Prep Sports

'Little Hawk Bear' Shaylin Brown attends West Branch, swims and bowls for Iowa City High

Iowa City High's Shaylin Brown, releasing her ball during a Class 3A state qualifier at Lancer Lanes in Cedar Rapids las
Iowa City High’s Shaylin Brown, releasing her ball during a Class 3A state qualifier at Lancer Lanes in Cedar Rapids last year, goes to school at West Branch but competes in two sports for the Little Hawks. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Shaylin Brown is multidimensional.

The 17-year-old junior attends West Branch, but competes in swimming and bowling for nearby Iowa City High.

Her friends even have a nickname for her, Little Hawk Bear.

“I’m part of (West Branch), but I’m also part of City High, which is a great thing because they represent me very well,” Brown said. “They make sure I feel included in everything and that’s something I’m grateful for. It’s kind of a blast.”

Up at 6 a.m. to do chores and take care of the goats she got last summer, Brown is now learning about the dairy industry as a member of FFA.

“Goat milk has more butter fat and less lactose so more humans can digest it,” Brown said.

At school by 8 a.m., Brown enjoys the small-town feel she gets in West Branch, but also likes getting out at 1:30 p.m. on competition days so she can focus on the match while commuting to join her bigger-city teammates.

It takes Brown about 10 minutes to drive to City High and another 10 to get to Colonial Lanes, home for City High and Iowa City West.

Brown usually uses that time to listen to a heavy mix of 1980s music blended in with current hits, something she feels would make her parents proud.

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“We get to represent ourselves and who we are as a person,” Brown said. “It’s also important that we get to play the sports we enjoy.”

Brown joined the City High bowling squad as a freshman after participating in a summer league after eighth grade.

“I thought, ‘Hey, why not? It’s a sport that I could represent my school in and have fun,’” Brown said. “Plus it’s a great opportunity.”

Brown also has learned some of those opportunities are financial.

“People look at us for college scholarships,” Brown said. “That can be nice for our parents.”

One way the junior can turn more focus onto herself from college coaches would be to do well at the state tournament at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo later this month.

“I want our team to make it to state,” Brown said. “Personally, my crazy goal would be to finish in the top five or even win it.”

Brown thinks it would take a 270 in her first game and a nearly 500 series to have a chance, something she believes she can do with a few adjustments.

“I’m working on keeping my hand under the ball and finishing out my throw,” Brown said. “I’m also trying to hit my mark every time and finish off spares.”

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Regardless of results, Brown wants to bowl for the rest of her life thanks to encouragement from her Little Hawk teammates.

“If you are doing bad, they are always going to cheer for you no matter what you do,” Brown said. “They’re always going to be there for you and you’re always going to be there for them.

“It’s kind of like a big family.”

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