The West Delaware boys’ bowling team has won back-to-back Class 1A state championships. But, the program has a new challenge ahead of it this winter — a move to Class 2A.
Head coach Bob Morris knows it will be an adjustment for the program, but said your main opponent is the lane in front of you.
“Our opponent every week is our lane. There are a lot of good schools in 2A, guys are bowling through summer and other leagues,” Morris said. “We will see a lot of young good bowlers who are there in 2A. But we had great bowlers in 1A, good competition all around. We are just going to compete. We have passionate kids and they bowl on their own.”
West Delaware returns three starters from last season’s championship team, including Ian Tibbott, a first-team all-district and second-team all-state selection. Alex Schnieders, who finished second in the state meet in 2017, also is back.
“Alex is very consistent,” Morris said. “He averages about 190 to 210. We will hope to put a few more strikes in his game.
“Our older guys are always positive with the younger guys. I couldn’t be happier about the seniors we have. The seniors will have a big role in what we do. We have to handle ourselves the right way. The seniors now have learned from guys who graduated and it is their turn to pass it down.”
Morris recognizes the culture in the program that comes with winning back-to-back state titles. The team comes ready to compete every day and is always focused and ready to learn.
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“They know we have had success. We have bowled in leagues but a lot of them are first-year players,” Morris said. “The guys with state champion experience help teach from the ground up. We have taught a lot of technique and trying to learn the best way to compete.
“We are excited, a lot of people come out to watch. We are rebuilding a little bit, but we also have guys with experience. Our veterans understand they will have bad games and will miss shots. The older guys are helping the younger guys be patient. Not to get to high not to get too low.”
Teams to watch
West Delaware — Won back-to-back state championships in Class 1A. Returns three starters. This will be the Hawks’ first season in Class 2A.
Western Dubuque — Returns two starters from last season Class 3A state championship team. Finished 8-1.
Cedar Rapids Prairie — The defending Class 3A state champs return three starters. The Hawks finished the season with a 10-1 record.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson — Returns five of six starters from last year’s fourth-place state team. The J-Hawks compiled a 9-2 record and 2,545 match average.
Bowlers to watch
Ian Tibbott, West Delaware, sr. — The senior finished 14th at state last season, rolling a 409 for the state champion Hawks.
Cyrus Elwick, Vinton Shellsburg, jr. — Finished eighth as a sophomore at the Class 1A state meet. Elwick had a game-high of 245 last year.
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Shawn Wille, Cedar Rapids Prairie, sr. — Wille averaged 208 pins a game last season and finished 12th in Class 3A state tournament. He had a series high of 512.
David Roth, Western Dubuque, jr. — Placed 13th in Class 1A state meet last year with a 438.
Ashley Sundstrom, Cedar Rapids Prairie, sr. — Finished fifth in Class 3A with a score of 430. She had a game average of 219.
Lorna Niedert, West Delaware, jr. — Finished eighth in state as a sophomore with a score of 389 in Class 1A.
Morgan Theisen, Western Dubuque, sr. — Finished eighth in the Class 2A state meet with a 405.
Megan Kitzmiller, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, sr. — Placed eighth in the Class 3A state meet with a 412.
Maddie Putnam, Decorah, jr. — Finished seventh in the Class 1A state meet with a 399.