WATERLOO – The Ottumwa girls bowling team found themselves in a very familiar position at the end of a very unique season.

For the second straight year, the Bulldogs rallied in the baker rounds past Cedar Rapids Jefferson to win the Class 3A Iowa High School state bowling tournament on Tuesday at Cadillac XBC. Ottumwa surged past the J-Hawks in the second baker game, posting a 247, before putting away the program's seventh sanctioned state team title and 10th overall in the history of the program, topping 3,000 for the first time this season.

"You have to be blessed whenever you can be standing here after winning a state championship," Ottumwa head girls bowling coach Doug Techel said. "To have the support from the Ottumwa fans and the high school. It doesn't get any better. To win something like this, you have to bowl good. It's a one-day deal and we did it."

The Bulldogs finished with a final team score of 3,076, beating out Jefferson by 56 pins with a meet-best 1,029 baker series score. Zoe Seamans, Olivia Pilcher and Randi O'Leary all earned all-state medals after placing in the top 10 individually with Seamans finishing as the state runner-up with a 455 two-game series total.

Pilcher, who was second to Seamans after the first round of individual games with a 235, finished third overall with a 439 series total. Savannah Edmonds of Cedar Rapids Jefferson rallied from a fourth-place tie after the first individual game to win the 3A individual state title, posting a 246 in the second game to finish 16 pins ahead of Seamans with a 471 series total.

O'Leary shook off a tough opening game, finishing in eighth individually after rolling a 264 in the second game to finish with a 423 series total earning her first state tournament top-10 medal. Brooklyn Welch finished in 12th with a 405 series total, including a 236 that helped Ottumwa enter baker play just 67 pins behind Jefferson with a 2,047 team total.

Jefferson seemed poised to avoid reliving history after losing a 62-pin lead to Ottumwa in last year's state tournament, opening a 78-pin lead after the first baker game with a 220 to answer a 209 start by the Bulldogs. Ottumwa, however, continued to surge in the second baker game posting a 247 while Jefferson managed just 160, giving Ottumwa nine-pin lead with three baker games left.

Jefferson put themselves in position to chase down Ottumwa in the final baker game, cutting a 23-pin deficit down to 14 with a 194 in the fourth baker game while Ottumwa rolled consecutive 185 games. Welch opened the final baker game rolling a gutter ball for the Bulldogs, but quickly responded knocking down all 10 pins with her second ball for a spare that helped kick off a closing 203 baker game while Jefferson struggled to avoid open frames, finishing with a 161 leaving the J-Hawks hoisting the state runner-up trophy for the second straight year.

Mackenzie Fisher posted individual scores of 174 and 151 for a 325 series total in her state debut for Ottumwa. Liberty Welch, who has a chance to be a part of four state championship teams, debuted at state as a freshman with scores of 117 and 131 for a 248 series total for the Bulldogs.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.


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