Dodger girls ready for state bowling

DES MOINES – Success on the lanes is nothing new to the Fort Dodge girls bowling program.

Making their third state appearance in the last five years, the Dodgers will compete – weather permitting – in a Class 2A meet on Friday.

Action begins at 1:20 p.m. inside Plaza Lanes.

Joining FDSH in the field are Muscatine, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Ottumwa, Waterloo West, Davenport West, Mason City, Des Moines Lincoln, Cedar Rapids Washington and Sioux City North.

“I thought we were going to be awful close (to qualifying for state), but I was pleasantly surprised,” Fort Dodge head coach Don Ervin said. “Since we started out last November, our girls have made a lot of progress.

“It has been a difference of night and day.”

The Dodgers advanced to state as a wildcard after a runner-up regional performance. FDSH’s 2,717-pin total at districts in Des Moines placed ninth among the 10 teams qualifying for state.

“Muscatine and Ottumwa will both be tough cookies,” said Ervin. “Lincoln and Mason City are probably the other top teams.”

Michaela Spaulding posted a 441 series to finish second individually at regionals, while Ciara Sturm (389) was next in line.

Shelby Jacobson (337), Allison Birnbaum (333), Samantha Witte (318) and Christina Hemann (312) rounded out the Dodger lineup.

Sturm, who is averaging a score of 182.5 per game, has rolled a high series of 445 this season. Spaulding’s best series was a 433, with an average tally of 162.3.

“I kind of had a goal when I took this job that I wanted either the boys or girls to make state every year I coached,” Ervin said. “We’re going down (to Des Moines) with high hopes to bring a trophy back for our town. Our kids know the lanes and have the capability, but it’s just a matter of doing it.”

Prior to this year, Fort Dodge’s other state trips on the girls side came in 2009 (10th place) and 2010 (8th).

Ottumwa (2,052 total score) captured home top honors in the 2A team race last winter. Des Moines Lincoln’s Brittany Smith (547 series) was the individual champion.