No shortage of optimism surrounds the Iowa Central men's and women's bowling teams in their first season of competition.
The Tritons, who are under the direction of co-head coaches Gregg Haden and Rick Sandquist, officially kicked off their 2012-13 campaign this past weekend at the River Valley Open in Mankato, Minn. Iowa Central captured the women's title in their debut, while the Triton men settled for a runner-up performance despite finishing with four of the top five individuals.
"We've set high goals and want to be outstanding and compete right away," said Haden, who also serves as an assistant coach for the ICCC softball program. "One thing about Iowa Central athletics is almost every program is nationally ranked every year (ICCC has won a scholarship division record four straight NATYCAA Cups). We want to mirror that same level of success, but with this being only our first year, we just don't know how things are going to go."
On the men's side, the Triton roster features Fort Dodge graduates Matt Anderson, Nick Anderson, Josh Hansen, Brandon Kearney, Cord McMahon, Josh Praim, Grand Rogers and Jerry Wagner. Brandon Butler (Manson Northwest Webster), David Praim (Webster City), Braxton Rash (Algona) and Dalton Runneberg (Laurens-Marathon) are also members of the squad.
"We're allowed eight letter of intents for both the men and women, and can have up to 25 people on each roster," Haden said. "We were actually supposed to start next season, but once we got word from (Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Development) Mr. (Tom) Beneke that we were going to begin this fall, we really had to hit the ground running with our recruiting. We sent an e-mail out to the students on campus and held a tryout for anyone that was interested, along with the people we already recruited."
Iowa Central is the lone junior college in the state to offer a bowling program. Only around 25 two-year schools across the nation are currently involved with the sport, according to Haden.
2012-13 IOWA CENTRAL BOWLING
Triton Men's Roster
Freshmen - Matt Anderson, Fort Dodge; Nick Anderson, Fort Dodge; Cody Brandau, Mason City; Brandon Butler, Pomeroy; Anthony Handrahan, St. Paul, Minn.; Josh Hansen, Fort Dodge; Brandon Kearney, Fort Dodge; Cord McMahon, Fort Dodge; David Praim, Webster City; Josh Praim, Fort Dodge; Braxton Rash, Algona; Grand Rogers, Fort Dodge; Dalton Runneberg, Laurens; Ryan Travis, Maplewood, Minn.; Jerry Wagner, Fort Dodge.
Triton Women's Roster
Freshmen - Dawn Blomker, Dakota City; Samantha Drimalla, Belvidere, Ill.; Samantha Foster, Fort Dodge; Catherine Gruber, Dubuque; Allison Haltli, Sioux City; Leah Heim, Manchester; Breanne Mobley, Sioux City; Amber Rockwell, Webster City; Ashley Rolfes, LeMars; Stacey Schwarzenstein, Marion; Mackenzie VanDenBerg, Waterloo.
Remaining Triton Schedule
Oct. 20-21 - at Kegel/ISBPA ( Peoria, Ill.).
Nov. 3-4 - at Jayhawk Collegiate Classic (Lawrence, Kan.); 10-11 - at Leatherneck Classic (Davenport).
Dec. 1-2 - at Warhawk Classic (Madison, Wis.).
Jan. 12-13 - at ROTO Grip (Addison, Ill.); 19-20 - at Blue & Gold Classic (South Bend, Ind.); 25 - at Sin City Open (Las Vegas, Nev.); 26-27 - at Rebel Classic (Las Vegas, Nev.).
Feb. 9-10 - at River Valley Open (Mankato, Minn.); 16-17 - at Black Haul Classic (Indianapolis, Ind.); Feb. 28 - NJCAA Nationals (Buffalo, N.Y.).
"I guess it all started when (ICCC President) Dr. (Dan) Kinney asked Coach (and Triton Athletic Director) Sandquist if there was anything else (Iowa Central) wanted to add (to the previous 21 NJCAA sponsored programs), and bowling was right at the top of the list," said Haden. "So far everything is going pretty well. I never really saw myself as a coach, but I've always been interested in working with our youth and keeping them out of trouble."
Samantha Foster (Fort Dodge), Dawn Blomker (Humboldt) and Amber Rockwell (Webster City) are women's players from the area. Defending Class 1A state champion Leah Heim (West Delaware) and Samantha Drimalla (Belvidere, Ill.) are expected to anchor the Iowa Central lineup.
The Tritons will face teams from all levels, including junior colleges to NCAA Div. I four-year schools. Iowa Central must enter at least 10 tournaments to be eligible to participate in the NJCAA National Tournament set for Feb. 28-March 2 in Buffalo, N.Y.
"We've been practicing three to four nights a week, with one of those focusing on weight training," Haden said. "After our first tournament in Mankato, the director commented on how he thought we had a really nice team, which made Coach Sandquist and I feel good about the direction we're headed."
Next outing for the Tritons is this coming weekend at the Kegel/ISBPA in Peoria, Ill. Iowa Central's only scheduled tournament in Iowa will take place Nov. 10-11 at the Leatherneck Classic in Davenport.