DES MOINES — The Ottumwa bowling team has made so many trips to state, that Plaza Lanes in Des Moines is starting to feel like a home away from home.
The Bulldogs made a return to the home of the state bowling tournament on Thursday, scoring wins over the Ankeny Hawks in what OHS hopes will be the first of two trips to the facility this month. Ottumwa will now return to their true home, Champion Bowl, for the CIML Metro Conference and Class 2A regional dual tournaments before hopefully qualifying for state.
Both Ottumwa bowling coaches felt like Thursday's dual provided the Bulldogs with plenty of momentum heading into the postseason.
"We're closer to where we want to be. Five of the six girls are set for the varsity team," said Ottumwa head girls bowling coach Doug Techel. "We just need to clean up on the spares. If we do that, we'll be right where we want to be at the end of the year."
While the Ottumwa girls easily beat Ankeny with a score of 2,667, 448 pins ahead of the Hawkettes, the Ottumwa boys showed their metal in rallying back after trailing by 81 pins entering the baker rounds. The Bulldogs beat the Hawks by 183 pins in the five baker games to earn a 102-pin victory (3,054 to 2,952) at Plaza Lanes.
"To make up that many pins in five games is pretty amazing," said Ottumwa head boys bowling coach Brandon Brooks. "It took a lot of character for our boys to bowl that well down the stretch."
The Ottumwa girls were led in the dual by Kayla Davidson's 219 average. Makayla Martsching was second with an average of 182 for OHS, four pins ahead of Carin Davidson and 11 pins ahead of Jenny Goodman.
Lindsey Fisher edged Patience Lindstrom by a single pin (144-143) for the top Ottumwa girls junior varsity average. Lyndsey Garrett was third with a 141 average as the Bulldog junior varsity beat Ankeny's JV squad, 1,993-1,000, on Thursday.
"I think it added something for the girls bowling at the place where the state tournament is held," Techel said. "Of course, we still have to do what is required to get back there."
The Ottumwa boys were led on Thursday by Dylan Clark, who averaged a 212 for the Bulldogs, while Dawson Greene posted a 206 average. Thomas Cutsforth led the Ottumwa JV boys to a win over Ankeny's JV with an average of 199.
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