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The Bowling Report (11/26/2006)

In her sixth and final year as coach of the Winona/Winona Cotter/Lewiston high school bowling team, Roxy Kohner is finally going to state.

Over the years, Kohner and her teams have had their share of runner-up finishes in the Southeast Conference Championship and earned berths in the Minnesota Invitational Tournament. But this year, everything came together. Winona posted a 15-1 record in the conference, then swept its two matches in the conference tournament in Preston on Nov. 12 to earn a berth in the Minnesota High School State Bowling Tournament, which will be held Dec. 2 at AMF Saxon Lanes in Little Canada.

"These kids have worked together for a long time," Kohner said. "They're a group. Most of them have been in this for three or four years. They've learned every year. They are just very good. I watch them and they throw strikes. They know their strengths and weaknesses.

"I told them right away at the start of the season that they're going to take me to state."

Winona is a very experienced team, though it has just two seniors on it. Sami Kohner, the coach's daughter, is in her fifth year of high school bowling. Joe Braatz and Aaron Shiroma both have four years of experience, Brent Cordes, Tyler Jandt and Shelly Kohner are three-year veterans, while Eric Thill and Michelle Fakler are in their second year.

Rounding out the team are Brandon Beech, Karissa Kluzik, Hailey Schaefer, Doug Berg and Phillip Dunbar.

Twenty-two teams will compete in the state tournament. All the teams will bowl two five-game qualifying matches. Wins and losses won't matter in those matches; it's all pin count. The top 16 teams will then go into a double-elimination tournament, which each match the best-of-three.

High school bowling, which is administered by the Bowling Proprietors Association of Minnesota, uses the Baker team format.

"It's definitely more pressure on the kids," coach Kohner said of the best-of-three format. "They have only two frames a game to figure it out. But these kids are good under pressure."

Kohner, if she chooses, can use all 13 of her bowlers in the two qualifying matches. After that, she must choose eight to compete in the roll-off.

Winona last won the state tournament in 1998 when the likes of Dale Bartelson, Josh Wenzel, Ryan Repinski and Jeremy Voshage made up the team.

"Anything is possible," Kohner said. "When they figure out the conditions, they're good under pressure. If someone gets weaker, someone else will step up. It will be an exciting time."

Braatz was voted the most valuable player in the Southeast Conference, and was joined on the all-conference team by Sami Kohner and Shiroma. Also making the all-conference team were Izak Walgrave and Andy Heraty of Wabasha-Kellogg, Dan Anderson and Chuck Ingram of Rushford-Peterson, Joe Schultz of St. Charles and Dustin Solberg of Fillmore Central.

Who's hot?

Bill Bonow and Steve Walters both made strong runs at an 800 series in the past week. Bonow came up one pin short with a 799 series in the American League at Westgate Bowl, while Walters turned in a 793 in the Mixed Nuts League at Winona Bowl.

Walters also rolled a 300 game in the Mixed Nuts, as did Brian Fakler - his fifth of the season. Fakler finished the night with a 777 honor count.

Adam Stockhausen (745), Tom Bell (742), Bob Barth (725) and Adam Dickenson (703) all tossed their first honor count last week. Bell's score was the first 700 this year at the Athletic Club.

Dale Bartelson (739, 723) and Fakler (777, 731) both rolled a pair of honor counts.

Leading the ladies was Fakler's wife, Gwen, who fired a 622 series Monday night in the Spinners League at Winona Bowl and a 618 Saturday in the Mixed Nuts League. Shirley Benedict (613, 600) also turned in two honor counts. 



The Winona/Winona Cotter/Lewiston high school bowling team consists of: (front row, left to right) Brandon Beech, Joe Braatz, Michelle Fakler, Karissa Kluzik, Hailey Schaefer, Shelly Kohner and coach Roxy Kohner. Back row: Aaron Shiroma, Brent Cordes, Tyler Jandt, Eric Thill and Sami Kohner. Not pictured are Doug Berg and Phillip Dunbar. 

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