CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Prairie boys’ bowling team came into this season looking to build off its eighth-place finish at last year's state tournament.
With returning Metro athlete of the year Shawn Wille, the team is off the a 5-0 start heading to the Christmas break.
“Most of the boys have been bowling together for three years, a couple have graduated and (we) got a couple of new guys and they are melding very well,” Coach Don Willfong said. “We have a couple of leaders who are quiet but they have a good time. They bowl in leagues together, they have fun competing against each other and it adds to the mix.”
Willfong has noticed a different consistency and focus in his bowlers. They don’t get too high or too low.
“They are knocking down spares, knocking down strikes. They are all more consistent,” Willfong said. “They are working together, and growing as a team.”
“Wille has been very consistent this year. A couple have passed him on average, but he is a leader and he gets us fired up. He doesn’t care about individual stats. He is a good teammate and cares about the team.”
The team has had a lot of bowlers step up this year, including junior Johnathan Keiper, who rolled a 300 on Dec. 13.
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“Keiper has stepped up, they have all grown over the last year,” Wilfong said. “Jace Merta has improved from last year. Jace’s little brother, Teagan Merta, has been fantastic working his way on varsity after a couple weeks.
“They work very well together, I don’t know what it is but they work well together.”
Willfong knows the competition in the Metro is tough, but he is expecting for his bowlers to stay focused on the task at hand and just come ready to go every day.
“They have a great path moving forward,” he said. “The way they are bowling, they will embrace it. They are not backing down from anybody, they do their best every time.
“They don’t back off to save It for another day. They work hard at their game they deserve a lot of credit.”
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