Gary Brady kept an important secret during the state girls bowling tournament Monday in Waterloo.
Brady, the Le Mars High School girls bowling coach, knew that the Bulldogs had won the Class 2A state tournament, but he wanted the team to find out during the awards ceremony.
Once the Bulldogs found out they had won with a score of 3,061, they all broke down with hugs and happy tears. Their parents later celebrated with Silly String when they left Cadillac Lanes.
Le Mars beat Keokuk by 27 to win the state championship, and it also defeated Western Dubuque (3,016).
“They had no idea until they heard Keokuk’s score,” Brady said. “They just focus on themselves. It dawned on them instantly, all at the same time.”
Getting to the state tournament was nothing new for Le Mars. This was the seventh straight time the Bulldogs have bowled at the state tournament.
The Bulldogs have been to the state tournament in every postseason but twice since 2007, but Monday’s championship was the first.
The Bulldogs led by eight pins against Waterloo East going into the Baker round, which is a team aspect of the competition.
Western Dubuque was also within 30 pins going into the Baker round.
The Baker round, however, is where the Bulldogs have succeeded throughout the season, and that rang true on Monday.
Le Mars was the only team in the Class 2A field where it bowled all five Baker games at a score of 200 or above. The highest-scoring Baker game that it had was 227.
Le Mars’ five Baker games were as follows: 200, 201, 227, 200, 204.
The Bulldogs entered the state bowling tournament as the top-ranked team in the Baker department. Brady and the team was confident that when they had the lead after the individual round, that they’d hold onto that lead.
“The most important thing to me was we had the best team,” Brady said. “We just have a really super good team. Our girls are super solid in Baker part of it and that was an important part of our team.”
The Bulldogs also had three individuals in the top-10 and two of them received all-state honors.
The Schiefen twins were the top-two individuals for the Bulldogs on Monday.
Olivia Schiefen led them with 455 — good for fourth place in 2A — and Sam Schiefen scored 449, which put her right behind her twin sister.
Olivia Schiefen also had the highest single-game score for the Bulldogs with 253 in the first game.
Sam Schiefen was named onto the first-team all-state group after the tournament.
“I knew we would do well, but I really wanted to win,” Sam Schiefen said. “All of us put together that energy. This is all we ever really wanted.”
Junior Kaitelin Konz placed ninth overall with a score of 434. She bowled a 232 in Game 1.
Alyssa Williams placed 27th with a score of 344. She learned after the state meet that she was voted onto the second all-state team.
Emily Peters placed 29th, with a score of 343. Riayn Hoebelheinrich was 32nd, with a score of 331.
Denison-Schleswig also placed fifth as a team in the tournament , with a total score of 2,574. Claire Miller placed third with a score of 467. Her second game was the higher total with 244.