First-year Louisa-Muscatine head bowling coach Al Jordan doesn’t just think the girls team can repeat as state champions this season.
Heading into their first competition last Saturday, he said he felt “they have an excellent chance if they stay grounded.”
It’s high expectations, but the Falcons return four bowlers from last year’s team, which won just the second state title in school history and first since 2008.
Hayley Anderson, Shadyn Bishop, Whittney Morse and Lauren Bodman are all back after helping the Falcons roll past Camanche by 70 pins and secure the championship.
Bishop rolled a career-best 439 two-game series to finish runner-up in the individual standings, and Morse was sixth with a 405 series. Anderson finished with a 378, while Bodman rolled a 358.
Louisa-Muscatine also has Dawn Hathaway, a senior, back on this year's team.
“The girls are completely focused on repeating as state champions,” Jordan said.
The Falcons also added Claire Wilson and Maddy Gertz, who have both been bowling for several years, according to Jordan.
The Louisa-Muscatine boys, meanwhile, have their work cut out for them.
Traven Tillie and Dustin Beaham, who are two of the Falcons’ oldest bowlers as sophomores, will be relied on as leaders this season.
"The boys, I’d like to say they’re a work in progress,” Jordan said. “Sophomore’s the oldest kid we got.”
Beaham was the second-leading bowler on a Louisa-Muscatine team that finished sixth at last season’s 1A tournament, rolling a 409 series.
“On the boys team, there’s a lot of work, but Dustin Beaham and Traven Tillie will lead the team because they’ve bowled a long time and they got the most potential,” Jordan said.
The Falcons will have to move on without Brock Hahn, who finished 10th as an individual at the state meet, as well as four other seniors.
As a result, Louisa-Muscatine has added four new bowlers to the boys team who have never bowled before.
Durant returns wealth of experience: The three Wildcats with the highest scoring averages from last season are back this year on the boys team.
Junior Drake Jehle averaged a 193.8, sophomore Andrew Henderson a 192.6 and junior Jeremy Carnes a 178.3.
The three each bowled 16 games for the Wildcats, who finished 2-2 in four matches last season. The team, however, lost four seniors who comprised over half of its roster.
The girls team, meanwhile, has nearly everyone back after graduating just one senior, Susan Graves, from last year’s squad.
The remaining seven are all returning to a team that will again feature only one senior in Morgan Russell.
The Durant girls finished last season with a 1-3 match record and 2,046.6 match scoring average, led by Jada Rock, who averaged a 145.3 in 16 games.