‘What it could have been’
Marshalltown rally falls short, boys bowlers take second at state
WATERLOO — In a game that has scores regularly in the 3,000’s, bowling often comes down to the way a pin falls, or doesn’t, that spells the difference between walking away as a champion or not.
The Marshalltown bowling team experienced that firsthand on Wednesday in the Iowa High School State Bowling Tournament at Cadillac Lanes, as the Bobcats just narrowly missed coming home with its second state title in program history, finishing as the runner-up with a team score of 3,202, just eight pins shy of Southeast Polk’s 3,210.
MHS head coach Roger Taylor Sr. said when you finish that close to a state title and come up short, your mind just can’t help thinking about what went awry.
“It could have been, it could have, that’s all we can say is what it could have been,” he said, clearly still emotional from the end of the season. “If we had one extra strike or one more spare it could have been, but the bottom line is we had a great season with some great kids on the team, I couldn’t be more proud and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this program and I can’t wait to come back next year.”
It took a heroic effort for the Bobcats to even finish where they did. After the first four Baker games, Marshalltown sat in third behind Waterloo West and Southeast Polk by nearly 100 pins, and the team knew it needed nearly a perfect game to have a chance.
And a perfect game was almost what it got.
The Bobcats rolled eight-straight strikes to start the final Baker, all the while the Wahawks started to falter in their final game, and once everything was said and done Marshalltown nudged past Waterloo West, bowling at its home lane, by three pins. It just wasn’t enough to overtake the Rams.
Lucas Kramer, who finished as the top Bobcat individually by taking runner-up honors, said he and the rest of the MHS boys knew how important that final Baker game was.
“We knew that Waterloo was getting ahead of us and we needed a strong game to be able to place, and it really helped us get past them,” Kramer said.
There was actually a change made right before that final Baker game, as Taylor Sr. decided to switch out Kamrin Chizek in the third spot for Jonathan McKeever, a decision that paid dividends with McKeever rolling two strikes in his two frames.
Taylor Sr. said there might have been a few other adjustments he needed to make, but when you fall that close you always tend to question every decision made.
“Kamrin was struggling a little bit so I wanted Jonathan to get in there and hindsight is 20-20 and I could have made some changes earlier maybe, but who knows?” he said. “To shoot a 267 in the last game, we thought as long as we passed the team we were bowling against in Waterloo West we would be in the lead.”
The runner-up finish is the lone blemish on what was a near-perfect season for the Marshalltown boys. Even at state, they had some great individual performances as well with Kramer finishing second with a series of 479 and Richie Thomas taking eighth with a 453.
Kramer said he was happy he could replicate his brother’s placing at state six years ago.
“It felt great, back in 2012 my brother finished runner up here so it feels good to be able to tie him in that,” Kramer said.
As for Thomas, who threw two strikes in his final two frames as a Bobcat, he said none of his achievements would have been possible without his teammates.
“I owe it all to my teammates, they push me to go farther and make me do greater,” Thomas said. “It was a fight all year long, you know? It was good, I enjoyed every minute of it. We weren’t just friends, it’s a brotherhood, we are all family. We have all been bowling since we were kids, we’ve known each other since we were kids, and being out here again with them for four years in a row was just great.”
It is apparent to anyone who has watched these Bobcats this year that they truly are a family, not just a team. They all celebrate each other’s accomplishments and are there when the others are down, and Taylor Sr. said despite not coming out on top on Wednesday he will cherish the memories made this year.
“We had a couple of big hugs and lots of tears and Richie and Josh (Arment) on their last shots of their bowling careers both struck, so we have a lot of really good memories,” Taylor Sr. said. “We didn’t go 17-0 but 16-1 is a pretty good season. I couldn’t be more proud of the boys and girls of the Bobcat bowling team.”
Looking ahead to next year, of the six bowlers who rolled on Wednesday, only Thomas and Arment — who finished just one pin out of a top-10 placing — won’t be back next season due to graduation.
When asked what finishing as both runner-up individually and as a team does for his desire to win, Kramer said it makes him want to start next season tomorrow.
“It’s just motivation,” Kramer said, his desire for a title clear in his words.
Class 3A State Tournament
At Cadillac Lanes, Waterloo
Team Standings — 1. Southeast Polk 3,210, 2. Marshalltown 3,202, 3. Waterloo West 3,199, 4. Davenport North 3,082, 5. Muscatine 3,072, 6. Dubuque Hempstead 3,012, 7. Waukee 2,998, 8. Cedar Rapids Prairie 2,945.
Individual (top 10) — 1. Zach Bianchi, SEP, 279-225–504; 2. Lucas Kramer, MHS, 245-234–479; 3. Tyler McCumsey, DVN, 221-257–478; 4. Ryan Gregory, SEP, 257-216–473; 5. Cameron Borst, WAU, 244-222–466; 6. Brandt Carter, DVN, 235-230–465; 7. Max Hiatt, CR Kennedy, 210-245–455; 8. Richie Thomas, MHS, 231-222–453; 9. Patrick Connolly, DH, 200-248–448; 10. Tristan Corcoran, WW, 226-214–440
MARSHALLTOWN (3,202) — Kramer 245-234–479, Thomas 231-222–453, Joshua Arment 228-211–439, Ray Wiegand 195-205–401, Kamrin Chizek 202-171–373, Jonathan McKeever 186-165–351; Baker games: 197, 197, 191, 205, 267.