OTTUMWA — From a reunion with his former high school head coach to following in his older brother's footsteps.
There were many reasons why William Penn University made sense to Jaxson Coble. The Ottumwa High School junior officially signed his letter of intent to bowl collegiately with the Statesmen, joining a program currently led by former Bulldog head boys bowling coach Brandon Brooks who coached Coble during his first two years as a varsity member of the Bulldogs.
Coble's signing comes just over four years after his older brother, Braxton, sat in the same room at the OHS activities office and signed his own letter of intent to bowl at William Penn. Four years later, Coble sat next to his younger brother as Jaxson signed his own letter to compete for the Statesmen.
"We're excited to have Jaxson following in his brother's footsteps," Brooks said. "Jaxson has been a very important piece to the success of the Ottumwa boys bowling program. We're excited to have compete for us starting with the 2020-21 season."
The younger of the Coble brothers has already shown an ability to step up on the biggest stages. As a sophomore, Jaxson Coble rolled 15 strikes in a row during the Class 2A boys state bowling tournament, becoming a two-time placewinner by finishing in a tie for third individually with a two-game score of 513.
Coble has bowled in three state tournaments in three years at Ottumwa. The Bulldogs have twice placed fourth in the Class 2A state tournaments during Coble's freshmen and junior seasons. Coble's top-three showing as a sophomore helped OHS finish second as a team in the state in 2018, just 25 pins shy of the program's first championship.
With his college future set, Coble now has one goal left heading into his senior season at Ottumwa. That is to not only make it back to state for the fourth straight year, but to also help bring home the first state title in the history of Bulldog boys bowling.
"We have a good team and we all communicate really well," Coble said. "When one of us is bowling well, all of us start bowling well. It's all about communication and keeping up quality shots.
"Our expectation is to go up there and win. There's no doubt about it."
Scott Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.