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  Thursday January 29th, 2015    

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The Bowling Report (09/16/2007)
You might notice as this bowling season goes on that the scores coming out of the Classic League at Westgate Bowl aren't what used to be.

It's certainly not that the league isn't bringing in the city's best bowlers. It's still one of the best, if not the best, men's league in Winona. To see seven or eight honor counts come out of the eight-team league on a given night in year's past wasn't unusual.

This year, however, a 205 average might win bragging rights.

The Classic League has a new name - the PBA Experience Classic League. The bowlers won't be rolling their balls on the usual "house shot." They will be using one of the five Professional Bowling Association patterns, just like the pros do on TV.

"The Classic League has about 25 guys that bowl every year in the USBC Nationals," Westgate manager Dave Hultgren said. "Some of the match games and local tournaments for higher average bowlers put a harder pattern out there. It's the future. The USBC will want a more demanding shot."

The plan is to use one of the patterns for three weeks, then shift to another one for the next three weeks. To start the season off, the Shark pattern is being used. In that pattern, according to Hultgren, there is three or four times the usual oil on the edge, and very little oil in the middle of the lanes.

In the first week of the league, only five bowlers - Tod Walters (694), John Glowczewski (663), Greg Schewe (644), Jeff Hubbard (635) and Josh Wenzel (625) - broke 600. There were actually more 400 series than 600s.

"Whether people admit it or not, the Classic League needed a change," Hubbard said. "It rejuvenated the league. It's going to make things more interesting than in year's past. I just remember looking at the scoreboards last Thursday thinking ‘this is crazy.' There were a few 600s and there were also some 300s (series).

"The beauty of it is that there are five different oil patterns, so there should be a shot or two throughout the season that fits everybody's game. This league and every other league in Winona have bowled on very favorable oil conditions over the past decade. It was long overdue to see something a bit more challenging. Everyone will take their lumps throughout the year, but in the end we will all be better bowlers because of it."

Hultgren says the new patterns should lead to more parity in the league. He doesn't foresee any team or teams running away from the rest in the standings.

These types of league are growing very fast in Minnesota, especially in the Twin Cities area.

"There's a lot more interest in it," Hultgren said. "It's a challenge. Bowlers have to look at it that way. There were a few guys that had some trouble the first night, but they'll step up. They'll be a lot more prepared for nationals.

"I think anything around 205 will be a fine average in this league."

Who's hot?

Jeremy Wenzel didn't waste any time putting up the first 800 series of the season. He did that on the opening night of the American League at Westgate with his first career 800 - an 802.

Diane Marley, Krystal Dorman and Keri Prigge have also gotten off to fast starts. Marley and Dorman share the top series this young season for the women. Marley fired a 664 in the Lamplighter League at Winona Bowl. She added a 638 honor count Saturday in the Mixed Nuts League.

Dorman rolled a 664 in the Mixed Nuts League and a 655 two nights later in the Spinners League at Winona Bowl. Prigge has one honor count at both houses - a 634 at Winona Bowl and a 632 at Westgate.

Also starting the season strong were Brian Fakler (749), Don Skappel (728), Ben Oldenburg (728), Dave Bohn (728), Wes Palokangas (722), Josh Wenzel (721), Troy Vaughn (713), Nick Heilman (707), Lisa Peterson (611), Kim Kubis (611) and Maggie Glenn (604).



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