Comet bowling teams look to add to state trophy collection
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — In bowling, sometimes it’s hard to get on a roll … figuratively as well as literally.
As in most sports, it’s a matter of rhythm. Riding a good one can mean a string of strikes on way to an award score. But often in league and school bowling, that rhythm is disrupted by slow bowlers, rack resets and equipment breakdowns.
Then comes that split, or chopping that 6-pin off the 10-pin for a missed spare. That can make the wait for the next frame excruciating.
“It’s a mental game,” said Nathan Shultz, who is a returning senior for the Charles City Comets boys bowling team. Last season, Shultz averaged just under 190 land was a fifth-place individual medalist at last year’s state meet.
“You string five … six in a row, and then you throw a split or miss a spare,” Shutlz said. “You’ve got to learn to push through that and don’t let it bring you down.”
Though Shultz was a state medalist, the Comet boys didn’t bring home a state-placing trophy last season. The Comet girls did with a third-place showing. It was the third-straight season that the Charles City girls team earned a state-placing trophy, including a Class 1A state runner-up trophy in 2018 when the Comct boys also finished runner-up.
Charles City boys and girls head coach Doug Bohlen feels there’s a good chance to add to the growing collection of state-placing trophies in the near future.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what our boys are going to do this year,” Bohlen said. “We’ve got a lot of our guys back.”
Included in this lot is Bohlen’s grandson, Cael Bohlen, who as a freshman last year led the Comet boys with a 199.1 average. Bohlen was the state-qualifier individual champion last season.
Senior Noah Reams had the second-highest average (198.4) for the Comets last season.
Senior Cade Schmidt also returns. He averaged 182.7 last season — down from his outstanding sophomore season when he set a school record with a 526 two-game series.
The mark was later bested by Macy Ross (553), but Schmidt still holds the Comet boys’ record.
Macy, who was an individual state champion in 2016), and her sister Madison Ross, who was among the state leaders among girls with a team-record 215 average, have both graduated. But the third leg of the sister act, junior Brianna Ross, is back after averaging 170.1 last season for the Comet girls.
The Comet girls also return junior Sarah Mitchell, who was second to Madison Ross for highest average (175.5) on the team last year.
Senior Joslyn Cotton is also back for her fourth year with the program.
Cotton, a left-hander, has been traveling down to Cedar Rapids every Tuesday to bowl on “Sport Pattern” conditions.
“The line is much smaller than you see in regular house patterns,” said Cotton, who averaged 162.6 last season. “You miss your mark by just a little, you don’t get away with it.”
Like many returning Comets — as well as most bowlers in general — Cotton hopes to improve her spare shooting.
“You wouldn’t think a left-handed bowler like me would have trouble with the 10-pin,” Cotton said, “but that’s my toughest spare.”
With the loss of high-roller Macy Ross as well as several other seniors, the Comet girls are in a rebuilding phase.
“But if our girls bowl as well as they can, they can beat most any team,” Bohlen said.