West High’s Rios Wins State Qualifying Bowling Meet
By Susan Harman
Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – West High’s Kalen Rios threw more strikes Tuesday than Nolan Ryan ever dreamed about in one day.
The Trojan senior bowler rolled individual games of 257-266 for a total of 523 to win the Class 3A state-qualifying meet at Lancer Lanes and earn a trip to the state bowling meet Feb. 22 at Plaza Lanes in Des Moines.
“Being as I’m going into my second year and I didn’t start all that long ago, it’s really humbling knowing that all the work that was done at the bowling alley I work at with everyone around me helping me paid off,” Rios said. “I’ve only been bowling for about a year, but that’s like every day. I just came down here and did what my dad said: ‘Just bowl like you practice.’”
Team and individual champions advance to state meet. In addition one at-large team statewide will advance based on the highest total score and five at-large individuals qualify based on highest pin totals in the two individual rounds.
Rios was the only member of the Iowa City contingent to earn automatic advancement Tuesday. His team finished 26 pins behind Cedar Rapids Prairie in second. City High was third and Muscatine fourth.
Prairie also won the girls match in a thrilling duel with Muscatine. The Hawks finished two pins ahead of the Muskies, although last year’s state individual runner-up, Christin Swank of Muscatine, won the individual title with a 441 series. West was third and City High fourth.
Rios, who brings as many as eight bowling balls to the alley to see what works best on a given day, hit upon his favorite right away in warm-ups.
“I threw it in my practice rounds and I was like, ‘OK, the hammer is talking there, I guess I’ll try it again.’ And there it was,” he said. “I went on the left lane and I buried the pocket again. Once we started the game it was just there every time.”
Rios’ two individual games were very similar. After rolling a 257 he began the second game with seven consecutive strikes. Then came an odd open frame when he couldn’t pick up a 4-9 split, but he responded by rolling four more strikes in a row to close with a 266.
“The first game I started out the first seven too,” Rios said. “Then I left the seven pin.”
The Prairie boys were the favorites, having a 14-pin higher average than the Trojans, and they were on their home lanes. But Rios created some momentum all by himself, as the team scored its season-best total of 3,115.
“When one person on the team is playing so well it creates the effect where everyone on our team is doing well,” Rios said. “It was really nice to see because we had three people over 400 today.”
Along with Rios, Ryan Stark rolled a 440, Jordan Tiegs 412, Corey Roth 398 and Jacob Fisher 359.
“It was a great atmosphere, and there was a feeling like we could really run the table. But Prairie ended up doing very, very well, especially in Bakers.”
The Hawks led by 10 pins headed to the Baker round, which is five games in which the teammates alternate bowling each frame. Prairie built its lead to 42 headed to the final two rounds and increased the lead to a nearly insurmountable 75 going into the final round.
City High’s boys were right about at their average but were hoping for something better. They were led by Andrew Franz with a 428, Austin Young 418, Maxwell Eaton 388, Winston Lin 368 and Garrett Highly with 347.
“This was a very good bracket,” City High coach Michael Degner said. “It was a tough draw. We came out well. Our first game was good, but our second individual game was not great. But we were still at 1,949 after the first round. But the other two teams, West and Prairie, were just on fire today.”
The girls side was loaded with Prairie the state runner-up and Muscatine a third-place finisher a year ago. The Women of Troy (2,652) were 183 pins better than their season average and nearly matched their season-best performance, but the Hawks and Muskies were in a class by themselves.
Senior Brittnee Price led the way with 187-212—399, although she was disappointed afterward.
“I was hoping to bowl at least a 400. It would have been nice to go to state before I graduated,” Price said. “Today I just wasn’t on it. When your team isn’t doing the best, and they don’t keep the momentum up it’s kind of hard. Other teams were killing it out there.”
Erica Roth bowled a 378, Ashley Bys 368, Alexie Little 336, and Chloe Beckler 325.
“We tried our best, and we tried to fix the mistakes we made and look past them,” Little said. “Our goal was to try our best. We did good in the individual rounds, and when we got to Bakers we kind of froze. It got in our heads a little bit.”
The City High girls (1,848) eclipsed their season average but were a ways back of their season-best performance of 2,087. The Little Hawks had to rebuild their roster in its entirety this season and showed progress by the end.
Cheyenne Cirillo led the Little Hawks with a 256. Emily Wilkins had a 222, Kasey Wieland 219, Allie Bradford 217 and Tara Hoffman 116-97 – 213.
State-Qualifying Bowling tournament
Lancer Lanes, Cedar Rapids
Team totals – 1. Cedar Rapids Prairie 2,142 -179-193-246-216-165 – 3,141; 2. West High 2,132-178-172-236-183-214 – 3,115; 3. Iowa City High 1,949-152-183-182-166-186 – 2,818; 4. Muscatine 1,813-182-249-153-168-164 – 2,729.
Individual champion – Kalen Rios, West High 257-26 – 523
West High – Kalen Rios 257-266 – 523, Ryan Stark 208-232 – 440, Jordan Tiegs 215-197 – 412, Corey Roth 180-218 – 398, Jacob Fisher 177-182 – 359, Brandon Berner 163-150 –313.
City High – Andrew Franz 218-210 – 428, Austin Young 242-176 – 418, Maxwell Eaton 205-183 – 388, Winston Lin 196-172 – 368, Garrett Highly 182-165 –347, Cameron Chavez 181 -156 – 337.
Team totals – 1. Cedar Rapids Prairie 1,936-182-237-211-236-179 – 2,981; 2. Muscatine 1,985-213-218-212-179-179 – 2,978; 3. West High 1,806-157-154-165-151-219 – 2,652; 4. City High 1,210-136-150-140-103-109 – 1,848.
Individual champion – Christin Swank, Muscatine, 225-216 – 441
West High – Brittnee Price 187-212—399, Erica Roth 145-233—378, Ashley Bys 161-207—368, Alexie Little 211-125—336, Chloe Beckler 136-189—325, Kalei Strabala 148-161—309.
City High – Cheyenne Cirillo 145-111 – 256, Emily Wilkins 116-106 – 222, Kasey Wieland 123-96 – 219, Allie Bradford 100-117, 217, Tara Hoffman 116-97 – 213.