The road to the Illinois High School Association boys state bowling tournament begins Saturday, when sectional competition takes place at bowling centers throughout the state.
Metro-east teams will compete at sectionals which are being hosted by Cahokia, Alton and Mount Vernon high schools, beginning at 9 a.m.
The top two teams and top two individuals not on those teams qualify for the 2013 state tournament, which will be held Jan. 25-26 at St. Clair Bowl in O'Fallon.
Following is a closer look at some of the top teams and individuals expected to contend for a berth in the state finals.
Site: Redbird Lanes, Cahokia.
Local teams competing: Althoff, Belleville East, Belleville West, Mater Dei, Cahokia, Collinsville, Columbia, Freeburg, Lebanon, Mascoutah, Wesclin, O'Fallon and Triad.
Top local individuals: Thomas Peters, Belleville East (228 average), Matt Klotz, Belleville West (210), Billy Goodman, O'Fallon (225), Tommy Frost, O'Fallon (218), Antwon McNeese, Cahokia (209), E.J. Holdener, Freeburg (221), Anthony Betcher, Mascoutah (218) and Matt Flanagan, Collinsville (221).
Synopsis: O'Fallon appears to be the team to beat in this loaded sectional, which includes many of the top individuals in the state. Collinsville and Belleville East, along with possibly Belleville West, also could be in the hunt.
Site: Bowl Haven Lanes, Alton
Local teams competing: Alton, Civic Memorial, Edwardsville, Metro East Lutheran, Granite City, Highland, Jerseyville; Roxana and Wood River.
Top local individuals: Cody Netzhammer, Alton (218 average), Shane Strowmatt, Alton (208), Eric Mann, Granite City (212) and Nathan Lueski, Granite City (204).
Synopsis: Host Alton and Granite City are the cream of the crop in this sectional. Alton looks to be the favorite, but the Warriors, who knocked the Redbirds out of a share of the Southwestern Conference title with a late season win, are usually at their best in the postseason.
Mount Vernon Sectional
Site: Nu Bowl, Mount Vernon
Local teams: Waterloo, Gibault
Top local individuals: Hayden Bode (205 average), Waterloo, Michael McGarry, Waterloo (219) and Tyler McIver, Waterloo (209).
Synopsis: Former state champion Salem along with Centralia look to have the edge in the battle for the top two teams, with Herrin and Waterloo also possibly in the mix. Champion of the Mississippi Valley Conference, Waterloo has one of the top trios in Bode, McGarry and McIver, but will need strong fourth and fifth scores to earn a state berth.