Bobcats finish third at districts

T-R photo by Stephen Koenigsfeld Karlie Potter watches as her ball knocks over all 10 pins, recording a strike for the junior bowler during an individual round of Tuesday’s district meet at the Totem Bowl. Potter had a team-best 375 series as the Bobcats took third in District 6 action.

A season of progress and achievement came to an end Tuesday afternoon for the Marshalltown girls’ bowling team.

With a third-place finish at the Class 3A District 6 bowling meet at the Totem Bowl, the Bobcats did not qualify for this year’s state tournament. However, despite falling short, the Bobcats still had a lot to show during and after their final meet of the year.

Des Moines Lincoln came from behind during the Bakers and won the district meet, automatically advancing to the state tournament.

Head coach Andy Schwandt said Tuesday’s final score of 2,298 right along the average for a meet this season. They were led by Karlie Potter’s 375 series, with Haley Bell close behind with a 361.

Swandt said right up through the final meet of the year, the Bobcats continued to show strides and improvements toward the basic fundamentals of the game. It was the technicalities and finer things that challenged MHS bowlers late in the afternoon.

t-r photo by stephen koenigsfeld Ali Olinger reacts in relief to a strike finally falling her way during an individual round at Tuesday’s Class 3A District 6 meet. Olinger had a 320 series as the Bobcats finished third.

“Our 2,298 is right up there where we’ve been averaging in the past few meets,” Schwandt said. “The girls are continuing to improve and do good things. There’s always a learning curve, learning the transitioning between lanes, and that’s what we ran into in the second game. The lanes started transitioning, and we weren’t making the proper moves and adjustments to keep up with where the lanes were going.”

The MHS girls improved on their dual record from 2015 (1-7) to 4-6 this year. Last year, the Bobcats managed just a match average of 1,972.2 pins. However, this year, they were up in the region of 2,199 pins per match.

The Bobcats currently tout five juniors and a freshman on their squad. Swandt said he’s confident in the Bobcats’ abilities to continue working on the fundamentals throughout the offseason, so when they hit the lanes next winter, they’ll be able to pick up where they left off Tuesday.

“Since we had most of these girls last year anyway, the core group continues to improve,” Schwandt said. “The averages are going up, they’re getting more confident in their game. So as that continues to build and grow, there’s good things for next year.”

Schwandt said he hopes the girls’ find alternate instruction during the off time the Bobcats have before next winter, to seek out other professionals and enhance their game through those outlets. Having a better understanding of person game and gain after some time off might prove fortunate for a group of five seniors next season.

“It’s all about fundamentals,” Schwandt said. “Everyone can learn to work on their own individual game. Over the offseason, we encourage the girls to get more instruction and keep working on the fundamentals. Even Tiger Woods needs a coach. So, where they’re at today doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where they’re going to be forever.”

Ali Olinger was also in the 300s with her individual series, posting a 320 game series. A 185 second individual round saw Olinger record all strikes and spares, except for one frame she left open.

Marshalltown was third behind Des Moines Lincoln’s 2,619 and just ahead of Ankeny’s 2,177.