Prep Sports

Prairie girls' bowlers take aim at state title

But Hawks not looking too far ahead

Cedar Rapids Prairie’s girls’ bowling team is on a tear this season and hopes it leads to a state title. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie’s girls’ bowling team is on a tear this season and hopes it leads to a state title. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The girls’ bowling talent at Cedar Rapids Prairie continues to amaze Coach Don Willfong.

Last year’s team was among the state’s best throughout the season, but was edged out for the Class 3A state title by Johnston.

“The way we bowled last year, I didn’t think I’d see that again,” Willfong said.

Well, the 2017-18 edition of the Hawks are giving their coach more of the same.

Prairie is 8-0 and has a team match average of 2,978 and a game average of 202.3. Those numbers make the Hawks a big favorite to capture a state title next month.

“Most of my coaching this year has been keeping their spirits high,” Willfong said. “These girls really enjoy the game of bowling and I think the contributes a lot to their success.”

The Hawks have three of the top four bowlers in the state regardless of class, according to Quik Stats Iowa.

Senior Mikayla Hite’s 16-game average is a state-best 225 and includes a 300 game as a part of a 567 series in a Dec. 15 meet against Cedar Rapids Xavier.

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“It was just a crazy experience,” Hite said of her first perfect game. “I never thought I would ever have a game like that, but I just got into a groove.”

Her hot hand carried over to the second game, where she rolled a 267 which, according to Willfong, tied the state record for a two-game series.

“She was just so smooth,” Willfong said. “She was just as smooth in the second game as she was in the first.”

Junior Ashley Sundstrom is right behind Hite is the state rankings, averaging 220 a game with a high game of 287 and a high series of 544. Senior Jade Klinefelter is ranked fourth with a 208 average. Senior Emily Hartgrave and sophomore Stephanie Thompson average 188 per game.

“We all get along so well,” Hite said. “We work hard to cancel out any differences we might have and our friendships extend outside of school beyond bowling.”

Willfong and Hite said the Hawks can’t look ahead.

“We had high hopes going into state last year and Johnston bit us,” Willfong said. “Muscatine and Waukee both have strong teams. We just have to play our own game. If you start worrying about other teams, you can tighten up and end up losing.”

STATE UPDATE

It appears an announcement on the location of this year’s state bowling tournament could be made Wednesday.

A December fire destroyed Plaza Lanes in Des Moines, where the state meets for girls and boys have been held since bowling became a sanctioned sport.

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Iowa High School Athletic Association Assistant Director Todd Tharp told The Gazette in an email officials from the IHSAA and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union visited several sites that expressed interest in hosting the meet, scheduled for Feb. 19-21.

Tharp said both organizations made recommendations to their respective boards last week. The IHSAA is scheduled to formally approve a site at their board meeting Wednesday.

IGHSAU Assistant Director Jason Eslinger confirmed by email the location will be announced jointly by both governing bodies.

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