By John Burbridge firstname.lastname@example.org
DECORAH — Zero handicap, one-house bowlers are dime a dozen.
You won’t be able to purchase the Charles City Comets for that price.
Again proving that they can roll as well on the road as they do at Comet Bowl, the Charles City boys and girls squads won both of their Class 1A state qualifiers Tuesday at Oneota Lanes.
The Comet girls could have started packing their bags for next Monday’s (Feb. 19) trip to Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo, the temporary host for the 2018 State Bowling Tournament, right after the first games in the individual round. With seniors Macy Ross and Aryah Nelson rolling respective first games of 246 and 233, and junior Madison Ross scoring a 204, the Comets were well on their way to a first-place score of 2,929 with Decorah placing a distant second (2,260).
Macy Ross, the 2016 Class 1A individual girls champion, earned top medalist honors with a 473 two-game series. If she would had bowled that last year, it would had been Charles City’s all-time record for the girls program. But Ross has since obliterated her old school record of 470 with a 553 series — which included a near-perfect 299 game — in the final regular-season meet this season to set the standard for both the Charles City boys and girls teams.
With Nelson placing second (432), Madison Ross placing fourth (393), Katie Sickman placing fifth (365) and Falyn Knecht placing sixth (355), the Comets had five bowlers in the top six.
Though Charles City was the overwhelming favorite in the girls qualifier, getting the first-place state berth wasn’t a given for the boys.
Earlier in the season, the Comet boys suffered their lone meet loss to Decorah at Oneota Lanes.
Going into the Baker Rotation, Charles City was up by 120 pins — a good margin, but not a guaranteed margin — against nearest competitor Decorah amid the seven-team field.
But with a 257 in the second game and stringing five strikes in a row in the latter half of a 226 fifth and final game, the Comets left the Vikings in the dust — 3,151 to 2,977.
“I’ve always said this team feeds on each other in the Baker round,” Charles City head coach Doug Bohlen said. “You can look it up, but we average better than 200 with our Baker games.”
Comet senior Kaleb Ross, who the Saturday before won the District Individual Tournament at Maple Lanes while averaging 238 in six games, was nearly as good in Decorah as his 467 two-game series tied him with teammate Noah Reams for top individual boy honors
Ross got his medal and Reams — who recorded a career-best — got the “you’ll get yours in the mail” promise … but that’s what you get when you’re a sophomore.
Senior Hunter Brockney placed fifth with a 435 series as the Comet boys placed three in the top 5.
“All I could say is that we bowled better,” Kaleb Ross said of Tuesday’s performance compared to the regular-season loss to the hosting Vikings. “There was a tough shot out there when we bowled before. Today, we figured out the oil pattern better.”
Though Ross has the highest average among the Comet boys (around 208 going into the qualifier), it’s a little down from last season when the left-hander averaged 215.
“But this year I’ve been having the most fun bowling,” Ross said. “Okay, my average could be a little higher, but what makes this year so great is that my teammates are always there to pick me up.
“Like when Cade Schmidt broke my record with a 526 series. That was great. I know someone like him will back me up if I’m having a bad day.”
Class 1A Bowling State Qualifier
AT ONEOTA LANES, Decorah
CHARLES CITY (3,151)
Nathan Schultz 175, 221-396; Dawson Solomon 144, 164-308; Noah Reams 235, 232-467; Hunter Brockney 209, 226-435; Kaleb Ross 258, 209-467; Cade Schmidt 182, 176-358; BAKER ROTATION — 206, 257, 181, 158, 226.
CHARLES CITY (2,929)
Baili Girkin 167, 130-297; Katie Sickman 157, 208-365; Aryah Nelson 233, 199-432; Falyn Knecht 183, 177-355; Madison Ross 204, 189-393, Macy Ross 246, 227-473; BAKER ROTATION — 180, 227, 174, 157, 173.
Top 10 Boys
1. Noah Reams (Charles City) 467, 1T. Kaleb Ross (Charles City) 467, 3. Matt Rozzell (Waukon) 444, 4. Michael Bruening (Decorah) 437, 5. Hunter Brockney (Charles City) 435, 6. Tyler Vande Lune (Decorah) 434, 7. Brian Roulson (North Fayette Valley) 431, 8. Caeden Funk (Tripoli) 417, 9. Cameron Peters (Denver) 414, 10. Collin Gavin (North Fayette Valley) 401.
Top 10 Girls
1. Macy Ross (Charles City) 473, 2. Aryah Nelson (Charles City) 432, 3. Maddie Putnam (Decorah) 395, 4. Madison Ross (Charles City) 393, 5. Katie Sickman (Charles City) 365, 6. Falyn Knecht (Charles City) 355, 7. Cassy Forsythe (Sumner-Fredericksburg) 346, 8. Emma Roe (Waukon) 335, 9. Kira Sommerlot (Tripoli) 335, 10. Megan O’Neil 314.