Denison-Schleswig’s Brawner is All-Iowa Boys Bowling Coach of the Year

Shelby Brawner knows her way around Lucky Lanes Bowling in Denison as well as she knows the back of her hand.

Her father bowled in Denison bowling leagues when Brawner was young and introduced her to the sport when she was in elementary school. She played in a Saturday morning youth league for years, growing to love bowling.

Brawner played at Denison-Schleswig High School. Now, she’s the boys’ and girls’ head coach, alongside former high school teammate Jennifer Totten, her assistant coach.

The Monarchs men’s team held its first state tournament since 2016 last winter. Despite scoring 2,989 points in the state preliminaries and taking the sixth seed, the Monarchs soared in the finals. Beater Ottumwa, 3-1, took down North Scott, 3-1, then secured a 3-0 victory over Oskaloosa in the championship game.

For leading the Denison-Schleswig boys’ bowling to the state title, Brawner was named the Register’s 2022 All-Iowa Boys’ Bowling Coach of the Year. She, along with all members of the All-Iowa Boys bowling team, are all guests at the Register’s All-Iowa Sports Awards, which returns to a live, in-person program honoring Iowa’s top student-athletes. . The time and date of the event are yet to be determined and will be announced shortly.

Brawner, a 2010 Denison-Schleswig graduate, returned to her alma mater after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University to teach high school Spanish. It was only natural that when Matt Wilder left his position as men’s bowling coach, Brawner took over for the Monarchs.

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Brawner and Totten did what no other Denison-Schleswig team could accomplish in 28 years: win a state championship.

The Monarchs entered the Finals at Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo as the No. 6 seed, then knocked out Ottumwa, North Scott and Oskaloosa to win the Class 2A State Tag Team Championship.

It was the first state team champion for Denison-Schleswig since the 1994 baseball team won gold.

“Our season has had a lot of ups and downs,” said Brawner, who also coaches the women’s bowling team. “We had a lot of home games early. After Christmas we had a little slump. We weren’t bowling badly, but we weren’t getting a lot of wins. We were trying to understand the different types of oil. role models, which really helped when we got to the playoffs.”

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Brawner did some thinking outside the box to prepare his team for the state qualifying meet and the state tournament.

“The state was a whole different animal,” she said. “During the season, we only played two Baker games. In the state, we played five Baker games. So we worked a lot on our Baker games to prepare. A few days, we played 15 Baker’s full games. We reached out to other schools, like Sioux City East and Lewis Central, and mingled them to prepare for state. That really helped us a lot.

Brawner had another hurdle to overcome late in the season. His daughter was born in late January, which caused him to miss about a month of the season. In the meantime, Totten and former Denison-Schleswig coach Jim Harms have taken over coaching duties.

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Thanks to the invaluable help of her husband, Jacob Brawner, and his family, Shelby Branwer was able to return to coaching duties in time for the playoffs.

“My husband deserves a lot of credit,” Brawner said. “He got up and watched our 2 year old and our newborn baby so I could continue coaching.”

Monarchs peaked at the right time. The team of seniors Harrison Dahm, Kyle Segebart and Blake Polzin, and juniors Lucas Segebart, Christian Schmadeke and Trey Brotherton won their state qualifying meet in March to qualify for state for the first time since 2016.

Polzin qualified for the final as an individual, losing in the quarter-finals. Kyle Segebart and Brotherton also competed as individuals.

As the Monarchs graduate from eight seniors, they return four juniors, two sophomores and six freshmen, along with several promising eighth-graders, who are looking to build on the Denison-bowling tradition. Schleswig.

“They’re all super excited. It’s a great thing for our school,” Brawner said. “I’m excited for next year. We have a lot of potential.”

Matt Levins is a sports reporter for the USA TODAY Network in Burlington, Iowa, which has covered local sports for 31 years. Contact him at

Edward K. Thompson