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Bowled over

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 10:47 a.m. CST

Bowling is a sport I knew of early in life. My mother was a very good bowler when I was young and we were living in Kansas City, Kan. She even had an offer to bowl on an entry-level professional tour. She turned it down.

Mom watched the PBA Tour bowling every Saturday afternoon, in season.

But ... I admit I’ve never covered bowling as a sport. So, I’m learning on the fly here in Newton as I watch Newton Senior High School’s bowling teams this season. I was disappointed to find out you are not permitted to take photos during competitions. That limits coverage a bit.

Before the season began, NHS bowling coach Seth Banwell gave me a quick short-course on high school bowling. He has given the Daily News complete results, helping me along the way.

The Cardinal girls have wrapped up first place in the Little Hawkeye Conference. They are undefeated at 11-0 after Saturday’s final home meet.

The Cardinal boys are starting to hit their stride down the stretch. They’ve put together wins over the past few weeks to improve to 7-4.

Picking up steam as they roll toward the Class 1A regional tournament is a good thing. It’s what Banwell and the Cardinal bowlers have been working toward — to be bowling their best as they enter the postseason.

Another cool thing is the Cardinals are bowling on their home lanes — Cardinal Lanes — Feb. 18 in the regional.

Banwell pointed out to me at the beginning of the season that Newton’s high school bowling program has built a strong tradition and reputation since it was sanctioned six year ago. So, I did a little research.

NHS’s girls advanced to the Class 1A state tournament four years in row — 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 — as a team. The Cardinal girls were third in 2009, second two straight seasons and third again in 2012.

Individually for the girls, Newton has had three place in the top 10 at state tournaments. Noella Van Brogen placed 10th in 2009 and 2011. Brandi Collins claimed third place in 2010 and Emily Braga took third in 2012.

Erica Bailey, currently a junior on the NHS bowling team, competed in the 2012 state tournament as a freshman. Bailey finished 15th.

Newton’s boys have not qualified a team for the state tournament yet. Banwell knows its just a matter of time for the Cardinals.

Newton’s Kyle Rojohn qualified as an individual for the boys’ state tournament in 2011.

Newton’s girls and boys were Little Hawkeye Conference champions a year ago. The Cardinal teams lost out to Knoxville in the regional tournament.

Youth is powering the Newton teams this season. Neither Cardinal varsity team has a senior on it. Both have three juniors.

The Cardinal girls have a couple of sophomores and a freshman while the boys have two freshmen and a sophomore on the team.

Cardinal bowling is a sport to watch for this season and over the next few seasons.

NOT A SUPER BOWL — I’m an old AFL (American Football League) and AFC fan simply because I love the Kansas City Chiefs. So, I should have been cheering on the Denver Broncos in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Not so much. The Broncos looked like deer caught in headlights.

Seattle’s Seahawks soared and scored at will. The Seahawks used to be in the AFC division with the Chiefs and Broncos.

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