CAMANCHE, Iowa — Over at Imperial Lanes, the Camanche boys are tired of not having the bragging rights.
“There are a lot of bragging rights there,” junior bowler Dalton Weber said Monday at practice. Weber has not qualified for the state tournament yet, while he’s watched the girls go every year he’s been on the team. “There’s always competition after the meets about who beat who, but they always seem to bring up the fact that they’ve been to state and I haven’t been there yet.”
The boys will get their chance at their own trip to state on Tuesday when the two teams head up to Dubuque for the state qualifying meet.
“I think we have sent to a pretty decent qualifier and have a pretty good chance of sending both boys and girls out to the state tournament,” Camanche bowling coach and Imperial Lanes owner Jay Garvey said. “Today, because it’s the day before, we’ll just get loosened up. It will be a fairly short practice. We’ll go through our warmups and a couple stations and some games. We’ll get everyone’s equipment cleaned up and in place so we’re ready to take off in the morning.”
The boys are definitely prepared.
“I’ve just been working on the mental part and thinking good thoughts,” sophomore Mason McManus said. McManus leads the boys team with an average of 204. “I’m trying not to get down on myself and just hoping that the team does good.”
They’re also confident that this is not the end of the Indians’ success.
“We have a pretty young team,” Weber said.
Weber, a junior, is the oldest on the varsity roster. “So we have a good chance next year, too. If we can make it back-to-back that will be perfect.”
Coach Garvey is confident in his group this year, especially after seeing the work they have put in.
“We’ve got a few who will come in after hours or on the weekends and do a little open bowling and practice even when the team doesn’t have practice,” Garvey said about his team. “It doesn’t get a lot of limelight. Basketball is primetime, football is primetime, and this is not. It’s a little tougher to get to because it’s not on school property and not much of a spectator sport. So we just do what we do.”
The girls team has just six athletes this year, but that’s all they need. Lone senior Jordan Smith wants to make a fourth trip to the state tournament.
“It was scary as a freshman, but you get there and there are all these people. It’s a huge house and all the lanes are full. It’s a thrill and an adrenaline rush to bowl,” Smith said. “It gets me excited just remembering it.”
Smith said a lot of the mental preparation for substate bowling has been reassuring the youthful team that it’s going to be alright despite all the nerves.
“Throughout the season we’ve been working at practice to better ourselves,” Smith said. “We have a few newbies on the team and it’s a lot about getting them comfortable with being in this type of competitive situation that they’re not used to.”
The Indians will bowl at Cherry Lanes at Diamond Joe Casino in Dubuque Tuesday at noon. The state tournament, if they qualify, will be held Feb. 19-21 in Waterloo.
“It’s a big day,” Weber said. “I’m a little nervous.”
Clinton High will also be bowling to qualify for state. Their tournament will be at the Plaza today at 1 p.m.