’Cats stonewalled at state
Marshalltown boys bowling team finishes fifth, Chizek places sixth
WATERLOO — There aren’t many things more frustrating as a bowler than hitting the pocket with your shot, seeing it roll just like you want it, then when it hits the pins nine fall over but one refuses to budge.
That was the story of the day for the Marshalltown boys bowling team, as time and time again the Bobcats saw shots that usually end in strikes finish as a 9-count. Due to that lack of a break, the MHS boys finished in fifth at the Class 3A State Bowling Meet with a 2,976, more than 200 pins lower than their season average.
“I am not sure I’ve ever seen this team leave that many 9-counts,” Bobcat head bowling coach DJ Wilder said after the state meet. “I mean there was a stretch there in the second individual game that through five frames there was a seven-count, an eight-count, and the rest were nine-counts and maybe two or three strikes. We couldn’t carry anything for nothing, we would throw good balls, we would throw balls that were kind of wash em’ up and we still couldn’t get things to fall down. I think at the end of the day that’s what separates us from being able to bring home some hardware.”
There was a bright spot for the Bobcats, however, as senior Kamrin Chizek ended his career with a bang by leading the team with a series score of 448, good enough to place sixth individually.
While the rest of the team struggled to find the sweet spot on the lanes, Chizek said he was in the zone.
“Honestly, I saw pocket shots all day, I shot good shots all day,” Chizek said with his individual medal draped around his neck. “Stone 8s, stone 10s, flat 10s, I just moved left, hit the light mixer and it was carrying for me. Every time I came up I just said, ‘quality shot here, that’s all I can do.'”
Behind Chizek individually was junior Lucas Kramer with a 412. Senior Carson Potter followed with a 408, then came senior Ray Wiegand with a 397, freshman Demitri Ferneau with a 361 and junior Logan Proffitt with a 346.
Wilder said Chizek did everything he could to keep up the scoring, but he couldn’t do it alone.
“It was a great day for him, I know that he coming down the stretch struggled a little bit in the last dual meets and the district meet,” Wilder said. “He needed to have today and that was good to see, we just needed someone to come up behind him and help him out a little bit.”
After back-to-back years finishing as the runners-up, the Marshalltown boys had their eyes set on bringing home a championship for the first time since 2015. Wilder said unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards today, since every time they would get a couple of strikes in a row the pin carry wouldn’t continue and that pesky 9-count would rear its ugly head.
“Every time we needed a shot to sustain some momentum or kick off some momentum we couldn’t carry it,” Wilder said. “I asked the kids to throw quality shots, and they responded, they threw quality shots, they just weren’t getting carries. We kept saying to them, ‘throw the shots, the carries will come.’ Maybe tomorrow, it just didn’t happen today.”
Wiegand, who competed in his fourth state meet on Thursday, said the oil patterns at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo have always been a struggle for the Bobcat boys, but that wasn’t an excuse.
“Here at Cadillac the carry has never been that great,” he said. “We knew that coming in and we tried to practice on some things a couple of weeks beforehand. I know a couple guys came up here and bowled over the weekend, we knew what to expect and we knew what would happen, it happened right in our faces. We tried to make adjustments and moves to get rid of it but we couldn’t. We did our best, and that’s all that matters.”
Wilder said, to the kids’ credit, they didn’t get frustrated or down on themselves when the shots weren’t going their way, and they listened to the advice of the coaching staff.
“You try to make adjustments, and these kids all day long were making adjustments, trying to get the angle right, the approach right, and they just felt like they were always a step behind,” Wilder said. “Then they tried to get two steps up, and then it was too far. We just couldn’t get caught up, it’s a frustrating thing.”
After the individual series, Marshalltown was in third place by 146 pins. Wilder said that’s not the worst position to be in, and the boys thought they could at least make a run.
“We all felt like we had a good shot going into Bakers that we could close the gap and maybe make a move, but we just couldn’t get the pins to fall,” he said.
