DES MOINES - The Fort Dodge girls bowling squad qualified for the state tournament as a wild-card after their performance in a Class 2A district meet here Thursday.
The Dodgers were second in the Johnston regional at Plaza Lanes, thanks to the strong individual efforts of Michaela Spaulding and Ciara Sturm. Their 2,717-pin team total was good enough to advance them with the ninth-best score out of the Top-10 programs advancing to state.
''My feet haven't touched the ground since I heard the news,'' FDSH head coach Don Ervin said. ''I got a call from (assistant) Mike (Mericle) and he said, 'guess what?' I knew right away at that point, and it was just terrific news.
''Of course it's somewhat bittersweet because I wanted our boys to get in (four a fourth consecutive season), but we have to take what we can get. You can't slip up even a little bit once it gets to this point.''
Spalding had a 441 series to place second individually. Sturm was right behind with a 181-208-389.
''Michaela's been our leader, so that (performance) was great to see,'' Irvin said. ''Michaela and Ciara have both been so reliable and consistent.
''The girls were ready to go. They were very focused. I'm so happy for them.''
Shelby Jacobson (337), Allison Birnbaum (333), Samantha Witte (318) and Christina Hemann (312) followed the efforts of Spalding and Sturm.
The Dodger boys (2,875) struggled, placing fourth out of five schools. Des Moines Lincoln (3,413), Johnston (3,113) and Waukee (2,961) finished ahead of Fort Dodge.
Alex Markov (194-248-442) was the top FDSH performer, placing sixth individually.
Coletyn Nelson (398), Chase Messerly (397) and Jacob Ladlie (385) were next in line.
''It just wasn't our day (on the boys side),'' Ervin said. ''They had a great practice (Wednesday) and were really ready to go, but we really struggled out of the blocks (Thursday).
''I take the blame. These things happen sometimes unfortunately.''
The state meet is back here on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m.