With a year of experience under their belts, the Clarinda boys’ and girls’ bowling teams are ready to hit the lanes for their second season of action.

“We’re excited to get going and see where we’re at. We want to improve every week. We did that last year. Bowling is sport where you can see, numbers wise, where you’re at,” Clarinda coach Ashley Woods said.

Clarinda opened practice Nov. 13 and has 35 bowlers out for the high school program. The boys’ squad consists of 19 bowlers, while there are 13 members of the girls’ team.

“Having those numbers is a good thing and a bad thing. You can only have so many kids on the lanes, so that will be a learning experience for us this year,” Woods said.

During their inaugural season last year, the Cardinals posted a record of 5-12-5 over eight boys’ matches. The girls’ team finished with a record of 2-10-3 in its eight matches.

A varsity or junior varsity bowling team competing in match play consists of no more than six bowlers. The six bowlers will roll two regular games using straight 10-frame scoring. The best five two-game total pin scores are used to determine the team individual total.

Then, a series of five Baker games are bowled. The team lineup for the Baker games consists of five bowlers who alternate frames so that each bowler completes two frames per game. Teams bowl all frames of each Baker game on one lane with the teams switching lanes after each game.

Coaches are allowed to substitute bowlers or change the bowling order between the Baker games.

The team with the most total combined pins from the two team individual games and the five Baker games win the match. In the case of a tie, a roll-off consisting of one Baker game is used to determine the winner.

“We got familiar with the format last year. That is not the way bowling is done generally with adult leagues. The Baker games were a new thing for us, but the kids figured it out pretty quickly,” Woods said.

Clarinda only has two bowlers returning to the boys’ team this season. Those bowlers are Parker Rock and Preston Runyon.

“They will definitely be the core of our team. They have been around bowling for quite a few years. They have worked hard in the offseason and come in to do some extra practice,” Woods said.

The Cardinals are also expecting one junior who competed in a varsity match last season to make the lineup. The other three members, Woods said, would likely be freshmen.

On the girls’ side, seniors Riley Holmstrom and Myariah Sullivan are returning for the Cardinals. The rest of the team is expected to be comprised of two juniors, one sophomore and one freshman.

“Those younger kids are really going to help this year and should have a big influence on what happens. Those younger kids are important for the program because if they bowl all four year, that should help the program. Having some older kids is also important because they can help the younger kids this year,” Woods said.

Clarinda opened the season Monday, Dec. 2, at home against Council Bluffs St. Albert. The Cardinals will bowl six of their nine meets this season at home at Frontier Lanes.

“We have a lot of home meets, so we expect to do well. Bowling is not like other sports where a gym is like every other gym you go to. In bowling there are more variables, so I think having more home meets will help us. Adjusting to those variables is what makes you a good bowler and as the program gets older we should be able to adapt to those things a little easier,” Woods said.

Clarinda has been assigned to Class 1A for the 2019-2020 season. The 30 schools with the highest enrollment in the state were assigned to Class 3A. The next 30 schools in terms of enrollment were assigned to Class 2A, while the rest of the schools in the state were assigned to Class 1A.

Still, the Cardinals will face many of the other schools from the Hawkeye 10 Conference during the season. Clarinda will have matches against St. Albert, Creston, Shenandoah, Red Oak, Lewis Central, Harlan and Denison-Schleswig. Clarinda will also have non-conference matches against Mount Ayr and Tri-Center.

A Hawkeye 10 Conference tournament is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2020, at Thunderbowl in Council Bluffs.

“Lewis Central, Red Oak and Creston all have very good boys’ and girls’ teams. They also have the advantage of having been doing this for a long time,” Woods said.

State qualifying meets in all three classes will be held Feb. 18, 2020. In Class 1A, seven joint qualifying meets will be held with each tournament featuring a field of six to eight teams.

A total of eight teams will qualify for the state meet. The seven teams with the highest pin count at each qualifying meet will automatically advance. The one at-large qualifier will be based on the highest pin count from the remaining teams at all seven qualifying meets.

Along with the winning team, the individual champion from each qualifying tournament will advance to the state meet. In addition, the next five bowlers with the highest pin total counts, based on the two individual game scores, statewide will qualify for the state meet. There will be a minimum of 12 individual qualifiers from each class and all ties will qualify.

The Class 1A State Bowling Tournament will be held Feb. 24, 2020, at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo.

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