It was late July when Bailey Palmer told the Ottumwa Courier that her long-term goal is to help the Ottumwa girls bowling team win the Class 2A state title all four years of her high school career.
A lofty goal, no doubt, but Palmer’s performance thus far this season provides ample reason not to bet against the freshman phenom. Palmer and her teammates collective accomplishments this season include an unblemished 11-0 dual record, which includes nine conference victories, a Metro 7 Conference championship and a first-place finish in the state qualifying meets. Palmer will begin the task of turning her ambitious goal into a reality when the Ottumwa girls bowling team participates in the Class 2A Bowling State Championship Tuesday, March 12 at the Plaza Lanes in Des Moines, starting at 11 a.m.
Palmer goes into the championship riding a tidal wave of momentum after she captured the top individual score at the state qualifying meets, rolling an average of 211. In addition, she bowled the top individual score at the Metro 7 Conference Championship at Champion Bowl in Ottumwa, as she rolled an average of 244.
Palmer follows in the footsteps of so many other talented bowlers who graced the renowned Ottumwa program with their presence. Even on the Bulldogs uber-talented roster, Palmer has often played a central role in the Bulldogs success. While it’s true that, even without the freshman juggernaut, the Bulldogs are festooned with a talented roster that is more than capable of dominating its competition. But the addition of Palmer to the roster has vaulted the Bulldogs to a whole nother level that no team has been able to replicate.
Palmer’s performance — she rolled a team-best average of 198 — catapulted Ottumwa to a pair of victories over Burlington and Class 2A rival Muscatine, which finished third at state behind the Bulldogs and Cedar Rapids Jefferson last season. She also shepherded Ottumwa to a double-dual victory over Southeast Polk and Des Moines Roosevelt by bowling an average of 251. Other notable outings by Palmer include when she rolled a 217 average in a dual against Des Moines Roosevelt and when she bowled a 234 average in the Bulldogs season-opening dual victory over West Des Moines Dowling Catholic. In addition, she bowled a 226.5 average in Ottumwa’s dual win over Johnston.