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The Bowling Report (02/04/2007)

On paper, it appears that Mandi Steffes has regained that magic touch that made her the high women's average bowler in Winona the past two years.

But looks can be deceiving.

Monday night, Steffes tossed her second 700 series in three weeks in the Pin Topplers League at Westgate Bowl by stringing together games of 234, 222 and 247 for a 703 honor count. Two weeks prior to that, she fired a 709.

Those are a couple big scores for someone who's coming off a nine-week layoff. Steffes gave birth to her second child on Dec. 8. Due to some back problems, she quit bowling the last week of October and didn't come back until Jan. 3.

It almost reminds us of two years ago when she had her first child. Shortly after that, Steffes rolled the highest women's series ever in Winona with a 787 on Feb. 28, 2005.

This year's two 700s, however, don't resemble the feeling she had two years ago.

"Two years ago when I came back, it was like riding a bike," Steffes said Wednesday night. "I remembered how to do everything.

"This time, my timing is off; my shoulders aren't square; my backswing doesn't feel right; and I'm missing my spares. It's a lot different. I've only had two good scores. I don't feel comfortable out there. Monday, everything felt like it was coming back. Tonight (in the Mixers League at Westgate) everything was off. It's not coming together."

Steffes' average on Monday night has gone from 194 to 201 since she came back. So she's obviously doing something right.

Her biggest obstacle right now is confidence.

"If there were no spares, I'd be great," she said. "I've been bowling 10 years, and it's always my spare game. That requires practice, and I don't have time for that.

"I don't feel I'm there at all. It might be my attitude. In years past, it was usually

‘It's bowling night. I can't wait to go bowling.' Now, I want to spend time with my kids. My mindset isn't there right now."

If she had her way, Steffes would have taken more time off after the birth of her son. She said she didn't really miss the sport.

"I was too pre-occupied," she said. "I would have liked to have taken more time off, but people on my teams needed a break."

Steffes, who owns the three highest women's series (787, 780, 774) ever bowled in Winona, can't win the average title in either the city or in her two leagues this year because she won't have enough games in. For her, it feels like a new year.

"I feel I'm at the beginning of the year and just warming up," said Steffes, who turned in a 734 score back in September in the Pin Topplers League. "My priorities have changed. I still love the game, but my attitude is different about it."

Men's tourney ends

Last Saturday's final shift of singles and doubles in the Winona Bowling Association Men's City Tournament at Westgate Bowl yielded a pair of 700s - Joe Singer (752) and Dave Smelser (709) - but no changes at the top of the leader board.

Richard Orlikowski was crowned singles champion, with Nick Heilman picking up the scratch crown. Steve Nelton and Bob Kowalewski captured the doubles title, while Tod Walters and Brian Fakler were the doubles scratch champions. In all-events, Joe Jasnoch took the top spot and Walters was the scratch winner.

Singer's big score helped him to a third-place finish in all-events.

Who's hot?

Jon Rector is quietly making a name for himself on Thursday night in the Men's League at Winona Bowl. Last Thursday, Rector came up one pin shy of a 300 game and his second honor count of the season - a 758.

Jeff Smelser also broke the 750 mark with a 755 honor count in the High Life League at Winona Bowl.

Turning in their first 700s of the season last week were Tom Benedict (707), Dean Aarre (707), Ryan Repinski (704) and Erin McGuire (700).

Multiple honor counts were flying in last week for the women. Kim Kubis (645, 622), Keri Prigge (645, 619), Keri Wegman (643, 606), Krystal Dorman (641, 633) and Wendy Fakler (602, 601) all tossed a pair of 600s.

Next to Steffes, Angie Pomeroy rifled the top series of the week with a 664 in the Spinners League at Winona Bowl. Diane Marley added a 654 series in the Lamplighter League at Winona Bowl. 


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