: “We have this term that we talk about called driving the bus. Sometimes you’re riding the bus, sometimes driving the bus,” Hampton said. “That’s what happened in Game 6. I said [to Delaney Jones], ‘I guess you’re driving the bus.’ ”
Up next: Sycamore will compete in the state bowling tournament at the Cherry Bowl on Friday and Saturday in Rockford.