The top few varsity bowlers on the Newton boys bowling team are probably safe from falling down to the junior varsity squad.
But everyone else needs to stay the course, keep focused and put in extra time on the lanes or a JV bowler could overtake their spot on the varsity.
The top JV bowling team had three 200-plus Baker games during competition at Cardinal Lanes on Saturday and the group of five bowlers nearly totaled a better Baker score than the varsity squad as the Cardinals continued to show off their depth in another victory.
This time, Newton downed rival Pella by 507 pins. The Cardinals rolled a 2,906 and the Dutch totaled a 2,399. The win improved Newton to 5-1.
Newton’s top JV team (2,570) also had a team score better than Pella’s.
“Between the higher JV and the lower varsity guys, you can move up or down pretty quickly,” Newton head bowling coach Christie Hughes said. “They are all good friends and are rooting each other on. It’s a friendly competition that’s helping the entire team. This is the strongest boys’ team I have had since I became the head coach.”
The Cardinals’ 2,906 is their third-best score of the season and they have gone beyond 2,900 pins in back-to-back meets. They rolled a 1,919 during the individual round and had a Baker score of 987 with their first three games going for 218, 215 and 214.
The top JV squad totaled a 965 Baker score and they finished with a 224, 231 and 204.
“There’s a lot of competition between JV and varsity and the gap between us isn’t that much,” Tamion Adams said. “My friend (Kinnick Pritchard) was in the anchor spot of the JV so it’s nice to see him doing well. This is his first year bowling.”
Adams led the Cardinals’ varsity squad on Saturday. He totaled a career-best 418 series with single games of 214 and 204.
Adams had five strikes and six spares in his first game. He rolled back-to-back strikes in the third and fourth frames and rolled strikes in frames seven, eight and 10.
“I felt this could be a struggle today, but it was good to get over 200 twice,” Adams said. “I had a lot of misses, but it felt good to throw the ball anywhere and still have success.”
Jordan Killmer and Austin Kennedy tied for second with a 384 series.
Killmer’s day included single games of 184 and 200, while Kennedy rolled single games of 205 and 179.
Killmer’s first game included strikes in the second and third frames and then he bowled three straight strikes in the 10th frame to salvage a respectable score.
His second game featured four strikes and five spares. He had strikes in frames 7-8-9.
Killmer is averaging a team-best 197 this winter.
“Everyone has off days. I was crossing my body a lot,” Killmer said. “I moved left to force myself to throw the ball out and not leave the 10 pin every time. The second game felt normal. My goal is to have a 200 in every meet.”
Kennedy, who is averaging 170, had five strikes and four spares in the opening game. He rolled strikes on frames 7-8-9-10.
For the second straight season, Kennedy started the year on JV. Last year, he went from JV to the state meet. He currently has the fifth-best average on the team, but he’s only three pins off the third spot.
“I kind of feel the pressure of not being on varsity early in the season, and I really want to be there,” Kennedy said. “I think I do better under pressure. I have been pretty consistent lately.”
Logan Bown finished fourth overall with a 371 series, while Sebastian King placed fifth with a 362 and Alex Kearse came in ninth with a 298.
Bown had single-game scores of 203 and 168. His opener featured six strikes and four spares and he rolled three strikes in the 10th frame of the second game to get his score closer to his average of 172.
King’s single games were 180 and 182. He opened with back-to-back strikes in his first game and then finished with two strikes in the 10th.
Kearse moved into the final varsity spot on Saturday and Andrew Wiles moved down to JV. Kearse’s single games against Pella were 145 and 153.
The top JV squad was led by Kinnick Pritchard’s 356 series. He had individual games of 158 and 298.
Wiles rolled back-to-back 170s for a 340 series and Owen Guldberg totaled a 315 series after single games of 158 and 157. Ethan Padgett also had a 303 series with single games of 147 and 156.
“If you want to be on varsity this year, you’re going to earn it,” Killmer said. “There has been a lot of movement and it takes practice to get better. That will make us work harder for our spots.”
Pella’s Carter Failor placed sixth with a 350 series. His best single game was a 209 and the Dutch’s Baker score of 863 featured single games of 187, 130, 179, 200 and 167.
The Cardinal varsity opened the Baker games with a 216. They finished with six straight strikes and Adams rolled three strikes in the 10th frame after not marking in the fifth. The loss dropped the Dutch to 5-3.
“I didn’t want to let the team down. That was a pretty bad shot,” Adams said about his fifth frame. “I made a little adjustment by moving a few boards over and it worked.”
Adams stayed in the anchor spot for the second game and rolled a strike in the fifth frame and two more in the 10th. The team had seven strikes and four spares total as part of their 215.
The third Baker score of 214 included six spares, four strikes and no open frames.
King was moved to the anchor spot for the fourth Baker game and the Cardinals rolled a 189. Kennedy and Adams both salvaged a decent score by each picking up a split.
Hughes moved Killmer to the anchor spot for the fifth Baker game and the Cardinals totaled a 151 with four strikes and three spares.
“Tamion was dialed in,” Hughes said. “He had marks several boards wide on both sides. It hit the pocket whether it came from inside or outside. He had a larger margin to hit than normal.
“I moved him out of the anchor spot because he started opening up a bit. I kicked myself after that though. The boys told me all Sebastian was doing was throwing strikes so I changed things up.”