116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - It's a crowded house at the top of the Mississippi Valley Conference boys' bowling standings.
Linn-Mar (7-0) leads the Valley division while Cedar Rapids Xavier (6-0) sits atop the Mississippi division. After those two, it's anyone's contest. Waterloo West (5-3) trails Xavier in the Mississippi while three teams are chasing Linn-Mar in the Valley. Cedar Rapids Jefferson and Cedar Falls are 6-1, Cedar Rapids Kennedy 5-2.
'I think we are one of the top teams,” said Kennedy Coach Don Kilts. 'I consider us totally in the running.”
Kilts hasn't always considered the Cougars in the hunt for division titles. Kennedy finished 4-7 in the 2012-13 season and just 2-9 last year.
'For five years, we've been a mediocre team,” Kilts said. 'This year, the kids have finally put it together.”
The Cougars demonstrated that earlier this month. They battled Jefferson down to the last few frames, losing by just 31 pins, 2994-2963. The J-Hawks finished eighth at the state tournament last season and boast two of the state's top bowlers in Hunter Sturtz and Victor Baccam.
'I have 12 seniors on the team and this is their last year,” Kilts said. 'They are fired up and want to win.”
Kennedy will get another shot at Jefferson on Feb. 17. They will meet in the substate tournament, along with Cedar Rapids Prairie and Cedar Rapids Washington, with a state tournament berth on the line.
'They need to hit their marks every time,” Kilts said. 'It's going to be fun to participate in.”
MILLER MARCHES ON FOR SAINTS
Cedar Rapids Xavier's Caleb Miller continues to pile up the pins for the Saints. The senior's 230.8 average puts him third in the state, trailing Jefferson's Sturtz (231.1) by less than a pin for first.
Miller said his spare game, along with making minor adjustments at the lane, are keys to his success. His average is up nearly 14 pins from last season's 217.
'A one board adjustment can make a whole game,” Miller said. 'If you miss by just a half inch, and miss hitting a pin, that might not carry a strike.”
KENNEDY GIRLS STILL IN THE HUNT
At 3-4, the Kennedy girls already have surpassed their win total from last season (1-10). The Cougars are just one win out of first place in the MVC Valley Division. Linn-Mar, Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids Jefferson all are 3-4 and share second place with Kennedy.
Dubuque Senior is first at 3-3.
'It's a young group and they are learning,” said Coach Scott Bader. 'They have a lot of potential in the coming years.”
Sophomore Jamie Milota continues to improve for the Cougars with a 161.9 average. She finished last season with a 150.3 average.
'I just really like the environment,” Milota said. 'We have a really strong JV and varsity team, so the competition between the two makes it fun.”