CAMANCHE — Highland Community College’s bowling program picked up three local student-athletes this week to add to the two Clinton boys it signed last season.
The trio of Clinton’s Tyler Schutte, Camanche’s Ethan Hull and Ashford freshman Kelly Michaelson, also from Camanche, each signed their letters of intent to play for the NJCAA program in Freeport, Illinois.
The three Gateway bowlers will join River Kings alumni Tanner Heppner and Tim Dawson.
“We are so excited to attract the talent that we have coming to Highland to bowl next season,” said Jeff Johnson, director of bowling for HCC. “The three student-athletes that we are signing today only make us that much stronger. These were target athletes that we had our eye on early in the season hoping that we could sign one of them. To get all three of these bowling standouts will put Highland in a much better place for next season.”
It will be Michaelson’s second college stop. The Camanche native went to Ashford thinking that she could go to a college close to home and bowl at the same time, but that dream went away when the school announced this fall that bowling was one of four programs getting canceled.
“It was a shock for me, because as a freshman I had plans to stay there,” Michaelson said. “I had made friends there, and going to a new school was different, but once I got onto the bowling team, I had made a lot more new friends. I got to be a part of a win, so that was a good time.”
Ashford won the Crusader Open in the first weekend of February.
Michaelson said making the transition from Ashford to Highland would be tougher.
“I’m not going to be living at home anymore,” she said. “I’m going to have my own place and start paying for my own things. It’s going to be different, but I think I’m going to enjoy it.”
On every signing trip, Johnson brings along the program’s national runner-up trophy that the Cougars womens’ program won last season. Hull helped Camanche get a state championship this season and wants to help his new team reach similar heights in the next two seasons.
“It appeals a lot, and I know they have some good people over there already,” Hull said.
Camanche Coach Jay Garvey believes Hull is ready for the next step.
“Highland is getting a first-class individual,” Garvey said. “His dedication is very strong, and I think all of his game will translate. I think it will all go to the next level. He’s looking forward to having a chance to win a national championship.
“I think winning state this year helped Ethan out tremendously,” Garvey added. “He got the feeling of winning, and he can take that desire to the collegiate level.”
Hull and Schutte will be roommates next year at Highland.
Schutte was one of five Iowa high school bowlers to turn in a perfect 300 this season in competitive play. The Clinton senior was seventh in the state in total pins (5,449) and had Iowa’s fourth-highest game average at 227.
“I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far,” Schutte said. “It’s unbelievable how far I’ve gotten. I started when I was eight years old, and now I’m going to get to play in college. That was never my goal when I was little.”
The trophy also made its appearance at Plaza Lanes for Schutte’s signing ceremony, and like his future roommate, he too is ready to contend for a title.
“When you’re putting in that much work, that’s what the trophy is for,” he said.