MUSCATINE -- The Muscatine girls bowling team has mostly been a well-oiled machine this season while compiling a 8-0 record ahead of Tuesday's Class 3A state qualifying tournament at the Rose Bowl.
However, that wasn't necessarily the case Tuesday. But while the Muskies got used to the abnormally oiled lanes at their home facility they still managed to keep it together.
"It started off with Ragan (Carey) struggling a little bit then Gabi (Evans) seemed to struggle," Muscatine coach Brian Chapman said. “They kept it together. If one person is struggling the next will step up, that’s the way it’s been all year.”
But once the Muskies got rolling, there was no looking back.
The Muscatine girls knocked down 3,004 pins, which included a perfect 300 in one of its baker games, on its way to winning a Class 3A state-qualifying tournament.
They were led by Kaitlyn Bierman, who won the girls division with a 426 two-game series for the Muskies.
"I just kind of moved and adjusted to the lane," Bierman said. "I had my team behind me and they were helping me out, cheering me on. I had positive motivation to come out and do my best."
After an average first game score by the Muskies standards, they bounced back in the second game led by Evans and Carey. Evans bowled a 224 and Carey bowled a team-high 225.
But it was the baker team competition that brought out the best in the Muskies.
Muscatine bowled 12 consecutive strikes in the first baker game for a perfect 300, something that has only been done one other time in the state of Iowa this season. The Muskies previous best was 279 earlier this season, but Chapman knew his team had the ability to reach 300.
And the Muskies did just that with three consecutive strikes by Evans to close it out.
"It was amazing," Bierman said. "I knew Gabi had it (in the last frame). I was super hyped. Coach Chapman told us that we're the first group of girls to get 300 in a baker since he's been coaching."
The Muscatine boys knocked down 3,220 pins on Tuesday but still took second place behind Davenport North, which knocked down 3,306 pins.
Muscatine’s Tyler Harris won the 3A boys division with a 528 two-game series, but the Muskies had to wait until Tuesday evening to find out if the rest of the team would be joining him at state.
The wait was well worth it, as Muscatine will indeed be heading to the Class 3A state tournament with an at-large birth.
“I’m very proud of these guys right now,” Chapman said. “If you would have told me at the beginning of the year they would shoot above 3,200 I would have laughed because they didn’t care.
"But they came around.”
The Muscatine girls and boys bowling team will head to Waterloo for the Class 3A state tournament next Wednesday at Cadillac Lanes.