I've never been known as a fearless forecaster, but I'm going to try my hand at it this week.
Trying to select the champions in the Winona Bowling Association Men's City Tournament and Winona Women's Bowling Association City Tournament is like trying to get all 16 games correct on a NFL Sunday. It isn't easy; you've got to pick an upset or two.
So here we go. Here are my fearless predictions for this year's tournaments, starting with the women's.
TEAM: Winona Bowl 3. If this team shows up with its best lineup (Krystal Dorman, Keri Prigge, Diane Marley, Dawn Dunbar and Gwen Fakler), they're almost unbeatable, especially at Winona Bowl. Other teams to watch include Winona Bowl Pro Shop 2, John Glow's Pro Shop and Herff Jones.
SINGLES: Mandi Steffes. We haven't heard much from this young lady lately because she recently gave birth to her second child in early December. But if I don't recall, shortly after her first child was born, Steffes went on a record-setting tear. Also look out for Angie Pomeroy, Prigge, Laurie Wiseman, Marley, Dorman and up-and-coming Kassi Kluzik.
DOUBLES: Dorman and Marley. These 200-average women are no strangers to big scores, and they're both terrific at Winona Bowl. Also keep an eye on Steffes and Jenny Glowczewski, who's a clutch tournament bowler, defending champions Angie and Becky Pomeroy, the mother-daughter team of Keri Wegman and Julie Moldenhauer, and my sleeper team (you heard it here first), Lindsay Boynton and Tina Wenzel.
ALL-EVENTS: Angie Pomeroy, by a whisker over Steffes.
Handicap always seems to come into affect in the men's tournament, so that makes this even tougher. But here we go.
TEAM: Winona Athletic Club. The Jasnoch boys always seem to come up clutch in the city tournament, plus the Classic League team will carry a pretty good handicap into the tournament. Also keep an eye on Bonez Inc., Nicholas J's Pro Shop, Lakeview Drive Inn, and Firestone Roofing, which has just enough handicap to keep it interesting, especially with Geoff Schewe and Steve Maliszewski at the bottom of the order.
SINGLES: Brian Fakler. No, he is not a one-house bowler. I watched him roll 300-835 in last year's Winona/La Crosse Bowling Challenge at Westgate. With the first half he's had, it's hard not to pick him. Honorable mention goes to Schewe, who seems to have found his groove recently at Westgate, veteran Bill Bonow, and Brian Dunbar, who's quietly having himself a great year.
DOUBLES: Dale Bartelson and Nick Heilman. They both carry averages over 225 at Westgate, and they're both excellent tournament bowlers. Don't count out Fakler and Tod Walters, Geoff and Greg Schewe, Myron Weege Jr. and Myron Weege Sr., Tom Donnelly and John Glowczewski, and the Boynton brothers, Dan and Don.
ALL-EVENTS: I'm going with the experience here - Bill Bonow. You can bet Fakler will be up there as well. If you're looking for someone with a little handicap, your guess is as good as mine. How about Geoff Gardner!
There you have it. Let's look back after the last weekend of January and see if any of these names are at the top.
The Winona Women's Bowling Association, in conjunction with the United States Bowling Congress, is sponsoring four scholarships of $425 this year.
Applicants should have a YABA background or be a member of an adult league. Applications are available at Winona Bowl, Westgate Bowl, Winona Athletic Club, Nordic Lanes in Rushford, Riverboat Lanes in Wabasha and Legion Lanes in St. Charles.
For more information, contact Julie Haessig at (507) 450-3214.
It's beginning to sound like a broken record, but it happened again last Friday. Brian Fakler tossed his sixth 300 game of the season in the Legion League at Winona Bowl, leading the way to a 792 honor count. And just for good measures, Fakler turned in a 757 series Tuesday in the Blue Ribbon League.
Josh Wenzel, who's being slowed by a bad back, rolled a 762 series last Thursday in the Classic League at Westgate.
Adding their first honor counts of the season in the past week were Aaron Spitzer (727), Jeff Besek (721), Brad Bartelson (715) and Greg Bambenek (704).
Brian Dunbar came up a pin shy of a 300 in last Thursday's Classic League with a 299 game. Geoff Schewe (726, 708) and Dennis Schewe Jr. (715, 709) both tallied a pair of 700s in the last week.
Leading the way for women was Angie Pomeroy, who rifled a 267 game and 659 honor count Wednesday in the Lamplighter League at Winona Bowl.