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Gabi Marcus

Muscatine's Marcus Madsen, left, and Gabi Evans, right, pose together after claiming individual titles in the boys and girls division of the Class 3A state-qualifying meet Tuesday at the Rose Bowl in Muscatine.

Marcus Madsen could tell from the beginning of the day he was in a groove.

The Muscatine sophomore said Tuesday’s Class 3A state-qualifying meet was the best he’s bowled in his high school career. That performance was rewarded with a first-place finish at the Rose Bowl in Muscatine and a ticket to the Class 3A state bowling meet.

“I didn’t know I was going to bowl that good,” Madsen said. “I’m glad I bowled it when I did.”

Madsen will be accompanied by Gabi Evans, as she continued her stellar senior season by winning the individual title in the girls’ division to clinch a state berth.

“Gabi hasn’t changed anything,” Muscatine coach Brian Chapman said. “She’s been on fire all year.”

However, whether or not the remaining members of the boys and girls bowling teams will join those two is yet to be seen. With winter weather pushing back four of the state-qualifying meets – two to Wednesday and two to Thursday – both Muscatine teams will anxiously await results from the rest of the state to see if an at-large bid is coming.

The Muscatine girls and boys both placed second, though the pinfall totals won’t be released until Thursday after all the state qualifiers have taken place. Davenport Central won the girls division and Pleasant Valley won the boys division.

“I think they both bowled pretty well,” Chapman said. “I’m definitely proud of the guys and hung with PV and Davenport North to the end.”

In fact, Tuesday marked the highest score of the season for the Muskie boys according to Chapman and he was also pleased with the girls’ performance. So, how confident is the coach both teams will snag at-large bids for the Class 3A state tournament next Wednesday at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo?

“I’m like an eight or nine (out of 10),” Chapman said with a smile. “Our fingers are crossed.”

It’s a unique situation in that Chapman said he’s never had to wait two days to receive word on a team qualifying. So, he’s going to keep it light and hold team practices the next two days, something the Muskies haven’t done in two weeks due to weather.

It’s a different situation for the girls, too, who have won the state-qualifying meet to clinch an automatic bid in the previous three years of Evans’ career.

“It’s always a better time when your teammates are there,” Evans said. “It’s kind of upsetting because of course, I want the team to go but it’s good to know I have that (individual title) to fall back on.”

Madsen agreed, adding that he would likely be refreshing the state website repeatedly Thursday evening awaiting the results.

“The whole thing about bowling is it’s all in the team,” Madsen said. “You can do however good you want but if your team (isn’t doing it what’s the point? I’m glad I’m going but personally, if they were to make it that’s the only thing I care about right now.”

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