Prep Sports

Healthy numbers help bowling battle stigma

Season preview: Teams, players to watch

Prairie’s Teagan Merta, bowling against Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Monday, is one of the top returners in the area this year. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Prairie’s Teagan Merta, bowling against Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Monday, is one of the top returners in the area this year. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Bowling is alive and well in Eastern Iowa and the proof is in the results from last year’s state tournament in Waterloo.

Cedar Rapids Xavier senior Dale Weaver was at the top of the heap last year, earning the Class 2A individual title. The Saints also return Justin Fulton, Tyler Zogg, Isaac Ipsan and Erik Triplett from its seventh-place team.

“I think the numbers going out each year is healthy,” Xavier head coach Russ Camacho said. “Especially when we have 30 kids on the team for six slots.

“That tells me that the interest is there.”

Cedar Rapids Jefferson and Prairie also are hoping to return to the state meet this season. They finished third and seventh, respectively, in Class 3A. West Delaware finished third in the 2A field last year and returns senior Brandon Larsen, who finished sixth individually. Vinton-Shellsburg, in Class 1A, also is coming off an impressive team and individual performance, placing sixth behind senior Payton Haefner’s 14th place finish.

The area girls also have some heavy throwers with J-Hawk junior Anna Warkel the top returning individual in Class 3A after tying for ninth last season. She’ll have to find some help to replace state champion Kaylee Donner, The Gazette’s Athlete of the Year who is a freshman on the UNI volleyball team. The J-Hawks also lost 11th-place finisher Megan Kitzmiller to graduation.

Olivia Nolte from Xavier was the top area scorer at last year’s 2A meet as a junior, finishing eighth overall, while classmate Ellie Marovets placed 16th. The Saints finished seventh as a team.

While Louisa-Muscatine dominated the Class 1A field, Vinton-Shellsburg junior Jenna Pattee finished 10th individually while the Vikings were seventh as a team.

 

BOYS’ BOWLING 2019-20

Teams to watch

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C.R. Jefferson (Class 3A) — The J-Hawks will have tough competition locally as junior Matt Kitzmiller will look to improve on his fifth-place performance. Senior teammate Justen Dostal, 23rd place, also will try to help the J-Hawks improve on their third-place team score.

West Delaware (2A) — The Hawks were third at Waterloo last season and return seniors Brandon Larsen and Eli Heims, who were fifth and 14th individually, respectively. Replacing four seniors is going to be the biggest challenge in 2019-20.

C.R. Prairie (3A) — The Hawks will be led by Teagan Merta, who placed 15th as a freshman last year, as well as senior Jace Merta.

 

Players to watch

Dale Weaver, C.R. Xavier — Class 2A state champion as a junior.

Matt Kitzmiller, C.R. Jefferson — Placed fifth in the Class 3A state tournament as a sophomore.

Teagan Merta, C.R. Prairie — Shots games of 194 and 224 to placed 15th at state as a freshman.

Brandon Larsen, West Delaware — Placed fifth at state in 2A as a junior.

Payton Haefner, Vinton-Shellsburg — Placed 14th in the 1A state meet as a junior.

 

GIRLS’ BOWLING 2919-20

Teams to watch

C.R. Jefferson (Class 3A) — When your coach has been helping the sport for three decades, as has J-Hawk Coach Virgil Cerveny has, returning four rollers from a fourth-place overall finish makes you dangerous.

C.R. Xavier (2A) — Olivia Nolte, Kaitlyn Buenzow, Katie Jakel, Morgan Simoneau and Ellie Marovets all have state experience, but the question is can they improve on their seventh-place in 2019?

Vinton-Shellsburg (1A) — Five girls return from a seventh-place overall finish and only one of them is a senior.

 

Individuals to watch

Anna Warkel, C.R. Jefferson — Tied for ninth at state last year in Class 3A as a junior.

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Jenna Pattee, Vinton-Shellsburg — Placed 10th in the 1A state meet last year as a sophomore.

Michaela Beckmann, C.R. Kennedy — As a freshman last year, she placed 22nd at state.

Alivia Pernicka, C.R. Washington — Placed 19th at state as a sophomore last year.

Olivia Nolte, C.R. Xavier — Placed eighth in the 2A state meet as a junior.

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