When considering the top girls bowling teams in the Southern Illinois High School Bowling Conference, the Waterloo Bulldogs aren’t one that quickly comes to mind — at least until now.
A week after capturing the Mississippi Valley Conference of the SIHSBC, the Bulldogs will take aim on another title Saturday, when they compete in the Herrin Sectional at Herrin Bowl.
One of three regionals involving teams from the metro-east, the Herrin Sectional and more specifically Herrin Bowl, brings back good memories for Waterloo, which placed second at the Herrin Regional a year ago. This year coach Matt Beck’s team is looking for the top prize.
“I am really looking forward to this weekend. The girls have had a fantastic season, including winning the MVC for a second year in a row. They broke the school record with a 1,063 game and have been just outstanding all season,” Beck said. “The good news is that we’re going back to Herrin Bowl, where we did so well last year.
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“Our girls have confidence going into the regional and I am confident that we will do well on Saturday.”
Led by the high-scoring trio of Gabbie Hoge (199 average), Makensy Umschied (183) and Kristen Goersch (169), the Bulldogs will begin their postseason along with city rival Gibault and 10 other teams at Herrin Bowl, beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Other area regionals Saturday are in Cahokia at Redbird Lanes and Alton at Bowl Haven Lanes. Bowlers will roll six games with the top four teams and top 10 individuals not on those teams advancing to the O’Fallon Sectional at St. Clair Bowl on Feb. 14.
While Waterloo stands a good chance of advancing out of the Herrin Regional, the regionals at both Alton and Cahoka should be closely contested.
At Cahokia, O’Fallon, Belleville East and Belleville West will be challenged by Cahokia Mounds Conference champion Freeburg, along with the host Comanches, Columbia and an always strong Mascoutah squad.
Third behind champion Collinsville and runner-up Alton in the Southwestern Conference, O’Fallon has had a bit of a subpar season by its standards. The Panthers do have one of the top bowlers in the state in Madison Kasza (203 average) to lead the way.
Katey Saugewein (189) leads East in scoring. Isabella DeFosset (198) is the Belleville West top bowler.
Freeburg has been led all season by Amber Matchett (192) and Ashley Gilmore (168). Cahokia’s best is Cassie Martin (183).
Former state champion Collinsville is clearly the team to beat at Alton. The Kahoks feature a deep and talented team which has four players with averages of 190 or better. Katelyn Wirtel (200) and Madisyn Juenger (198) lead the Kahoks, while Lindsey Collins (193) and Lizzy Barger (192) also have performed well.