However, there is one team the entire state is rallying around – Plainfield South.
The Cougars were dealt a crushing blow when senior Eric Brander was killed in a car accident in far western Joliet in December.
Since then, they have dedicated the season to their departed teammate and have captured the hearts and prayers of not only the bowling world, but of high school sports throughout Illinois.
The state meet begins Friday and ends Saturday at St. Clair Bowl. Ironically, Plainfield South will start the tournament on lane 11.
If the number is truly lucky, South could advance to the second day at the state meet for the first time in the school’s eight-year history.
The participants entered in the state meet includes senior Brandyn Andelbradt, Calvin Hendrickson, Kyle Heywood and Bryan Tomac, who have spearheaded the Cougars to the state meet for just the second time in its history.
Juniors Jon Clark, Will Eklove, T.J. Marth and Chad Zoeteman round out the state roster.
The team is coached by Jeff Bailey, Derek Christensen and George Kontos.
During the season, South and other Chicagoland area teams sported armbands, ribbons and other accessories to remember Brander, who would have turned 18 years old earlier this month.
Plainfield South won the Southwest Prairie Conference in dominating fashion and took second at the Lockport sectional at Strike N Spare to advance to the state meet for the first time since the school’s first varsity season in 2003. That year, the Cougars took 16th in the state.
This year, South is ranked No. 6 in the state, according to the latest poll by Scott Taylor of The Plainfield Enterprise. Lake Park, Lockport, Rockford Guilford, Freeport and Oswego are the top five teams in the state.