Comet girls win Conference Baker Rotation Bowling Tournament
By John Burbridge
WATERLOO — The Charles City girls bowling team has shown marked improvement throughout the season while winning five of its last six meets.
The culmination of the team’s continued refinement was illustrated during the multi-conference Baker Rotation Tournament held Wednesday at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo.
There, the Comets’ lineup of Isabell Crawford, Aliya Elsbury, Claire Girkin, Imigin McHenry, Payton Hadley and Jenya Stevenson emerged as the “dark horse” champion from the 13-team field.
After a preliminary round of 15 Baker Rotation games — 10-frame scores accumulated by team members bowling two frames each — the Comet girls were seeded No. 5 in a single-elimination bracket where teams square off in best-of-three matchups.
The Comets advanced to the semifinal round where they faced No. 1-seed Decorah, a team which Charles City defeated for the Vikings’ only dual-meet this season loss several weeks ago.
Decorah won the first game by a wide margin before the Comets took the second game. In the third game, Charles City advanced by way of a 3-pin victory (158-155).
In the championship round against North Fayette Valley, the Comet girls won 2 games to nil.
“I can’t say I’m too surprised by how well they did,” said Charles City head coach Doug Bohlen about his girls squad. “We have a lot of raw talent and it has been improving weekly.”
One Comet who is due to improve dramatically down the homestretch of the season is Girkin. Last season as a sophomore, Girkin was Charles City’s top female bowler. This season, Girkin had to switch to bowling left-handed due to recovering from right-side shoulder surgery.
Girkin managed to make herself a competent southpaw, but now that she’s back to bowling right-handed, she’s recording scores more comparable to her 178 average from last season.
Incidentally, Bohlen once bowled an adult league season as a southpaw after a similar injury to his right side.
“One thing it helped me with is that it made me focus more on my mark (around the arrows),” he said. “Sometimes you get in the habit of throwing at an area instead of hitting a specific mark. When you bowl (with your off-hand), you’ve got to be more precise.”
Bohlen also cited the improvement of first-year bowler Hadley, a sophomore.
“She just got her first 200 game a few weeks ago, and then she bowled another,” Bohlen said.
Early into the tournament, the Comets struggled while compiling a 119 game.
“But I think from bowling our home meets and practicing at Comet Bowl, we get better as the lanes dry up,” Bohlen said.
The Comet boys team also earned a fifth-seed going into the single-elimination bracket, and also faced top-seed Decorah in the semifinals.
This time, the Vikings advanced to the championship round. The Comet boys went on to defeat Waukon 2-0 in the third-place best-of-three match.
The Comet boys and girls will host Forest City Friday at Comet Bowl during Charles City’s “Senior Night”.