MARION — The Linn-Mar girls’ bowling team is off to another hot start, but head coach Jeremy Moser thinks this group is a little different.
Linn-Mar. coming off an 8-3 campaign in 2017-18, is 5-2 this season.
But this year’s Lions are more of a team.
“I have a good group of kids this year,” Moser said. “We don’t have a lot of standouts, we just have a lot of kids that are young and work very well together.
“The best thing that I’ve seen this year is that they work together as a team. They don’t really worry about an individual, they worry about the group, which is great to see and is sometimes not always the case.”
On most high school varsity teams, older players are typically the leaders, but this year’s team has no seniors. But there has been no lack of leadership.
“The seniors from last year kind of knew that they were the leaders and they took some of my sophomores and actually tried to train them up as leaders and took them under their wing last year which has actually gone very well,” Moser said. “In fact, Liz Moser is one of my juniors this year that has kind of stepped up, taking that role on herself.”
With a per game average of 194.9 and a high game of 246 on Dec. 14, Linn-Mar also has found itself an anchor in freshman Marissa Bills. Coach Moser also said Bills goes beyond just being a dependable individual player.
“(She) has been a very quiet leader for us this year,” Moser said. “She has stepped up at her anchor position this year and done very very well with it. She seems to not feel the pressure at all and just steps in and does what she needs to do when she needs to do it.”
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Moser said behind Bills’ success is her passion and willingness to learn the game. Because the team only practices twice a week, bowlers are expected to work out more on their own time, something Bills frequently does.
While Bills already has proved herself to be a solid player at the varsity level, Moser said the best is yet to come.
“She’s got some things she can work on, but she continues to improve her game,” he said. “If she chooses to go to the collegiate level, she’ll be very good there as well.
“I would expect her, if not next year, her junior and senior year to be able to qualify individually for state if we don’t go as a team. She’s got that ability.”
Linn-Mar hosts Jefferson on Thursday at the Cedar Rapids Bowling Center, starting at 3 p.m.
Moser acknowledged Jefferson, a perennial powerhouse, is going to be a difficult matchup and the Lions will have to keep their heads on their shoulders and continue with the positive attitude that has made them a formidable opponent this year.