A Creston/Orient-Macksburg team that has had an unparalleled amount of success opens its season Saturday at Knoxville.
That team is the Creston/O-M bowling team.
“We’ve been doing this 12 years now,” head coach Ron Pendegraft said. “We’ve had a state representative every year that it’s been sanctioned by the IHSAA or the IGHSAU. Every year. No other sport has done that. I know we’re young, but still, we’ve had a team or individual at state every year.”
The Panthers are coming off a year in which both the boys and girls teams qualified for the state tournament. Last year the Panther boys finished fifth and the girls placed ninth at the Class 1A State Coed Bowling Tournament at Plaza Lanes in Des Moines.
Both teams lost key contributors to those state teams. Gone from the boys team are Josh Sawtelle, Kenny Wynn and Jacob Wolfe. Graduated from the girls team are Shaylen Kipp, Anna Wilson, Emily Davidson and Emily Lange.
Even with graduation taking its toll on the team, this year’s Panther squad is poised to have another successful season.
Chantz Davidson is the top returner for the boys team after leading the Panthers last season with a 194.7 game average and 389.4 series average. Junior Darin Hatfield averaged 157.8 per game and 315.7 per series last year, while sophomore Blake Eddy averaged 157.5 per game and 314.9 per series.
Also returning for the boys team is Reece Kramer, who did not compete on the varsity team last year, but was on the same level as the varsity competitors.
“Reece was one of those guys, he could have bowled varsity last year, but we didn’t have room for him,” Pendegraft said. “He’ll be my four-spot.”
Sophomore Madison Hance led the Panther girls last year with a 163.6 game average and 327.3 series average. Senior Devon Eddy was close behind last year with averages of 161.4 and 322.7. Sophomore Charley Parcher averaged 133.3 per game and 266.5 per series. Jenna Hayes finished with averages of 128.8 and 257.5, while Mackenzie McKinney averaged 112.0 and 224.0.
Also returning for the girls are Taylor Suiter and Alyssa Downey.
“Taylor, she never bowled varsity last year, but I think she’ll probably be in that mix this year,” Pendegraft said. “I’ve got about four, five or six girls that don’t look too bad right now. We’ll just have to wait and see how they come out.”
Pendegraft said he has several kids competing to be on the varsity squads this year.
“We have a bunch of new kids that show some pretty good promise,” he said. “We’ll just have to see who comes out of it. I would expect the other teams we are going to bowl against to be about the same level. A lot of kids graduated last year, not just from our team, but from other teams around here, too.”
How the Panthers compete as a team this year will likely come down to how the newcomers come along as the season progresses.
“As far as how we’ll do team-wise this year, we’ll be competitive,” Pendegraft said. “It just depends on those new kids that fill in. That will kind of tell the tale on how we do.”
A new twist has been thrown into this year’s schedule for the Panther bowlers, as the addition of Council Bluffs St. Albert to the Hawkeye 10 Conference has given the conference enough teams to sanction a conference tournament.
The inaugural Hawkeye 10 Conference Tournament will be held Feb. 14 at Thunderbowl in Council Bluffs.
“I think we’ll be competitive,” Pendegraft said. “I don’t have any expectations other than it will be fun. There will be a lot of people there for sure. That’s why I love to do it — get the kids out there and people cheering them on. It will be tough. It’d be nice to win the first Hawkeye 10 Conference Tournament, but we’ll see. We’ll give it our best.”
The Panthers host five home meets this season, including the Panther Tournament on Jan. 18, which will feature several area teams in competition.
Pendegraft said he’d love to see more people out at the meets cheering on the bowlers.
“Come watch them bowl,” he said. “I would really like to see more people come to these matches. It’s indoors, it’s warm, it’s exciting. You can sit and you can buy food. It’s a great place. Just come watch them bowl. These kids are good. I wish we could get more people cheering. We want more people here to yell and scream at the kids.”
After competing at the Knoxville Tournament on Saturday, the Panthers host their first home meet at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Panther Lanes.
Boys — Darin Hatfield, Tyler Shepherd, Reece Kramer, Blake Eddy, TJ Patterson, Chantz Davidson, William Haugland, Brett Cheers, Jacob Geary, Sebastian Peterson, Anthony Walton and Josh Conour.
Girls — Charley Parcher, Taylor Suiter, Michelle Islas, Jordan Phillips, Cheynne Bunner, Alex Miller, Emily Stults, Jenna Hayes, Livi Hartman, Devon Eddy, Ashley Knipfer, Mackenzie McKinney, Madison Hance and Alyssa Downey.
(Home meets at
Dec. 7 — at Knoxville Tournament, 11 a.m.
Dec. 10 — vs. Red Oak, 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 21 — at Shenandoah, 1 p.m.
Jan. 4 — at Denison, 1 p.m.
Jan. 11 — at Harlan, 1 p.m.
Jan. 14 — at Red Oak Tournament, 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 18 — Panther Tournament, 1 p.m.
Jan. 21 — at Red Oak, 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 25 — vs. Shenandoah, 1 p.m.
Feb. 1 — vs. Central Decatur, 1 p.m.
Feb. 8 — vs. Lewis Central (senior day), 1 p.m.
Feb. 14 — at Hawkeye 10 Conference Tournament (at Thunderbowl, Council Bluffs), 12 p.m.
Feb. 18 — Regional Tournament, TBD
Feb. 24 — State Tournament (Plaza Lanes, Des Moines), TBD