Le Mars boys team, four local individuals qualify for state bowling
LE MARS — After a year hiatus, the Le Mars Community boys bowling team is returning to the state tournament. The Bulldogs finished behind Denison-Schleswig and MMCRU/RSM last season, but ended above those two this year to get back to state.
“We really only had two people that really could push that motivation because we had four seniors last year, but they remembered it,” said Le Mars Coach Travis Jones as the team gets back to state after having a string of six straight appearances snapped last year. “They had that taste that really pushed everybody, pushed each other. For me, I can only motivate them so much, but they had enough fire to be able to get us all through it.”
Le Mars finished with a 3,091 total score across their 15 Baker games. Denison-Schleswig was close behind with a 3,059. MMCRU/RSM ended third with a 2,988.
The Le Mars boys started strong with a 213 opening game which was best among the eight schools in attendance at the Class 2A state qualifying meet held at Sweet 16 Lanes.
“I’d say the biggest thing was starting strong. They’re not used to bowling this early in the morning, had to get them a little hopped up on some caffeine, but past that it’s just getting them fired up, getting them stretched out, making sure they’re focused,” the Le Mars coach said.
The team peaked at a 269 score in the 10th game. Their lowest game of the day with a 173 in their seventh set of frames. The team averaged at 206 in their games.
Denison-Schleswig came on strong at the end to clinch the second spot. Their first six games were all below 200, but all but one of their final nine games cracked the 200 mark, including back-to-back games of 275 and 278 in the 11th and 12th set of frames.
MMCRU/RSM had an up and down day as they never could string together more than one game in a row above the 200 mark. They had six games over the 200 mark on the day with their top game being a 247 in the 10th set of frames. The team averaged a 199.2 across all of their games.
“We rolled really well for the Baker games,” MMCRU/RSM Coach Tim Jones said. “We shot above average, had a couple games that were a little iffy, but then came right back and shot some really good, high scores. We did what we wanted to do, but when another team comes in and just shoots lights out, there’s not much we can do about it, so hats off to Denison for how they finished out.”
The Le Mars boys enter state with the second highest state qualifying score behind a 3,176 compiled by Independence at their state qualifying meet hosted by Waterloo East. The Bulldogs will compete in the 2A state tournament on Tuesday at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo.
“I tell my kids, make sure you have fun out there, but the ultimate goal we’re striving for is to win,” Travis Jones said.
Team scores: Le Mars 3091, Denison-Schleswig 3059, MMCRU/RSM 2988, Lewis Central 2902, Emmetsburg 2834, West Sioux 2674, Sioux Central 2435, Sioux City West 2410.
Four local individuals advance
Following the team portion of the event in the morning, the individual half of the meet followed in the afternoon as each bowler competed in three games. The top eight total scores earned a qualification to the state meet.
Le Mars and MMCRU/RSM each came away with a pair of bowlers within the top eight.
MMCRU/RSM had the third and fourth place individuals with scores in the 690s, just behind the overall medalist score of 702 from Denison-Schleswig’s Christian Schmadeke and the runner-up score of 696 from Emmetsburg’s Preston Crees.
Carver Miller was right behind Crees with a 695. Miller had three games in the 200s. He started with a 247 in the first set of frames and followed with games of 202 and 246.
Colbey Penning took the fourth place spot with a 690. Like Miller, all of his games were in the 200s. He finished with scores of 236, 247 and 207 across the three games.
“Colbey’s shown some really good games the last couple years. Carver comes in and starts bowling really good. This is his first year on varsity, so he’s really gotten alive these last few meets and just bowled really great today,” Tim Jones said.
Le Mars bowler Trevor Fisher was fifth with a 683. He bowled a pretty consistent set of games with scores of 224, 233 and 226.
Caiden Heitritter of Le Mars got the final spot in the top eight with a 657 score, four better than his teammate Sebastian MacGregor. Heitritter had scores of 243, 217 and 197 in the games he bowled.
MacGregor just missed the top eight despite a solid score of 653 which featured games of 213, 203 and 237.
Tyson Alcorn was next for the Bulldogs with a 619 series score with all of his games in the 200s. Noah Venteicher finished with a 608 series and ended with the team’s best individual game of the day with a 247. He started with a 159 and his middle game was a 202.
The sixth bowler for Le Mars was Caden Wurth who ended with a total of 582.
Bryce Staab, an individual qualifier last year, couldn’t overcome an opening game score of 159. His other two scores were a 235 and 237 as he finished with a 631 total.
Austin Klein finished with a 611 series with scores of 218, 213 and 180.
The team’s other two scores trailed behind as Carson Loutsch rolled a 541 and Caleb Gravenish finished with a 470.
The four local individuals to qualify will compete in the 2A state tournament on Wednesday at Maple Lanes in Waterloo.
“We’ll get some practice in this week. We’ll head down Tuesday and practice at the tournament alley the night before and let them get used to what it’s like down there. Mostly just going to try to keep them grounded so they stay relaxed and go out and have some fun and hopefully shoot some good scores,” Tim Jones said.