Golden Pins: Tritons claim national title

Golden Pins: Tritons claim national title

For the second consecutive year, the Iowa Central bowling team is leaving Airport Lanes and the NJCAA Championships with a national title.

This time, the Triton women finished atop the team standings. Iowa Central captured the men's team gold a season ago.

Using a picture-perfect round of Baker's, the Tritons recorded a three-day total score of 12,157. Barton placed second, 44 pins behind with Rock Valley third and Iowa Western fourth.

"It is just an amazing feeling," Iowa Central head coach Gregg Haden said. "It has been an amazing eight years since we started this program, but we could not achieve any of this without the incredible support of the administration and athletic department.

"It really is a family that all of the athletic teams embrace. Every coach supports every coach and it truly is amazing."

Iowa Central finished with 5,139 in singles and doubles, 5,376 in five-man and had Baker totals of 554, 574 and 514. They were sitting in third early during the event before taking control over the final two days.

"We didn't have the best start to the season, but they really turned it around," Haden said. "And it all started with Baker's. Ever since we started, we've always been a strong Baker's team for both the men and women."

Over the past eight national championships, the Tritons have a combined 12 Top-3 team finishes, including seven by the men.

Toni Hansen, Allison Christenson and Madison Ross all earned All-American honors by placing in the Top-8 for all-events. Hansen was the runner-up to Tegan Peterson of Rock Valley, with Christensen finishing third and Ross seventh.

Baili Girkin placed 30th overall and Miranda Pelant 43rd.

"We went in over 170 pins behind Rock Valley," Haden said. "We had a bad second game and went in probably 40-some pins behind. But just like they have in the past few tournaments, they turned it around in Baker's.

"It really shows just how much of a complete team they are. You have to work as one in Baker's and you have to really focus in on each throw."

Christensen was the highest finisher in singles, placing 11th overall, while Hansen was 24th and Evelyn Roen 25th. Hansen and Girkin finished seventh in doubles and Pelant and Christenson ninth.

"I'm just so happy for them," Haden said. "It takes everybody and every pin to fall that can to win a championship."

A year after finishing first, the Triton men settled for silver.

Like their counterparts on the women's side, Iowa Central made a run after slow first day. The Tritons were fourth but made a move into the runner-up spot with a dominating Saturday.

"We made a move on the men's side and really gave it everything," Haden said. "Our guys had some incredible scores and it just continued right through Baker's."

Rock Valley was crowned the team champion with 13,571 as Iowa Central had a three-day score of 13,131. Highland was third and Iowa Western behind them.

Raymond Wiegand claimed All-American status, placing third overall behind Highland's Nick Howard and Derik Lisi of Corning.

Kamrin Chizek was 10th overall and Nickolas Borgman, who earned a silver in singles, finished 17th.

"It's been a very good run here for us," Haden said. "There is a lot of work we put in on team unity and being mentally tough and I think that is why we are so strong when it comes to Baker's and finishing."

Along with Borgman's high finish, Wiegand was sixth in singles and Chizek 16th. Ryan Dudley finished 20th in singles.

Kaleb Ross and Noah Wangen were the highest doubles team, placing seventh, while Wiegand and Nathaniel Hansen were 14th and the team of Robert Burton and Hansen 14th.

Both teams will now prepare for the USBC Intercollegiate Singles and Team Championships to be held in Dallas beginning Thursday. The Top-80 men and Top-64 women teams from NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA and club teams comprise the field.

That event will be 32 Baker games on Saturday and 32 more on Sunday.