The future for bowling in Winona appears very strong.
A large number of Winona youth bowlers participated in the Southeast District Tournament of the Pepsi USBC Youth Bowling Championships, which were held at Echo Lanes in Austin, Minn., the weekends of March 18-19 and 25-26.
Nine of those bowlers have advanced to the state tournament, which takes place the weekends of May 6-7 and May 20-21 at Apple Place in Apple Valley.
The state tournament, which is sponsored by the Bowling Proprietors Association of Minnesota, offers $7,800 in scholarships. Also at stake are eight spots for the International Finals, which will be held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in July.
Michelle Kohner and Sami Kohner took the first two spots in the girls 12-above handicap division. Michelle Kohner tossed a 709 score to win the title, while Sami Kohner added a 688 for second.
Winona took five of the top 14 places in the boys 12-above handicap division. Joe Braatz, who advanced to the International Finals two years ago in Texas, placed fifth with a 713 score. Also advancing were Trevor Haedtke (7th, 710), Izak Walgrave (8th, 700), Nathan Hilton (12th, 673) and Kyle Serwa (14th, 666).
In the girls 11-under handicap class, Hailey Schaefer took 11th with a 643, while Tyler Przybylski finished 14th with a 653 score in the boys 11-under handicap division.
It just goes to show that Winona's youth are receiving great teaching and instruction in the sport, which should make for some big scores for years to come.
Ending with a bang
The final nights of bowling for some Winona bowlers created some awful big scores.
Take Mandi Steffes, for instance. In the last night of the Pin Topplers League Monday at Westgate Bowl, Steffes rolled her record seventh 700 of the season with a 726 national honor count. She recorded games of 246, 267 and 214 for her third highest series of the season. Just to boot, Steffes ended her Mixers League on Wednesday night with a 647 series.
Bob Banicki certainly saved his best for last. In last Thursday's final evening of the Classic League at Westgate, Banicki blasted a 796 honor count.
Laurie Wiseman turned in her best series of the season Wednesday night in the Mixers League with a 683 series. And Maggie Glenn ended a great season on Wednesday with a 668 series in the Sunsetters League at Westgate. Glenn also rolled a 613 Monday in the Alley Gaters League, which also saw a 645 from Keri Wegman.
What a week it turned out to be for Dale Bartelson last week. After tossing a 300 game and 797 series last Tuesday in the American League, Bartelson subbed Friday night in the Masters League at Westgate and rolled his second perfect game in three nights to go along with a 714 score.
It was the 33rd 300 game recorded in Winona this year.
On the same night, Bob Prenot fired the Winona Bowling Association's 13th 299 game of the year in the Legion League at Winona Bowl. Prenot's big game led to a season-high 740 honor count.
Two other bowlers in the Legion League added their first 700s of the season as Bill Benedict rolled a 726 series and Brad Lisowski tallied a 722.
And congratulations are in order for Mindy Decker, who on Monday in the Pin Topplers fired her first career 500 series with a 527.