CEDAR RAPIDS — There is good reason to believe area preps will again have a strong showing at the state bowling tournament at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo later this month after Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Cedar Rapids Prairie finished second, fifth and eighth, respectively, at the girls’ 2020 edition.
Last year also featured Jefferson junior Anna Warkel throwing a Class 3A state-record 513 series as the J-Hawk standout honored the memory of her late father with a state championship.
Although she has raised the bar for what her competitors expect to need to throw in order to challenge her title defense, Warkel prefers to feel the game out instead of worrying about a number.
“It’s just another day of bowling and I can’t put that pressure on myself,” Warkel said. “You just have to pick up your spares and get your strikes. At the end it’s just a number, and whoever has the highest is taking first.”
While Warkel would like to finish in the top 10, if not repeat as champion, she is more specifically focused on making sure her teammates can join her in their quest to improve on last year’s runner-up finish while paying tribute to their former coach, Virg Cerveny, with a team title after the longtime J-Hawk leader died Oct. 4.
Another local bowler looking to challenge for the individual crown, while helping to lead her team back to Waterloo, is Kennedy sophomore Abigail Hume, who takes a similar approach as Warkel.
“I just usually try to do my best because I bowl better when I’m more relaxed,” Hume said. “That’s usually the best way to go, that’s what our coach says.”
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Hume started bowling when she was 3, but the 16-year-old admittedly started taking the sport more seriously last season.
“I wasn’t really competitive about it until freshman year,” Hume said. “I just did it for fun but I really enjoyed it, so I decided it was something that I wanted to keep working on.”
Having already raised her per-game average into the 180s from the 130s, Hume is working toward consistently tossing 200-plus games.
“I know that you aren’t going to get a strike every time, that’s something I’ve always known,” Hume said. “So just practice, practice, practice.”
Outside of bowling, Hume also defends the difficulty of her other passion, marching band.
“People don’t understand and don’t think marching is that hard, but we have two to three weeks in the summer heat just for band camp,” Hume said.
Hume has found many friends throughout the Kennedy family.
“It’s nice to see so many people so welcoming,” Hume said. “When I see people being OK being themselves, it makes me want to do that, too.”
Hume and the Cougars begin their journey Tuesday at Cadillac XBC in Waterloo for a Class 3A, District 5 state qualifying meet with Cedar Rapids Washington, Dubuque Senior, Dubuque Hempstead, Cedar Falls and Waterloo West.
Boys’ bowling teams compete in state qualifying meets Monday.