OTTUMWA — The goal of any team is to get better as the season progresses.
Just a few precious meets remain in the regular season, and the Ottumwa bowling teams picked a good time to put up their best scores of the year.
For the first time this season, both the Bulldog girls and boys crossed the 3,000-pin plateau. While the Ottumwa boys topped their season-best 3,330-pin high mark earned last week at Champion Bowl, the Bulldog girls had a big breakthrough day on the lanes on Thursday.
Doug Techel’s squad topped 3,000 pins for the first time, putting up a 3,040 total to beat CIML Metro foe Des Moines Hoover by almost 1,100 pins. The effort is exactly what Techel wanted to see from his team at the right time of the season.
“For any team going in getting ready for the postseason, you want to peak at the right time,” Techel said. “If we can continue to bowl like we are, who knows. The sky’s the limit because this team is very capable of putting up scores like this one.
“There was some enthusiasm. The girls had a lot of fun and bowled well.”
Sierra Lennie led the way for the Bulldog girls, finishing with a 232 average. Lennie was one of three bowlers to finish with a 200-plus average as Payton Wilbanks rolled a 221 while Ali Salter put up a 205 average.
The Bulldogs’ best day came in part to their season-long dedication to cutting down on missing opportunities by missing spares. The spare improvement was obvious on Thursday, especially when compared to the Bulldog girls’ only loss of the season in just their second meet at Des Moines Lincoln.
“When Lincoln beat us, we missed 42 spares. We only missed ten in this meet,” Techel said. “If you could, you’d go back and show the girls that this is what we need to do. If they pick up their spares up, they can shoot this well.”
“This is what we need to do to shoot this kind of score consistently.”
Consistent scoring has been carrying the Ottumwa boys to a consistent season of success. The Bulldogs maintained their perfect record by nearly moving into the 3,400 range, using a 3,380 to win by 893 pins over the Huskies with a balanced effort that included several big performances.
“We had some different people step up for us,” Ottumwa boys head coach Brett Salter said. “Austin Palmer had a big day (averaging a meet-best 247). Anthony Roberts stepped up for us (firing a 241). That’s what we’ve been working on.
“We want to get some different people in the flow of things so as a team and as a unit, we’re working together a lot better.”
Striving just to get to 3,200 for the first time as last as last week, the Bulldogs have gone over 3,300 in their last two homes meets. It was the one road meet in between, however, that Salter looked at as a big late-season performance for his team.
“I’m actually happier with the 3,101 we had up at Air Lanes (in a win at Des Moines Roosevelt) on Monday,” Salter said. “This 3,380 is a circumstance where everyone had a good day going. That 3,101 took everyone bowling good. That score shines a lot more to me.”
The Ottumwa JV teams fell in a pair of close battles against Mount Pleasant’s varsity squads. The Bulldog boys, led by Lukas Jordan’s 225 average, finished just 89 pins behind the Panthers with a 2,578 while the Ottumwa girls finished 90 pins behind Mount Pleasant with a 2,799 team score and a team-best 183 average from Whitney Bone.
Both the Ottumwa boys (9-0, 9-0) and girls (8-1, 8-1) bowl at Des Moines East next Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
Ottumwa vs. Des Moines Hoover
At Champion Bowl, Ottumwa
Team Scores: 1. Ottumwa 3,040; 2. Des Moines Hoover 1,943.
Ottumwa Individuals: Sierra Lennie 232, Payton Wilbanks 221, Ali Salter 205, Cybil Lennie 184, Michaela Maloy 172, Sydney Swallow 152.
Team Scores: 1. Ottumwa 3,380; 2. Des Moines Hoover 2,487.
Ottumwa Individuals: Austin Palmer 247, Anthony Roberts 241, Tyler Ollom 225, Issac Goodman 218, Alan Brady 205, Joey Lee 197.
Ottumwa JV vs. Mount Pleasant Varsity
At Champion Bowl, Ottumwa
Girls Junior Varsity
Team Scores: 1. Mount Pleasant 2,667; 2. Ottumwa JV 2,578.
Ottumwa Individuals: Whitney Bone 183, Madison Ware 178, Lynissa Lasley 176, Ashley Schooley 157, Sadie Shaw 156, Courtney Smith 138, Nikki Mitchell 135, Bre Rodriguez 117, Morgan Whitmore 87.
Boys Junior Varsity
Team Scores: 1. Mount Pleasant 2,889; 2. Ottumwa JV 2,799.
Ottumwa Individuals: Lukas Jordan 225, Tyler Bartlett 195, Jordan Mitchell 190, Ryan Hagist 180, Justin Snyder 173, Anthony Rimmer 172, Braxton Coble 169, Todd Swartz 167, Brandon Evans 151, Trevor Baker 148, Micheal Wiley 143, Robert Sledge 142, Noah Wallace 132, Dillan Mankowski 123, Connor Hansen 120.