DES MOINES - Fort Dodge junior Alex Markov was seven pins shy of winning a state championship at Plaza Lanes in Des Moines on Tuesday.
Markov, who entered with a 218 average, was two pins under with a 216 in his opening game. He came back strong in the final game, shooting 62 pins over his average (278). Markov finished with a 494 series.
"He has been a solid shooter all year,'' Ervin said. "He has been the sparkplug on the team along with Drew (Hansen) and Chase (Messerly).
"He is a heck of a good bowler.''
Head coach Don Ervin also received the Class 2A Golden plaque of distinction awardy.
"Wow,'' Ervin said. "As far as awards are concerned - This is one of the most special things I've received in my lifetime.
"I'm at a loss for words. This just came out of the blue. I've been doing this 1976- something I really love.''
Sophomore Jonah Starmer of Waukee won the individual title with a 500 series. He had games of 268 and 232.
The Dodgers boys finished seventh as a team with 3,020 team points. Davenport North (3,269) was the team champion and Dubuque Hempstead (3,239) was the runner-up.
"We thought we could place higher,'' Ervin said. "Dubuque, Clinton, Bettendorf those teams are powerhouses and are forces to reckon with.''
Fort Dodge had an individual game total of 2,088 points.
Junior Chase Messerly cracked the top 20 with a 444 series and 14th individual spot. Messerly had games of 229 and 215.
"Chase and those other two guys, I'm glad they're coming back next year,'' Ervin said. "Chase is as steady as a rock and you can depend on him.''
Freshman Austen Graves had a 426 total with games of 194 and 232. Junior Drew Hansen had games of 172 and 199 for a 371 total and classmate Seth Hanson had a 353 with games of 146 and 207. Sophomore Justus McWeil checked in with a 307. He rolled games of 171 and 136.
Fort Dodge's lone girl qualifier Allison Birnbaum competed for the Dodgers as well.
"Allison kind of had an off day,'' Ervin said. "But having her compete was very exciting.''