The Linn-Mar boys’ bowling team faces a pressure common to all sports next week — winning as the favorite.
The Lions are 9-0 with expectations of earning a berth in the tournament at next week’s district tournament at the Cedar Rapids Bowling Center. Linn-Mar coach Andy Diercks, however, said not so fast.
“The Iowa High School Athletic Association setup has its advantages and disadvantages,” he said. “We could have an undefeated year and be third in state for team average and still not qualify for state.
“At the same time, if we had a not-so-great year and peak at the right time we can still make state based on a great performance.”
There are eight Class 2A regional tournaments Feb. 14. The winner advances to state with the next two highest pin totals.
“I think we will do well at regional (on the Lions’ home lanes),” Diercks said. “That will be a big advantage for us.”
Diercks has other reasons to be optimistic.
“Dreyson Robe (212 average) has really shown his senior leadership on the lanes (and) by keeping the team fired up,” he said. “In addition, Justin Wyant (207) is the rock that keeps everyone’s focus and brings them up when the chips are down.”
Senior Trent Jochimsen (208) and junior Seth Tegtmeier (205) have been major contributors.
“Our expectation is to have 100 percent commitment on each shot,” Diercks said.
“We cannot play defense or control how others bowl. We have to stay in the moment and play our game, which I think we continue to improve on each time out.”
Although Diercks likes his team’s chances, he remains realistic.
“It’s really anyone’s time to shine,” he said.
“We will just stick to the plan and watch the pins fall. As far as state (is concerned), we have to get there first, so we’ll just take it one step at a time.”
The state bowling tournaments are Feb. 21-22 at Plaza Lanes in Des Moines.