Prep Sports

Bowling is in Teagan Merta's blood

Prairie junior aims for state tournament, maybe title

Prairie's Teagan Merta, bowling in a 2019 dual, wants to get his team to state again, and maybe win the individual title
Prairie’s Teagan Merta, bowling in a 2019 dual, wants to get his team to state again, and maybe win the individual title. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Teagan Merta just turned 17 on Tuesday, but he’s already got a solid foundation built for his future.

The Cedar Rapids Prairie junior is looking to lead his Hawk teammates to the state bowling tournament for the third time in his high school career, following his older brother Jace back in a sport he fell in love with as a toddler.

It began long ago when Teagan’s grandfather, an avid league bowler, taught Teagan’s dad, Brian, how to bowl as a child.

Brian mostly bowled for fun, but he did teach his two sons how to play when they were also very young.

“At 3, I just picked up a ball and started throwing it and I always had a lot of fun,” Teagan said. “I only did it for fun and not organized.”

So Teagan did what many kids do, playing baseball as his only organized activity.

When he was in seventh grade, however, his then-freshman brother joined the Prairie bowling team. That peaked Teagan’s interest and he joined a league as well. By the time summer came around for seventh grade baseball, Teagan had decided he wanted to focus on bowling.

“Ever since I started again, I was getting better while having fun,” Merta said. “Obviously, I still love it and do it all of the time.”

As an eighth-grader, he threw his first perfect game, something he saw as fuel for his passion.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“When I bowled that first 300, it really opened my eyes to what I can do,” Merta said. “I can do this, I just need to keep going and get more consistent.”

Beginning with an average around 110, Merta has doubled that the last four years and now rolls in the 220 range each game.

In November of 2019, he landed the perfect first job — a gig at Lancer Lanes.

“This is like my second home,” Merta said. “I love it here. I like being able to come here when basically nobody else is here.“

That does help him work on his average, but he also knows the job is helping him to grow in other ways.

“I get to learn how jobs work and what people will expect from me in the future,” Merta said. “It’s a good starter job because everyone is more relaxed. I just like what you experience here.”

Along with the experiences, Merta has stockpiled a large amount of friends in the bowling community.

“One good perk about it is I’ve gotten to meet a lot of fun and fantastic people in the few years I’ve been doing this,” Merta said. “I’ve made a lot of friends through bowling and they’ve all been so great. It’s just going to keep getting better and that just blows my mind.”

Another perk for Merta and his parents is the scholarship money Teagan has been able to earn while doing what he loves.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“Right now, I’m interested in computer science and software engineering,” Merta said. “I heard that William Penn has a bowling team and a great program for computer science. That’s my plan right now.”

In the meantime, Merta still has a season-and-a-half left in his high school career and is focused on qualifying for state, maybe even winning it.

“I’d say there are 20-25 bowlers that could win state,” Merta said. “There are a lot of good bowlers out there, but my main focus is getting our whole team back.”

Comments: justin.webster@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.