Iowa City West's Corey Roth dedicated to bowling

Junior has grown into championship-calibre athlete

(Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
(Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — It’s been quite a start to the bowling season for Iowa City West’s Corey Roth.

The junior entered the holiday break with the top average in the state. Roth’s average for 10 games is 239.4. What makes Roth’s performance even more remarkable is the fact his average is almost 30 pins higher than last season.

“He’s been hitting the lanes real well,” said West Coach Mike Mellecker. “Corey has simply decided he wants to be better and he has worked very hard to get better.”

Roth’s approach has been simple.

“I have worked on my mental game,” he said. “I have attended bowling workshops to improve my physical and mental game.”

So far, the approach has paid big dividends.

Roth is in his third year on the West varsity. He averaged 182.8 as a freshman and 211 last winter.

“Corey isn’t afraid of the pressure,” Mellecker said. “He was a little intimidated as a freshman and last year he was still one of our younger bowlers.

“This year, he is one of the leaders. Corey is just a nice kid who gets along with everybody.”

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The defining moment this season for Roth was the 299 game he rolled in a meet against Cedar Falls, leaving the 4-pin on his final ball in the 10th frame.

“If you are doing what you love, with a smile on your face, you can achieve anything,” Roth said of his near miss on perfection. “I never stopped smiling the whole game. I treated that last shot just like any other shot.”

Mellecker said Roth “pulled that last shot just a little bit,” adding it would have been the first 300 game of his young career.

Roth has bowled since age 7 and his father, Kevin, is an assistant coach for West. He said he has loved bowling from the start.

“My friends and family have really supported my bowling and my passion,” he said. “My goal with bowling is to be better today than I was yesterday.”

Mellecker said Roth could end up being the best bowler he has coached. That is high praise considering Patrick Wood was a state champion for West in 2016.

“If Corey keeps things rolling the way he has been so far, he has a real shot to win a state title,” Mellecker said.

Roth said he really hasn’t thought about a state title, opting to keep his thoughts rooted in the present.

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“I try and focus on each individual match,” he said, “because it helps me maintain a good mental game.”

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