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Plenty of bowlers for West

North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– Bowling has become a more popular sport at Iowa City West High, coach Mike Mellecker noted.
“This will be our biggest team in a few years,” Mellecker said. An assistant coach for four years, Mellecker has been the head coach for nine years, sporting a 38-77 record with the boys’ teams, and 48-85 with the girls.
Last season the boys went 6-9 overall and 3-8 in Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) competition, with Heath Schintler qualifying for the state meet, while the girls posted a 2-13 and 2-9 showing.
Five athletes return as starters for the boys: Nicholas Rohm (senior, MVC All-Academic Team), Patrick Wood (junior, MVC 2nd Team), Jordon Tiegs (junior), Jacob Fisher (sophomore) and Kendall Stark (sophomore). Juniors Sam Ross and Matt Bertell, along with sophomore Josh Pelland, are also back in the varsity boys lineup. Juniors Brandon Berner, Cole McKillip and Kalen Rios are new to the squad along, as are sophomore Xavier Dove El and freshman Corey Roth.
Seven starters return for the girls: Samantha Lovell (senior, MVC Honorable Mention), Erica Roth (junior, MVC Honorable Mention), Asha Irani (junior), Nicole Ritchey (junior), Bethany Schillinger (junior), Kalei Strabala (junior) and Shatiana Cooper (sophomore).
Seven more are new to the program: juniors Allison Bys, Ashley Bys and Magge Krizan, sophomores Chloe Beckler and Megan Brown, and freshmen Skyler Dickerson and Kaitlyn Fultz.
At least some of the newcomers on both teams will see varsity time, Mellecker said, and fans should keep an eye on Wood and Lovell for great things this season.
“The MVC will be tough as usual,” he said. “Last year, you had the top bowlers and teams from the state out of the MVC, and you’ll see that again this year.” Mellecker said he’d like to see the Trojans and Women of Troy in the upper part of the conference by the time the last pin falls. The coach also continues his crusade to promote the sport. “Bowling is a wonderful sport you can compete late into your years,” he said. “I know of a gentleman that still bowls twice a week in leagues at (the age of) 93, and is very competitive.”
Mellecker urged parents to suggest their kids go out for high school bowling. “Parents, you too can try your hand at bowling,” he added, “Contact a center near you to see if any league is looking for bowlers.”
The first home meet is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 11, against Waterloo West on the home lanes at Colonial Bowling Lanes, 2253 Old Hwy. 218 South in Iowa City.