NORWALK — It took a comeback to keep Newton’s girls undefeated, 13-0. The Cardinal bowling teams competed in a triangular meet hosted by Norwalk Saturday.
Newton’s boys (7-6) had a better day on the lanes than last week, but came up short. Norwalk won 2,773, followed by Knoxville with 2,751. The Cardinals had a 2,442-pin score.
For the first time all season, the Cardinal girls trailed after the individual-game round. Knoxville was up by 52 pins on Newton with Norwalk in third place.
A junior trio led the Cardinals in the individual-game round. Erica Bailey had the top individual score for Newton, 359, with games of 192 and 167. Courtney Tabor threw a 327 (150-177) and Melanie Stice bowled a 313 (158-157).
Sophomore Madison Humphrey had a 294 (136-158) and sophomore Mariah Gonzales tossed a 279 (136-143). Kirsten Young, a freshman, had a 248 (109-139).
“It was all about who could show up and throw big scores in the Baker round,” Newton bowling head coach Seth Banwell said. “We lost the first Baker game by 10 pins and were then down 62 pins.”
Banwell said the Cardinals stayed right with Knoxville in the second and third Baker games. Newton had gone 169, 159 and 137 in the first three Baker games.
“We were still down 56 pins with two final Baker games to go. The girls rallied together, got excited and pulled out all of the stops. They threw two huge games of 192 and 212 to beat the Knoxville Panthers by 43 pins,” Banwell said.
Newton’s big comeback in the Baker games, 869, pushed the Cardinals to a 2,441 pin total. Knoxville finished at 2,398 and Norwalk was third with 2,161.
“Erica threw three powerful strikes in the final 10th frame to seal the deal,” Banwell said. “It was an amazing come-from-behind victory to keep their perfect season alive.”
Banwell said according Iowa Quikstats, the Newton girls have the best record in the state. He said he and assistant coach Brett Jacobs are extremely proud of the girls on a phenomenal regular season.
Newton’s boys “struggled” as they competed against two tough teams in Knoxville and Norwalk. Banwell said Knoxville and Norwalk had unbelievable scores during the individual games and it was hard for the Cardinals to bounce back and recover.
“We faced over a 250-pin deficit after the individual game,” Banwell said. “Several of our bowlers threw some big games accompanied with some low scores.”
Junior Payton Cox bowled a 361 (189-172) to lead the Cardinals. Freshman Nick VerSteeg threw a 357 with games of 133 and 224. Alex Bare, another junior, had a 327 (164-163) and junior Andrew Lammey had a 309 (119-190).
Sophomore Bryan McMahon had a 298 (170-128) and freshman Reid Miller threw a 297 (160-127). The boys’ Baker game scores were 148, 166, 147, 137, 192 for a 790 total.
“Our boys can hold their heads up high for their season. They did a tremendous job representing our school and community. I believe we have a great shot at qualifying for the state meet, but we need to work together and convert all of our single pin spares,” Banwell said.
Newton bowls at the Little Hawkeye Conference meet in Pella this Saturday. The Cardinal teams host a Class 1A regional bowling tournament Tuesday, Feb. 18, at Cardinal Lanes.