The Creston/Orient-Macksburg bowling team opens its season Saturday at Knoxville, and there is reason for head coach Ron Pendegraft to be optimistic.
The girls team returns everyone from a team that went 18-8 a year ago, while the boys team returns four varsity regulars from a 9-12 team along with several newcomers who could make an impact this year.
“The girls, we got everybody back from last year. Everybody plus,” Pendegraft said. “We’ve got probably a couple of freshmen that are pretty good, and I think will help quite a bit. The boys, guys back are Kenny Wynn, Chantz Davidson, Josh Sawtelle and Darin Hatfield. Now this year, we’ve got some new guys. I would say Jacob Wolfe, James Sullivan and Blake Eddy, I think they’re going to do well.”
Senior Shaylen Kipp returns after leading the Panther girls last year with a 166.5 game average last year. Junior Devon Eddy averaged 155.3 a year ago, while senior Anna Wilson averaged 145.5. Senior Emily Lange averaged 136.7 and senior Emily Davidson averaged 131.5.
Pendegraft believes any of those five can be the top bowler on any given day for the Panthers this season.
Junior Chantz Davidson is the top returner for the Panthers after averaging 181.3 per game last season. Senior Josh Sawtelle rolled an average of 170 and sophomore Darin Hatfield averaged 156.5 a year ago. Senior Kenny Wynn averaged 138.6 as the final returning member with varsity experience.
“I think both teams are going to be stronger,” Pendegraft said. “They seem to be taking to each other well and working together well. I’m pretty optimistic. We’ll see what happens. Just like with any other sport, you prepare as well as you can and hope everything goes well.”
The Hawkeye 10 Conference season should be an exciting one, as two more schools are adding bowling teams for this season.
Harlan and Shenandoah each roll out their inaugural seasons on the lanes this year.
“I know that both towns have a couple of pretty good lanes – the houses are pretty nice, and so I would expect them to have a pretty good junior program,” Pendegraft said. “Which would mean they’ll have some pretty decent teams.”
The addition of Harlan and Shenandoah brings the Hawkeye 10 to six bowling teams. The addition of one more team will make bowling a legitimate Hawkeye 10 sport, with a conference championship to compete for, Pendegraft said.
In the meantime, Pendegraft expects Denison and Red oak to be strong as usual this season.
“Denison will be tough. Red Oak’s always tough,” Pendegraft said. “I think we can hold our own with Lewis Central. It always comes down to Denison and Red Oak. It’s always been those two and us at the state tournament. It’s no different competing in our conference than it is at the state tournament, because we’ve got some of the best teams in the state.”
The Panthers open up the 2012-13 season at noon on Saturday in Knoxville, before hosting Red Oak Tuesday at Panther Lanes.
“It would be nice to get some people out watching this season,” Pendegraft said. “We always get moms and dads and grandparents, but it would be nice to get more people out to support the kids. There’s going to be some good bowling this year.”
Boys — Garrett Abell, Blake Eddy, Darin Hatfield, Reece Kramer, James Sullivan, Jacob Wolfe, Jacob Geary, Cody Hagle, Aaron Shaw, Brett Cheers, Adam Hoffman, Josh Sawtelle, Chantz Davidson, Kenny Wynn, Rylee Winners and Austin Hurt.
Girls — Taylor Suiter, Charley Parcher, Sydney Suiter, Anna Wilson, Jazzmyn Casteel, Emily Lange, Emily Davidson, Jenna Hayes, Bre Daggett, Devon Eddy, Shaylen Kipp, Rachel Lisk, Mackenzie McKinney, Madison Hance, Ashley Knipfer and Alyssa Downey.
Dec. 1 — at Knoxville Tournament, noon
Dec. 4 — vs. Red Oak, 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 8 — at Osceola, 2 p.m.
Dec. 15 — at Shenandoah, TBA
Dec. 18 — at Lewis Central, 3:45 p.m.
Jan. 5 — vs. Harlan, 1 p.m.
Jan. 12 — Panther Tournament (vs. Central Decatur, Nodaway Valley, Osceola, Mount Ayr, Lenox), 1 p.m.
Jan. 15 — at Red Oak, 4 p.m.
Jan. 19 — vs. Shenandoah, 1 p.m.
Jan. 26 — at Central Decatur, 1 p.m.
Feb. 2 — vs. Lewis Central and Norwalk, 1 p.m.
Feb. 9 — vs. Denison, 1 p.m.
Feb. 14 — Regional Tournament, TBA
Feb. 21 — State Tournament at Plaza Lanes, TBA