MANCHESTER — The West Delaware boys’ and girls’ bowling teams have started the 2017 season strong.
Senior Tristin Kelley leads the boys’ team with an average of 226.5 pins. The boys barely beat Independence on their home turf, winning by only nine pins, 2,832-2,823. In contrast, they bowled over Vinton-Shellsburg by almost 300 pins, 3,182-2,890.
“With the amount of improvement we’re gaining in the time we have, I have no doubt that we could get a repeat (title) of last year’s at state,” junior captain Ian Tibbott said.
On Dec. 16, the varsity boys traveled to Lancer Lanes in Cedar Rapids for the Prairie Baker Tournament. Coach Bob Morris said the highlight of the day was when Tibbott struck out in the 10th frame both games against No. 1 Waterloo West, winning that set. However, they ended up placing 11th out of 18 teams, missing a qualifying position into bracket play.
“We couldn’t quite get into the flow of things, but I was pleased with the boys’ effort,” Morris said. “All positives came out of that tournament; no matter how we place, the experience is a plus.”
For the girls’ side, senior captain Andrea Salow leads the team with an average of 183.5 after four games.
The girls rolled over Independence by nearly 750 pins, 2,284-1,524, and won against Vinton-Shellsburg, 2,560-2,527.
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“With the dedication that the girls have shown to getting better each and every week, there is no reason to think that they will not finish the season very strongly,” Coach Ken Boesenberg said.
The dedication also carried the girls’ team to enter bracket play at the Prairie Baker Tournament on Dec. 9.
Even though three of the girls hadn’t bowled in the tournament, Boesenberg still believed in the seventh-seeded Hawks with “utmost confidence because of (their) preparation” going into bracket play.
Their first round opponent was Louisa-Muscatine, No. 1 ranked in Class 1A.
“I was really anxious going into bracket play because I knew how good (Louisa-Muscatine could) bowl,” junior Lacey Cole said.
The team battled against Louisa-Muscatine in a best-of-three baker round, and the Hawks and Falcons won one game each and tied the third round. To continue into quarterfinals, one team had to win in a five frame roll-off.
“The last frame in the third game to determine the winner of the set was so intense,” sophomore Hannah Axline said. “The fact that we were so close to beating such a high-ranked team in our division was insane but exhilarating.”
In the end, Louisa-Muscatine defeated the Hawks with an almost a perfect half game of 149. West Delaware scored 97.
“I told a number of people that I was the happiest person in Delaware County because of the way this young team held together,” Boesenberg said. “It will be one of the big highlights of this season for this very young squad.”