Bobcat boys breeze by Dowling
A week removed from recording their best team score of the season, the Marshalltown boys bowling team outdid itself in a home victory over Dowling Catholic on Tuesday.
The Bobcats set a new season record with a 3,331-1,985 win over the Maroons, beating their previous high score by just three pins.
In the last two home meets, MHS (4-0) has broken the 3,300-point barrier, and head coach DJ Wilder said his guys thrive in the friendly confines of Wayward Social.
“They love this place so obviously they are going to do the best they can to score here,” Wilder said after the second home win in his tenure. “Two 3,300s, that’s pretty good.”
Senior Ray Wiegand had the high individual series with a 514, his second-straight meet with a score in the 500s. After the win, Wiegand said he is enjoying the start to his season much more than he did in his junior campaign.
“Last year around this time I was in a slump and this year it’s like the exact opposite, so it feels nice to go out there and relax and have fun with the guys really,” Wiegand said. “I think I put too much pressure on myself at the beginning and the scores kind of showed it. This year I’ve tried to just relax and throw the ball and it’s worked out for the last couple of meets especially.”
Wiegand wasn’t the only Bobcat bowler who experienced success, however, as all six of the varsity competitors finished with a series at least in the 400s.
Junior Lucas Kramer was second with a 473, followed by freshman Demitri Ferneau with a 460, senior Carson Potter with a 412, senior Kamrin Chizek with a 409 and senior Logan Proffitt with a 403.
“Everybody being in the 400s is a plus and it’s really what you look for,” Wiegand said. “Six guys over 400 is the goal for every team in the state, I am very proud of the guys and we just came out and bowled our best. We came out here and wanted to show that we can pound them and we did that, shooting over 3,300 is a big one.”
What made everyone shooting 400 or over more impressive was the slow start many of the guys saw. Chizek, Potter and Proffitt all shot under 200 in their first game but recovered well, with each shooting over a 220 in their second game.
Wilder said even in the first games the guys were doing what they need to, the ball just wasn’t quite going where they’d like.
“They were throwing well and they were on time, just not getting the ball carry or pin carry they were looking for,” he said. “They just battled through and I talked with them saying, ‘what are you seeing? Where do you think you need to make an adjustment?’ and just tried to keep their head in the game. That paid off because they were all able to get it right the next game.”
Marshalltown continued its momentum in the Baker games, throwing a 200 or over in each of the first four games before closing with a 187 to have a five-game total of 1,063.
The second-lowest Baker game might have been the most impressive, however, as Ferneau, Potter, Chizek, Kramer and Wiegand combined to throw a Dutch 200, meaning they alternated spares and strikes to have a 20 in each frame.
“They got really excited for the Dutch 200 game, that camaraderie starts to carry over and starts to feed off of everybody, and that’s fun to watch when they can feed off each other like that,” Wilder said.
Wiegand finished off the Dutch 200 and he threw the final frame for all the Baker games, capping off an already stellar day for the senior.
“Ray is fun to watch, a lot of times I look to him and say, ‘hey, what are you seeing?’ and based off what he tells me I can take that to the others,” Wilder said. “The kid is phenomenal, it’s hard to coach somebody like that because what do you say? He’s going to tell me more than I am going to tell him probably. It’s a lot of fun to watch. He’s a phenomenal talent and will do a lot of things in this sport next year and the years beyond.”
While Wiegand has been strong to start the year, Ferneau has shown quite a bit of consistency even as a freshman coming in to an already-established team.
“He is going to have his nights where he is going to struggle because of his age, and we get that, but even struggles for him are going to be a 195 game or a 198 game,” Wilder said. “He is a lot of fun to watch, he is very quiet and keeps to himself but I think he enjoys being with the gang and watching what they do and where this thing needs to go in four years for him.”
Much like last season, the Bobcats show no signs of stopping their current undefeated run. In fact, Marshalltown hasn’t lost a regular-season meet since the 2016-17 season, as the only meet they didn’t come out on top in last year was when they finished second at state.
Wiegand said experiencing that letdown at the end of the year a season ago has helped the team prepare expectations for this campaign, and the Bobcats are just taking each meet as it comes.
“We haven’t even really talked about the postseason, we are just kind of keeping that for the postseason,” Wiegand said. “We are going one meet at a time and want to show we can do it again.”
While the boys have rolled back-to-back meets in the 3,300s, Wilder said there is still some room for improvement.
“We’ve talked a lot about a system of how to get spares, and one of the senior leaders in Kamrin asked a question of who has a system for picking up spares, and I think he raised his hand but nobody else had a system,” Wilder said. “We started talking about a very basic system of what adjustments to make to pick up spares and I think once the kids start doing it and start seeing success with it they will start doing it more and buying into it.”
The Bobcats look to remain undefeated on Thursday when they host West Des Moines Valley at Wayward Social, starting at 3:45 p.m.