OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa High bowling teams will kick off their seasons when they play host to Dowling at 2:30 p.m. Monday at Champion Bowl.
The Maroon boys' and girls' teams will be hungry for revenge after they lost their season-openers to Ottumwa in Des Moines last season. Then freshman Bailey Palmer made an impressive debut that day, rolling a team-high average of 234 to help the Bulldog girls hammer Dowling 2,824-2,034. Meanwhile, Austin Palmer served as the boys' bellwether leader, bowling a team-best average of 218 to help the Bulldogs triumph over the Maroons 2,830 to 2,696.
If it wants gain a measure of revenge against Ottumwa's renowned programs, Dowling will have to do it against two teams made up of many of the same players they faced last season. Other than Sierra Lennie and Michaela Malloy, the Ottumwa girls will return the core nucleus of last year's squad.
Bailey Palmer will try to follow up on her stupendous freshman season with an equally remarkable sophomore campaign. Not only did Palmer notch the top individual average overall at the CIML Metro Conference 7 championship and at the state qualifying meet, she also rolled the fifth-best individual average at the Iowa Class 2A State Championship.
Palmer, however, is far from the only talented bowler to return to this season's team; the Bulldogs roster is ornamented by high-caliber bowlers. The seniors that will return to the team include Lynissa Lasley, Payton Wilbanks, Kourtney Longaker, Cybil Lennie and Courtney Smith. Lasley, Wilbanks and Lennie all enjoyed a considerable amount of success at the varsity level last season. Another bowler who will play a vital role on this season's team is Cheyenne Starr.
If what Ottumwa bowling coach Doug Techel wanted to see in this first dual could be encapsulated into one word it would be consistency.