Stronger together

Four area schools represented at state by Marshalltown bowling

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - The Marshalltown bowling program — including the state-bound boys varsity team, the girls team, junior varsity bowlers, managers and coaches — does a final cheer at the end of the pep rally for the Bobcat boys’ state trip on Tuesday. When the MHS boys compete at the state meet this morning in Waterloo, four schools from the area will be represented on the lanes.

The name on the front of the uniform might read ‘Bobcats’, but there’s more than just Marshalltown High School being represented when the boys bowling team competes at the Class 3A State Bowling meet this morning at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo.

Of the six boys making up the varsity Bobcat bowling team, three attend MHS and three spend their days at other schools.

Kamrin Chizek is a senior at GMG and will be bowling in his third state meet for the Bobcats, while Logan Proffitt is a junior at BCLUW and Demitri Ferneau a freshman at South Tama County, and both are making their state debuts.

Marshalltown head bowling coach DJ Wilder, who has a son that attends West Marshall and is on the junior varsity bowling team, said once all of the boys are together for practice, their separate schools aren’t a factor towards the team’s chemistry.

“I don’t even know if there is any thought of that once they are in here,” Wilder said. “Obviously when you’re out and about you remember that Kamrin is from GMG or what have you, but once they’re here they are Bobcats, there’s no differentiating on that. I think the kids from outside of Marshalltown are proud to put on that jersey when they do, and I think when they go back home they are proud to be a South Tama Trojan or a GMG Wolverine. Wherever they come from, they are proud of that and when they are here they are proud of this too.”

Senior captain Ray Wiegand, who is one of three MHS students on the varsity squad along with senior Carson Potter and junior Lucas Kramer, said the boys are proud to have more than one school behind them.

“It’s nice to be able to represent a whole entire county essentially rather than one community because that shows how bowling has really become diverse in Marshalltown,” Wiegand said. “Every year we have kids from GMG, BCLUW, schools from around the area and that’s really nice because bowling is big enough to do that where we can all get together in one community and bowl as one team, and I like that a lot.”

Before taking over the job this season, Wilder admitted he wasn’t as versed in how the sharing part of the team worked, but the more he learned about it the more he realized how great it is for the bowling community in central Iowa.

“Last week I was talking to [MHS athletic director Rollie Ackerman] about that, how does the co-op thing work? Are there any issues? And he said, ‘we are a 3A team whether we get these kids or not. It doesn’t bump us up a class, so why not utilize the best kids in the area for the team, regardless of what school they go to?'” Wilder said. “I think it’s great, there are a lot of schools involved, I even just had a kid from East Marshall asking about what the schedule is like.”

Chizek, who also serves as a captain alongside Wiegand, said when it comes to competing it’s never bothered him that it isn’t his school’s name on his uniform.

“I know it doesn’t for me. I don’t necessarily think of myself as a Bobcat, but as a bowler. We are all bowlers, we’re a team no matter what school you’re from,” Chizek said. “A couple of my friends asked me, ‘is it weird to wear a Bobcat shirt?’ and I just said, ‘no, not really. We’re just a team.'”

Ferneau was brand new to the team this year, but he said it didn’t take much time to feel like part of the squad because of his relationships outside of school competition.

“They’ve kind of accepted me, Ray has wanted me on the team since I was maybe in seventh grade,” Ferneau said. “I’ve just got to keep up my game and work hard to get better.”

While competing for another school, the feats the boys have achieved could be lost on some of their classmates. Proffitt, who is in his first year competing at the varsity level, said that hasn’t been his experience so far.

“My school has done pretty well at supporting me and pushing me on. They keep encouraging me to keep going and hopefully to bring home a state title with my name on it,” Proffitt said. “We actually just had a pep rally for some of our speech kids and I somehow got involved in that. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the BCLUW kids scream quite as loud as they did that day.”

Having that kind of support from your team makes it understandable why the boys want to bring home a state title for the first time since 2015. If that were to happen, Chizek said there’s no doubt in his mind that he will feel like a champion for two communities.

“I can represent a Bobcat in bowling but I’m also representing where I’m from and my school,” he said.

The Bobcat bowlers will compete at the 3A State Bowling Meet today at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo, starting at 11:30 a.m.