Zach Fries’ bowling windup is driven by the count of five.
The Davenport North senior’s five steps gradually increase in length as he wills his ball to wreak havoc on 10 impending targets.
The pins unfortunate enough to be placed in Lane 9 at Plaza Lanes on Tuesday for the Class 2-A tournament had it rough.
The Wildcats fed off a perfect 300 game from Fries to open their tournament, and of 15 counted games, none were less than 202. The performance resulted in a state team record of 3,633 for the program’s second state title.
“We didn’t have a spaceship to catch them,” said Ottumwa coach Brett Salter, whose team finished 272 pins behind in a distant second. “They were just on another planet today.”
Davenport North’s score would have beat each of the boys’ state champions of the last three years by at least 153 pins. And it all started with Fries.
He tossed 15 consecutive strikes until he took a spare in the fourth frame of the second game. He went on to roll a 255 in that one for a 555 two-game score, winning the individual competition by 52 pins over second-place Bryan Cline of Cedar Rapids Washington.
“Today was probably the first day I’ve not been nervous with anything,” said Fries, who said Tuesday’s 300 was his third overall, second for North. “It’s great to be state champion on both sides.”
Waterloo West became the first girls’ team other than Muscatine or Ottumwa to win the 2-A championship, led by sophomore individual champion Alexus Wilson’s 503. West finished with 3,152, the highest girls’ team score since 2010. Defending champion Ottumwa was 113 pins back in second, and Muscatine was fourth.
“It does let other schools know that you don’t have to be one of the two biggest schools to win it,” Waterloo West coach Rob Kunkle said.
Des Moines Lincoln senior Brittany Smith, the defending individual champion, finished 29 pins behind Wilson for second place. Smith has been runner-up, champion and runner-up at state the past three seasons, respectively.
“I’m very proud of the way I bowled in high school,” Smith said. “But you always wish it was better.”
Ankeny’s Garrett Schaeffer finished fourth in the boys’ individual field with a 497. He tallied a 278 in his first game and was perfect through the first eight frames.
Valley’s Adam Morse, who qualified as an individual with a state-record 568 after his team fell three pins short in qualifying, finished sixth with a 484. He had 10 strikes in his second game, a 269. Morse also medaled as a freshman, finishing ninth.
“As a team, I definitely feel like there’d be much more support from a lot of people,” Morse said. “And our program is going on the right path. I feel like we can do a lot better next year.”
Still, the stars of the show were Fries and Davenport North, which put an exclamation point on its dominance with a 259 score in their fifth and final Baker game, or rotating frame-by-frame team game. The team’s three seniors each finished in the top five individually, their scores lifting Davenport to its second title in three years.
“That’s some darn good bowling right there,” said Lincoln senior Mitch Duver, who placed 12th individually with a 462.
Lincoln team qualified in first place in team competition with a 3,413, but didn’t score more than 196 in any of its Baker games and posted a 3,048 for sixth place.
“Everybody has their good days and bad days,” Duver said.