Newton boys lock up second straight state berth

Feb. 15—URBANDALE — The Newton boys' bowling team showed up at Gameday Lanes on Tuesday expecting to make the state tournament for the second straight season.

The Cardinals entered the district tournament with the top Baker game average in the field. And the next best team was nearly 12 pins back.

It wasn't that easy for Newton, but its consistency throughout all 15 games proved to be too much for the rest of the lineup and the Cardinals claimed the district championship with 2,996 pins.

"It's nice because the team is mostly seniors so that's cool for them," Newton junior Austin Kennedy said. "We seem to do better under pressure. There was pressure on us to come through, and we all like the pressure."

Alex Kearse

There was a little bit of pressure. Newton was eight pins back in third after five Baker games and then moved into second by two pins after 10.

The Cardinals, thanks to a six 200 games and seven others that surpassed 186, rallied to take the district championship. The 264 Newton rolled in game 10 was a big reason why.

"It was huge. We picked up our spares in that one," Newton head bowling coach Christie Hughes said. "I told them after the 163 game that we have to pick up our spares or we weren't going to make it. The spares are so important. If you can't consistently pick up spares, the periodic strikes won't get you there."

While the entire team is heading to the Class 2A state tournament in Waterloo next week, only one Cardinal will participate in the individual portion of the state tournament.

That's Owen Guldberg, who finished in the eighth and final spot to clinch his first state berth.

It was a tough field as three Newton Cardinals rolled 611 or better and only one qualified for state.

"It feels good. I threw the ball and hoped for the best," Guldberg said. "I hit my mark and hoped the ball came in. That's the best I could do.

"I didn't know where I stood after the second game. I just knew I had to do well or I was out. I just found a mark and just stayed with it. My only adjustment was moving a board or two."

Tamion Adams

Guldberg and Tamion Adams both were in the top six after rolling a 210 and 211, respectively, in the opener.

But no Cardinal was in the top eight after two games. Guldberg wound up sneaking in with a 626 series. He had single games of 210, 191 and 225.

Andrew Wiles was next for Newton with a 613 series. He rolled single games of 179, 200 and 234.

"Missing the cut by that much is not fun," Wiles said. "Making state as a team is the important thing. I like that we are going again. It's cool to be the first team to do this. That's always nice."

This year's boys bowling team qualified for state in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.

The Cardinals' six 200-plus games included a 206 in the second game, a 221 in the fourth game, a 230 in the fifth game and a 264 in the 10th game. They closed with a 224 and a 204 in the final set of five.

They also posted seven other games of 186 or more, while Dowling Catholic had a 155 in the 12th game and a 148 in the 13th. The Maroons were powered by seven 200-plus games.

Fort Dodge was the leader after five games. The Dodgers had seven 200-plus games but also turned in a 163, 167, 148 and 149.

"Everyone just bowled well. It's not one person in Bakers," Hughes said. "That's the whole point."

Dowling Catholic (2,956) trailed Newton by 40 pins but qualified for the state tournament as the runner-up. Fort Dodge settled for third with 2,884 pins, host Urbandale was next with 2,858 and Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson completed the top five with 2,831 pins.

North Scott, which came into the day with the second-best Baker game average, finished sixth with 2,765 and Pella (2,437) and Des Moines Hoover (1,702) completed the field.

Fort Dodge's Trenton Beck won the individual title with a three-game series of 672. Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson's Kendall Bell was next with a 662. Keegan Timmins of Dowling finished third with a 646.

Finishing two pins behind Wiles was Kennedy, who totaled a 611 series with single games of 191, 199 and 221. He gave himself a chance when he started the third and final game with six straight strikes.

Owen Guldberg

Alex Kearse totaled a 547 series after single games of 182, 184 and 181. Sebastian King, who was a state qualifier last season, ended up with a 543 following a 173, 180 and 190.

Adams started strong with a 211. That was a carry over from a dominant performance in Bakers that some teammates thought was the biggest reason Newton qualified for state.

Adams finished with a 516 series following single games of 211, 158 and 147.

"It was a tough district and every pin matters," Hughes said. "Andrew struggled in game one and that made a big difference in the outcome. Sebastian didn't bowl like he usually does either.

"It's pretty exciting for Owen. He needed every single pin, too," Hughes said. "He walked off and was told 627 was the cut off. He didn't think he made it. I tried to get him to relax and let it play out."

Hughes moved Kennedy out of the Baker games in favor of Kearse on the 10th game. It felt like a good move for the Cardinal head coach. And it allowed her to end the day with an all-senior lineup.

"We knew we were behind so we had to kick it into gear," Guldberg said. "Tamion was huge. If he wasn't doing as well as he was, maybe we don't make it. He basically carried us. He put us all on his back."