The strong ending of last season has carried over to a hot start this year for Jeremy Wenzel.
With three weeks to go in the 2004-05 season, the 25-year-old Wenzel purchased a new ball. The final two weeks, he threw the best two scores of his career - 763 and 757. He ended the year with a 216.8 average in the Classic League at Westgate Bowl.
Now fast-forward to this season. Three months into the 2005-06 season, Wenzel may be the most improved bowler in the Classic League. He went into Thursday night with a 230.7 average and five national honor counts.
"I got a new ball with three weeks left last year," Wenzel said Thursday. "My highest score before that was a 752. The last two weeks of the season I threw two scores better than that.
"It's carried over to this year. Tonight I had my lowest score of the year (614). For bowling only one night, I knew it was bound to happen."
For a one-night-a-week bowler, carrying a 230 average is almost unheard of. Wenzel doesn't practice on off nights, and puts his bowling ball away after the last night of the season and doesn't pick it up again until the fall. He's too busy in the summer playing golf and softball.
"I'd say it would be almost impossible to keep the average at 230," said Wenzel, who's a salesman at Motor Parts & Equipment. "Being at 230 now, I'd like to keep it above 225."
Wenzel is currently battling his younger brother Josh for high average in the Classic League. They were both at 230 going into Thursday. Josh Wenzel has averaged over 230 in two leagues the past two years.
"The last three years, he's really improved his game," Jeremy Wenzel said of his brother. "He bowls two or three times a week. That's helped his game. I come out and like to have a good time."
And put up big scores in the process.
Prigge nails 298-715
Keri Prigge is one of just three women (along with Pat Meyer and Angie Pomeroy) who have rolled a 300 game in the Winona Women's Bowling Association. Wednesday night, Prigge almost became the first woman with two perfect games.
Bowling in the Sunsetters League at Westgate Bowl, Prigge rolled the first 11 strikes in her second game, then left two pins on her final ball to finish with a 298. She also had games of 222 and 195 for a 715 national honor count - her third 700 of the season.
"The first ball in the 10th frame I got lucky and threw a Brooklyn," Prigge said. "The second ball was right there. The third ball I was nervous. It got pretty quiet in there. It went too high."
The 298 game is the first one ever turned in by a Winona woman. Prigge, who was averaging 205 heading into Wednesday, also rolled a 290-717 earlier this year.
The deadline for accepting registration for this year's Winona Men's Bowling Association City Tournament is Dec. 17.
The event will be held on weekends beginning Jan. 21 at Winona Bowl. Entry forms are available at all local bowling establishments.
Two Fridays ago Dave Bohn tossed his first 700 of the year with a 707 in the Masters League at Westgate. Last Friday, the Winona State University student was even better with a 299 game and 767 series.
Scott Schultz went one pin better than Bohn Tuesday night in the American League with a 300 games - the 11th one thrown in the city this year.
Nick Heilman (762) and Myron Weege Jr. (761) also shined in the American League. Dave McLaughlin carded his first honor count of the season with a 759 Thursday night in the Classic League. Tom Babler added a 753 honor count in the City League at Winona Bowl.
Also turning in their first honor counts of the year last week were Russ Prenot (715), Don Boynton (714), Wes Palokangas (708) and Paul Ciszak (705).
Krystal Dorman has found her groove, tallying two more honor counts (637, 623) last week.
Mary Sue Kukowski (619) and Julie Edmunds (603) both rolled their first 600s of the 2005-06 season.