In the Baker games the Bobcats went 188, 187, 182, 193 and 200, meaning none of their games reached their average of 210.9. Davenport North was the team state champion with a score of 3,183, and the Wildcats overcame a 19-pin deficit after the individual series to take the title.
Chizek was once again the key to any success Marshalltown had in those Bakers, as he was the anchor and was the most consistent strike thrower.
“Normally my nerves get to me and it starts to have an effect on me, but I was in my element today,” he said. “I didn’t look at the score at all until my last shot, I just wanted to make good shots. I wanted to be there for the team and pick them up. Whatever we placed, I wanted this to be a good memory.”
The final three throwers in the last Baker game were Potter, Wiegand and Chizek, meaning they all finished their final throws in a Marshalltown uniform in succession. After all three finished the trio embraced, with the final hug after Chizek finished being the most emotional.
“It was no different than hugging one of my family members, it was emotional, to say the least,” Chizek said. “That was a great feeling just to end my season well with them.”
“I just told them, ‘that’s it, it’s over,'” Wiegand said of his message to his fellow seniors. “We built a legacy, a four-year legacy. We made it to state four years, two runner-up finishes and a couple other top-fives. Being at state for all four years, that’s all we needed to accomplish and that’s what we did. We might not walk away with the trophy today, but we walk away with our heads held high.”
Wilder said the impact those three seniors have made on the program will be felt for years to come, and to him specifically he will never forget his first class of seniors who helped him get to a state tournament in his first year on the job.
“They are the ones that helped me tie the previous regime to me. They allowed me to be the coach, but they also helped me make decisions,” he said. “They were fully aware that my final say was the final say, but they also knew I was going to listen to what they had to say. I couldn’t imagine coming into a team that didn’t have any of that leadership and just trying to figure all this out. That’s why we were able to at least get back here today and be in contention.”
When he looks back on all that’s been accomplished in the last four years, Wiegand said he can’t help but smile.
“Proud is an understatement, I am just glad I was able to come here all four years, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “We made good, quality shots today and I’m proud of the whole team. We couldn’t have done anything different, it is what it is. That’s bowling, it’s a sport that you have to get a little lucky in. Today we didn’t get that luck, couldn’t get our hits and it ends like that. We made a good run at it and we had fun, so that’s all that counts.”
Though the Bobcats now say goodbye to Chizek, Potter and Wiegand, Wilder said they aren’t leaving the cupboard bare, considering three of Thursday’s state competitors will be back next year along with some up-and-coming talent.
“It’s going to be hard to see them go obviously, but I think we have a pretty solid program still coming up behind them,” Wilder said. “The ability to have a full year to work with some of the younger kids, I look forward to that.
“It doesn’t end here, this chapter is done but the next chapter starts tomorrow morning.”
Class 3A State Bowling Meet
At Cadillac Lanes, Waterloo
Team Standings — 1. Davenport North 3,183, 2. Pleasant Valley 3,053, 3. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 3,031, 4. Muscatine 3,017, 5. Marshalltown 2,976, 6. Southeast Polk 2,955, 7. Cedar Rapids Prairie 2,911, 8. Cedar Falls 2,887.
Individual (Top 10) — 1. Bryan Verdon, DN, 494; 2. Tristan Corcoran, Waterloo West, 483; 3. Alton Barber, PV, 482; 4. Noah Miller, Muscatine, 465; 5. Matt Kitzmiller, CRJ, 449; 6. Kamrin Chizek, MHS, 448; 7. Cory LaBarge, PV, 446; 8. Joshua DelCorso, PV, 433; 9. Brant Carter, DN, 432; 10. Joe Jensen, Waukee, 431.
MARSHALLTOWN — Chizek 448, Lucas Kramer 412, Carson Potter 408, Ray Wiegand 397, Demitri Ferneau 361, Logan Proffitt 346; Bakers: 188, 187, 182, 193, 200.