It isn’t often the Ottumwa girls bowling team is visited by a team with recent state tournament experience.
In fact, Thursday will be the only time this year that the defending 2A state champs host another squad that finished last year at Plaza Lanes.
Facing a Mount Pleasant team that finished fifth in the Class 1A girls state tourney last year, things started off well for the undefeated Bulldogs. With four bowlers rolling second games well into the 200’s, Ottumwa put up a team score of 2,009 and appeared on their way to a remarkable day at Champion Bowl.
The Ottumwa girls did finish with a comfortable win, 2,825-2,591 over the Panthers in a meet that was originally postponed back in late December. Closing baker games of 159 and 160, however, left head coach Doug Techel less then pleased by his team’s final effort.
“We were above our average, but I didn’t see sense of urgency. It seemed like we were just going thought the emotions in our baker games,” Techel said. “We were set up really well after our individual games, then it seemed like ‘Oh well.’ We can’t have that with some of the meets we’ve got coming up.”
Sydney Swallow’s second game of 254 highlighted the Bulldogs opening round as the score lifted the junior’s average to a team-best 223.
After being one of three Ottumwa girls to post a plus-200 average in the first two games, lifting Ottumwa to a 350-pin lead, Swallow talked about the letdown that came in the baker rotation.
“We kind of lost our drive because we knew we were so far ahead,” Swallow said after Ottumwa opened a 400-pin edge after the opening baker game. “Bailey (Palmer) and I have been bowling in Greater Iowa, so we have that mindset that you have to make every shot count.”
“You can’t give that mindset to everybody. You just have to light a fire under them and get them going.”
Techel tried to do exactly that, meeting with the team after the Bulldogs’ eighth straight win of the season.
“We had a little talk after the meet, and I think the girls know where I stand on,” Techel said. “I think it soaked in for the girls, but we’ll find out for sure on Monday.”
The Bulldog girls’ uninspiring finish was in stark contrast to the enthusiasm showed throughout the Ottumwa boys 416-pin win over Mount Pleasant. Even after sealing the victory in the fourth of five baker games, the Bulldog boys continued celebrating every strike thrown on the way to putting up a season-best 3,240 team score.
“We’re getting closer to where we need to be, but we still have work to do,” Ottumwa boys head coach Brett Salter said. “The good thing is we’re starting to gel at the right time. It’s just a matter of cleaning up a few little things right now.”
The Ottumwa boys start was just as strong as their finish thanks to Joey Lee. The Bulldog junior rolled a resounding 279 in his opening round before finishing with a meet-best 252 average.
“I was kind of nervous in the ninth frame, but it really set the tone for the whole meet,” Lee said. “It’s better if you can stay loud as a team. It keeps everyone all pumped up for the next frame.”
“All season long, we’ve had trouble finding someone to take the bull by the horns and take the lead for us,” Salter added. “Anytime you get someone on fire like that, it helps loosen everyone else up, and it all seems to come together.”
The positivity of the day for the Ottumwa boys (5-3) wasn’t just limited to the varsity ranks. Perhaps the highlight of the entire day came from the junior varsity ranks from David Weeks, whose average entering the day was in the 140s.
Weeks finished with the best score of any JV bowler, coming up with a 242 in the opening game and a 221 average. Both Bulldog JV squads picked up easy wins with the Ottumwa girls scoring a 2,692-1,812 win over the Panthers, while the OHS JV boys won 2,285-1,215.
Both Ottumwa bowling teams return to the home lanes at Champion Bowl on Monday to take on Johnston at 2:30 p.m.
Ottumwa vs. Mount Pleasant
At Champion Bowl, Ottumwa
Team Scores: Ottumwa 2,875; Mount Pleasant 2,591.
Ottumwa Individuals: Sydney Swallow 223, Bailey Palmer 211, Michaela Maloy 211, Lynissa Lasley 184, Sierra Lennie 177, Cybil Lennie 150.
Girls Junior Varsity
Team Scores: Ottumwa 2,692, Mount Pleasant 1,812.
Ottumwa JV Individuals: Payton Wilbanks 202, Courtney Smith 176, Sadie Shaw 175, Ashley Schooley 172, Cheyenne Starr 152, Parker Remmark 150, Makenzie Courtney 148, Kayla Gatlin 145, Kourtney Longaker 143, Drew Potter 132, Erin Six 129, Shantel Hoover 104.
Team Scores: Ottumwa 3,240, Mount Pleasant 2,826.
Ottumwa Individuals: Joey Lee 252, Braxton Coble 244, Austin Palmer 230, Anthony Roberts 196, Isaac Goodman 189, Ryan Hagist 177.
Boys Junior Varsity
Team Scores: Ottumwa 2,285, Mount Pleasant 1,215.
Ottumwa JV Individuals: David Weeks 221, Joey Hartley 207, Brandon Six 207, Jordan Mitchell 202, Shane Wolfley 193, Kolten Fountain 188, James Garner 181, Anthony Rimmer 164, Bret Doud 153, Logan Platten 148, Dillon Mankowski 148, Michael Wiley 145, Seth Meinders 145.