Dru Wilder finds a home, and relief, with Grand View signing

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - Marshalltown bowler Dru Wilder, seated center, signed his letter of intent to continue his bowling career at Grand View University in the fall. Wilder, a senior at West Marshall High School, was joined at his signing ceremony by family members (clockwise from front left) Desi, Qwinton, DJ and Kenzee Wilder, and Grand View head coach Melody Felton, seated at right.

The recruiting process for young high school athletes can be stressful and hard to get through, particularly for those navigating the uncertainty of a pandemic.

It’s that uncertainty which impacted Marshalltown senior bowler Dru Wilder heading into his final year as a Bobcat bowler. Coming off of a state title run in 2020-21, Dru and the Bobcat boys’ team had high hopes and expectations for themselves.

Marshalltown has only one loss, but the team has struggled to match its own expectations and there have been up-and-downs. Before Thursday evening’s bounce-back victory over Fort Dodge, though, Dru lifted a big weight off of his chest by officially signing with Grand View University to be a bowler starting in 2022.

He said one of his most present emotions was relief after the signing ceremony held at Wayward Social.

“It feels great, ever since this time last year I’ve wanted to go to Grand View,” Dru said. “It’s a big burden off my shoulders because now I don’t have to worry about it all. I can finally live life now.

“It’s a lot better, I feel like I can relax more.”

With his family present, it was a big day for the Wilders — and for the growing connection between Grand View and Marshalltown.

2020 individual state bowling champ and Marshalltown graduate Lucas Kramer is already at Grand View as a member of the team, and his relationship with Dru and his father DJ helped play a role in the decision to go play for the Vikings. Another big factor was the attention to detail, pursuit and the interest shown by GV head coach Melody Felton.

“We went on a couple different visits,” DJ said. “Melody just took great interest in him, and every time we’d see her in Des Moines she was always wanting to make sure his paperwork was ready to go and that was impressive to me.

“She’s also talking about teaching the kids how to drill out a bowling ball, because she’s the pro shop out at [Air Lanes Bowling Center] so she’s going to teach that part of the game too. Andru’s got a great bowling mind and kind of focuses on ball, so this is gonna be a good fit for him.”

Dru’s major at Grand View will be Sports Administration, one of the many draws to the small college. He added that the small college feel he got during his visits suited him well.

He bowled a 246-224-470 series just hours after signing his deal, looking more confident and providing more of a punch than at some other points prior in the season.

And with his future decided, his father and head coach said there’s a lot to be proud of for the Bobcat senior who attends West Marshall High School.

“I am super proud of him,” DJ said. “It’s taken a huge load off of his mind, he was struggling for the longest time about the decision and it was affecting his play on the lanes.

“I finally just said, ‘Just make a decision. We’re going to back you whatever you do.'”


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