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Dodgers 6th at girls state bowling

Submitted photo: Fort Dodge poses with its sixth-place girls state trophy on Wednesday in Waterloo. Pictured here are team members (left to right) Sammantha Welter, Amyrra Lumsden, Gabby Flores, Sol Birkey, Samantha Anderson and Calli Graves.

WATERLOO — The Fort Dodge girls bowling squad shook off their struggles in the Baker round at the Class 2A state meet on Wednesday, earning a victory over Oskaloosa in bracket play on their way to a sixth-place finish.

The Dodgers were the eighth seed after a 15-game total of 2,257. That number was nearly 300 pins less than the No. 7 spot.

Head coach Nick Vinson’s squad reset from there, though, posting a 3-2 victory over the Indians in the bracket opener. Fort Dodge was then defeated by seventh-seeded Decorah in four games.

“I think the girls did an outstanding job of settling in and finding a rhythm after a tough start to the day,” Vinson said. “We looked tight early, which was nothing like how we performed at districts, when we were super relaxed.

“To bounce back and take down the No. 5 seed was a tremendous accomplishment, and speaks to the resilience of our girls. We bumped ourselves up two places with that win.”

Seniors Gabby Flores and Sol Birkey were joined by junior Samantha Anderson, sophomores Amyrra Lumsden and Calli Graves, and freshman Samantha Welter in the lineup. Only Flores — a three-time team participant and two-time individual qualifier — had been to state before Wednesday.

“It’s just great to get this experience for the kids who will be coming back,” Vinson said. “Gabby has been there for us in a number of different state situations, and Sol has been a steady contributor our program. But I think getting this opportunity makes the other four that much hungrier to work hard in the offseason.

“I know they felt like there were some chances they missed (on Wednesday). Sometimes you have to go through that to set the tone (for the future).”

Top-seeded Keokuk was the team champion, topping No. 2 Le Mars in the finals.

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