Gazette area Iowa high school bowling individuals and teams to watch for the 2020-21 season.
Bowlers to watch
Collin Van Weelden, jr., Cedar Rapids Prairie — A 428 series at the state meet in February slid the sophomore into thetTop 20, but the upperclassman will be looking to improve on his tie for 18th and the team’s fourth-place overall finish.
Casey Christensen, sr., Cedar Rapids Washington — The top six bowlers from the Class 2A state tournament have graduated, leaving the seventh-place finisher from Washington as the top returning individual performer in the state. Christensen threw a 473 series (226-247) at the state meet in Waterloo.
Caleb Gillmore, sr., Monticello — The Monticello senior threw a 300 last season and finished 39th at the 1A state meet with a 358 (189-169). Now, the Panthers will lean on the upperclassman even more in his final campaign.
Anna Warkel, sr., Cedar Rapids Jefferson — After tying for ninth overall at state as a sophomore, Warkel honored the memory of her late father and finished her junior season with a Class 3A state record 513 to capture the crown and give the J-Hawks back-to-back champions.
Kirsten Butcher, so., Western Dubuque — The youngest bowler on a young Bobcats team, Butcher rolled a high game of 256 as a freshman with a 462 high series. With many of the best 2A bowlers in the area graduating in 2020, Butcher is primed to lead a reload of local talent.
Christina Harrelson, sr., Vinton-Shellsburg — An individual qualifier a year ago, the Vikings senior will try to improve on her state runner-up finish after throwing 236 and 215 for a 451 series at the Class 1A finals in Waterloo.
Teams to watch
Cedar Rapids Prairie — The Hawks are the team to beat in the Metro, although they will rely heavily on juniors Collin Van Weelden along with the Merta boys (Jace and Teagan) to replace three graduated seniors, including fourth-placing individual Spencer Kirk.
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Western Dubuque — The Bobcats’ fourth-place overall finish was tops in the area last year in Class 2A, but they will need to replace four of their top six.
Monticello — The Panthers return eight of their top nine rollers from a team that finished seventh at state in 2020. The only question is, who will fill out the fifth and sixth slots?
Cedar Rapids Jefferson — Three of the six J-Hawks return after a second-place finish in 2019, including defending individual champ Anna Warkel. The team also lost longtime local bowling legend and coach, Virg Cerveny, and will be motivated to win in his honor.
Western Dubuque — The Bobcats have a slight edge over West Delaware and Cedar Rapids Xavier in Class 2A, although each will have to fill out at least half of their rosters with new bowlers. The Bobcats graduated three in 2020.
Independence — The Mustangs look to improve on their fifth-place finish in Class 1A a year ago, returning all six bowlers including their top five who will be seniors.