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Fort Dodge boys will return to state, defend their title

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Fort Dodge boys bowling state qualifiers include, front row (left to right): assistant Julie Ulrich, Kaleb Anderson, Christian Miller and Brady Graves. Back: Mitchell Bolton, Carson Werning, Kyle Davis, Jace Ulrich and head coach Nick Vinson. For more photos, visit CU.messengernews.net

Nick Vinson learned a lesson the hard way after the Fort Dodge girls bowling team captured the state championship in 2019.

The Dodgers’ head coach was bound and determined not to make the same mistake for the boys, as their title defense began on Wednesday at home in a state-qualifying meet.

So far, so good.

The FDSH boys advanced to the Class 2A meet with a runner-up performance at Family Bowling Center. Spearheaded by individual medalist Kyle Davis, the Dodgers rolled a 3,227 — the third-best state qualifying score in the 2A field — to move on in their search for a golden repeat.

“Our goal was just to get there first,” Vinson said. “You can’t set a goal of winning the state title if you don’t make it. So we made sure we weren’t looking ahead, and focused strictly on (Wednesday’s meet).

“I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t really handle it well the year after the girls won it all. I needed to keep them more in the moment and focused on themselves, rather than chasing something (from the season before). You wipe the slate clean; it’s a new group with a different chemistry. So I made sure to try and treat the boys’ situation with a better perspective after what happened to the girls and the expectations and pressure they felt (last winter as the defending champions). Coach (Julie) Ulrich and I really focused on keeping the guys in their lane and letting our score stand as a deciding factor, instead of being worried about stuff we can’t control.”

Davis, a senior, fired a 234-279–513 to lead the charge. Defending individual champ Kaleb Anderson, also a senior, was next in line at 254-224–478.

“Kyle was rock solid,” Vinson said. “He was in or around the pocket all day long. Other than one open frame in Bakers, he struck or marked every other ball.

“We came out on fire, but hit a little bit of a lull in the second game. It was Kyle who helped guide us through it. He was our stalwart. And then Kaleb, Carson (Werning), Brady (Graves) and Carson (Werning) all stepped up and really finished strong, too.”

Graves (224-177–401) also cleared the 400 mark, with Werning (223-163–386) next in line. They were 11th and 12th in Wednesday’s meet, respectively.

“We wanted to be at 3,200 and see where we were going from there,” Vinson said. “It’s a real credit to these young men, who have been steady basically all season. They know what they’re doing and what they’re capable of. We cleared the first hurdle and got in the door.

“Now it’s time to work on that next step at state. Once you get there, if you relax and have fun, anything can happen.”

Urbandale was the team champion in Fort Dodge with a 3,268. Tucker Langenberg led the J-Hawks, rolling a perfect game on his way to a 508.

Clinton (3,392) had the top state-qualifying score, with River King Dominick Judge (259-278–537) recording the best individual total.

The state meet is Wednesday at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo.

CLASS 2A BOYS DISTRICT MEET

(At Family Bowling Center)

Team Standings — 1. Urbandale 3,268; 2. Fort Dodge 3,227; 3. Denison-Schleswig 2,934; 4. Des Moines Hoover 2,510; 5. Sioux Central 2,173; 6. Des Moines North 2,013.

Individual Leaders — 1. Kyle Davis, Fort Dodge, 234-279–513; 2. Tucker Langenberg, Urbandale, 208-300–508; 3. Kaleb Anderson, Fort Dodge, 254-224–478; 4. Trey Brotherton, Denison-Schleswig, 234-228–462; 5. Cody Reseland, Urbandale, 222-229–451.

Fort Dodge — Davis; Anderson; Brady Graves, 224-177–401; Carson Werning, 223-163–386; Mitchell Bolton, 173-161–334; Christian Miller, 167-152–319.

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