It won't be difficult to bump into a regionite at the high school bowling state finals Saturday at Arrowhead Bowl in Lafayette.
The area will make up a full third of the 24 teams there, with the Hobart and Munster boys, Boone Grove and Portage girls and both squads from Highland and Lake Central making the tip down I-65.
"We are very upbeat about our chances this weekend, but we also know there is a lot of very strong competition, particularly from the other region teams," Boone Grove girls coach Mike Kraushaar said.
"The four local teams are four of the best in the state. We have beaten each other up throughout the season, which has made all of us better prepared for this weekend."
The Wolves went 16-0 during the regular season and were sectional, regional and semistate champions.
Paige Kraushaar, Mike's daughter, was the individual semistate champ.
"To be honest, I haven’t thought much about singles, high school bowling is all about the team," Paige said. "We have had a great season regardless of how we finish this weekend, but our goal is to win, and anything short of that will be disappointing."
Lake Central’s Allison Sellers and Kierstyn Rush, Portage’s Jackie Rhoda, Merrillville's Carly Larson and Chesterton's Candice Tovo and Heidi Tucker also advanced as individuals.
Boys who qualified for the state finals were Hobart’s Bobby Kammer, Portage’s Jordan Trent and Chesterton's Nate Sipe.
"(Teen bowlers in this area) understand more than the average kid who doesn't bowl on (difficult oil) patterns," Highland girls coach Lisa Dickerson said.
Dickerson cited Stardust III's King of the Hill tournament as one event that exposes region keglers to the type of bowling others in the state just don't experience at such a young age.
"What I also believe really helps is the amount of tournament experience our area teams get during the season," Mike Kraushaar said. "These events fuel invaluable competition between the region teams."
The teams that make it through that regular season meat grinder have earned experience the rest of the state simply doesn't get.
"Bowling against some of the best brings out the best in every player," Dickerson said. "To be the best you have to beat the best."
Northwest Indiana has long been a hub for quality bowling. High school bowlers are simply the next generation to carry on that tradition.
"We've had many excellent bowlers in our area for a long time, and now many of them have kids in high school bowling," Lake Central girls coach Stephanie Cooley said. "It's nice to see the familiar names on the high school rosters."