West Delaware rolled to a third-place finish at the Class 2A State Bowling Tournament at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo, Feb. 19, capping another outstanding season for coach Bob Morris and the Hawks.

The two-time defending Class 1A champions fared just fine in their initial season in 2A, falling just shy of winning another title, as the top three teams in the meet were separated by only 25 pins in a tight finish.

Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson won the championship with a total score of 3,175, North Scott was second at 3,157, and the Hawks were close behind at 3,150. Ottumwa was also in the hunt and finished fourth at 3,146. Clinton (3,081), Keokuk (2,836), Cedar Rapids Xavier (2,834) and LeMars (2,810) completed the field.

“I can’t ask for anything more from these guys. I’m really proud of their effort,” said Morris. “It’s a great honor to be here. There are some great teams in Class 2A.”

West Delaware held the team lead after the individual games as two bowlers finished in the top 10 — Brandon Larson fifth at 464 and Alex Schnieders 10th at 442 — leading the Hawks to a 2145 total heading to the Baker games.

Larson lit it up in the opening game — shooting a career best 267 — before rolling 197 in game two.

“Finishing fifth in my first year of bowling is awesome. I feel good about it,” said Larson. “I just grabbed the ball, thought about the shot, threw it and hoped for the best.”

“I was able to go clean through both my games,” said Schnieders — who rolled games of 229 and 213. “I was able to pick up all my spares and it’s nice when you can do that.”

“One of my goals the entire year was to come in here and bowl my best,” he added. “Finishing 10th is very nice.”

Eli Heims was close behind with scores of 200 and 236 (436) while Grant Schmidt topped 200 in both games with 201 and 209 (410). Seniors Ian Tibbott (195-198) and Cole Turnis (181-167) completed the Hawk lineup.

“We had some misses, but every time they missed a shot they talked, made adjustments and did better on the next roll,” said Morris. “The guys had a lot of fun bowling today.”

In the Baker games — where multiple bowlers combine to bowl one game — Council Bluffs TJ rode a big game-two score of 258 and a game-five 223 to nip North Scott and West Delaware in the team race.

The Hawks rolled 200, 177, 212, 232 and 184 for a solid Baker total of 1005 that left them just short of the gold.

“We had a lot of positive energy and emotion today,” said Morris. “That’s especially important in the Baker games. They gave it their best effort — that’s all you can ask.”

“We’re real happy with the way things went today,” added Morris. “The fan support from the parents and the girls team was outstanding.”

Replacing four seniors is never easy, but after a third consecutive State Tournament appearance and sixth overall, expect the Hawks to be in the hunt again in 2020.

“We hope to continue the tradition we have built at West Delaware,” he said. “The kids are spending a lot of time in the lanes and we’ll keep working with them to get better. These kids are all very coachable.”