Prior to the start of the state co-ed bowling meets, the two Iowa high school athletic organizations announced the extension of their partnership with Cadillac XBC, keeping the state bowling meet in Waterloo through 2022.
That is perfectly fine with the Central DeWitt bowling teams.
After all, the Sabers are becoming quite familiar with the venue.
For the second straight season, the program capped off its campaign by battling the Class 1A’s best at the state meet.
And just like the boys team the year prior, the Sabers girls made themselves right at home.
Propelled by two state medalists, four bowlers in the top 13 and its best Baker score of the season, Central DeWitt took second at the state meet with a season-best score of 2,719.
The state runner-up trophy was the perfect prize for a strong winter for the Sabers girls.
They went 5-2 in dual action and finished in the top three in six different tournaments.
That included a second straight runner-up finish at the Cedar Rapids Prairie Baker tournament, despite being one of just five 1A squads in the 18-team field.
Behind a second-place series from senior Denyse Turnquist, the Sabers were also second at the WaMaC Conference meet, that, too, matched last year’s finish at the meet.
A second-place finish at the state-qualifying meet, meanwhile, proved to be key to the Sabers’ state bid as they bowled the highest non-winning score across the class to earn the at-large spot at state.
Of course, Central DeWitt earned its final second-place finish at state itself, bringing home the program’s second state trophy in its 11-year existence.
Now, the Sabers will look for some more repeat history — a return visit to Waterloo next February would have them join the 2012-13 and 13-14 teams, which made back-to-back state trips to Des Moines.
The Sabers will need to replace two of their state starters —Turnquist, an all-state selection this year, and Grace Pfeifle — as well as Stephanie Weigandt, who saw action in a pair of games.
Central DeWitt, though, brings back both of its state medalists in Kimberly Hendricks — tied for sixth — and Alyssa Lampe — ninth — as well as fellow state returnees, Eve Schmitt and Jena Edwards.
The Sabers can also turn to junior Alyssa Weigandt and freshman Adriana Kerr, who both saw varsity action this winter.
Young Sabers boys squad grows, sees bright future
After having one of the state’s oldest squads a year ago when it finished fourth at state with five seniors and a junior, the Central DeWitt boys jumped to the other end of the experience spectrum.
Of the nine Sabers who competed in varsity action this winter, there were more freshmen and sophomores (five) than juniors and seniors (four), and three of those upperclassmen were making their varsity debuts.
That meant some growing pains, but also plenty of progress.
In the 2020 portion of their season alone, the Sabers won conference duals with both West Delaware and Independence and finished in the top five of each of their final four tournaments.
That included a fifth-place finish at the WaMaC meet — matching last year’s state team’s finish — and a third-place finish at the 1A state-qualifying meet.
Five of the six Sabers that competed in that qualifying tournament are set to return, but Central DeWitt will miss senior Devin Mumm, who has been a fixture of the lineup over the past four years and was the lone returnee from last year’s state team (the Sabers also graduate Gabe Arndt, who took part in six games this season).
Sophomores William Vanderbilt and Kaden Dammeier and freshman Eli Haack, however, all joined Mumm by amassing over 4,000 pins this winter and are set to return.
And they will be joined by juniors Lane Walker (fourth on the team with a 173.4 game average) and Branden Russell (a 166.6 average) and sophomores Adam Townsley and Andrew Hall.