By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
Going to state is nothing new for Faith Schultz and the rest of the Camanche girls bowling team. Same for the Indians’ Cody Mensinger.
They’re headed back to Des Moines for the state tournament, albeit a little later than expected. Class 1A bowlers, including girls teams from Camanche and Central DeWitt and the boys team from Bellevue, finally get their chance for state medals Monday at Plaza Lanes in Des Moines. Class 2A competition, which includes Clinton’s Nick Heimbaugh, is set for Tuesday.
Bowlers from across the state who qualified for the state tournament have had to wait more than three weeks since the qualifier because of a snowstorm that forced the postponement of the state meet from the original dates of Feb. 21 and 22
“We’ve had a few extra practices,” Camanche coach Jay Garvey said. “It shouldn’t have a major effect on anything.”
That should be good news for the area bowlers because Central DeWitt had the second-best qualifying team score (2,736 pins) for Class 1A girls and Camanche was right behind in third at 2,723. Dubuque Wahlert, which beat Camanche in the qualifier, led the state with a 2,822 total.
Garvey said that high score should have nothing but positive results for the Indians.
“I don’t think (it adds pressure),” he said. “It just gives us a little more confidence. I think it’s pretty good for them.
“I think the outlook is pretty good. We bowled pretty well at the end of the season. If we can get our season average, we should be in the top three, and that’s pretty good.
Schultz heads to Des Moines with the best 1A qualifying score for an individual, a 428.
“She did pretty good last year in qualifying, so it was not a big surprise,” Garvey said. “She’s capable of 400-plus any time she bowls.”
One plus on Camanche’s side is state meet experience.
“We basically took about the same team last year, and I think they were shocked at all the people there,” Garvey said. “They should be a little more relaxed this time.”
Being familiar with the other top teams could have an impact, too.
“I think that helps a lot,” Garvey said. “It gets the girls more comfortable.”
Bellevue coach Ken Anderson said he didn’t think the long delay would hurt his boys team even though the Comets put up some impressive numbers in the qualifier.
“I don’t think anyone wanted a wait, especially a three-week wait,” Anderson said. “It would have been easier when the kids were on fire. But they bowl anyway, so I don’t know that it makes much difference.”
The Comets put up the second-best qualifying team score in Class 1A, winning their meet with a 3,163-pin total, just 10 fewer than Manchester West Delaware. Both Riley Till and Spencer Templeton rolled 300 games that day for the Comets, and Till had the top individual score in Class 1A (568).
Even with those accomplishments, Anderson doesn’t expect it to put too much pressure on his team.
“We’re a loose group,” he said. “I don’t know if they’ll target us much. Western Dubuque has thrown some of the best scores this season. We probably won’t see a pair of 300s again. We’re capable of another 3,100, but that’s a typical score for Western Dubuque.”
A more important question might be how well will the Comets adjust to the lanes?
“For me, that makes a big deal,” Anderson said. “I’d be kind of bothered by it, but I don’t think it’s that big a deal for the guys. Riley has been out there before, since he competed (at state) as a freshman, and I think our other kids will adjust.
“Riley is the grandson of Randy Weber (who owns Horizon Lanes in Bellevue), and (Weber) has thrown some different oiling patterns at us.”
In addition to the Bellevue team, Mensinger and Allen Mumm of Central DeWitt qualified individually for Monday’s tournament.
Garvey is hoping for big things from his senior, who had the sixth-best individual qualifying score in 1A.
“Cody has had a fantastic year,” Garvey said. “It’s a two-game shootout, and I think his chances are pretty good because he can bowl with the best of them in the state.
“It’s his third trip. That definitely helps, and I think he’s excited.”