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The Bowling Report (11/25/2007)

Jeff Fakler, the first-year coach of the Winona/Winona Cotter high school bowling team, could care less that his team only averaged 173.8 during the regular season.

It's not the average that counts right now, it's the wins.

Winona won 13 of its 14 matches in the South East (East) Conference season. Fakler's team won the conference regular-season title and the conference tournament to earn an automatic berth in the Minnesota State High School Bowling State Tournament, which will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1, at AMF Earle Brown Bowl in Brooklyn Center.

Five teams come into the state tournament with team averages over 190, led by last year's third-place finisher at state Owatonna, which carries a 199.3 average. Defending state champion Superior is second at 196.1, while Sauk Rapids-Rice (194.7), Rochester John Marshall (191.5) and Edina (190.7) round out the top five.

It's a tall order that awaits Winona.

"The kids can handle it just fine," Fakler said. "They bowled well up there last year. They placed fourth. It was a couple of spares that cost them third."

Winona did average 200 in its matches this year at Winona Bowl. That average went down when they bowled their other leagues matches in smaller houses in Preston, St. Charles and Wabasha.

Bowling in a big house of synthetic lanes should help Winona at state.

"They know they can do it," Fakler said. "They just have to get in the right frame of mind."

Winona is led by two-time conference MVP Joe Braatz, who was joined on the all-conference team this year by teammates Aaron Shiroma and Brandon Beech.

Fakler will start his five seniors - Braatz, Shiroma, Eric Thill, Tyler Jandt and Michelle Kohner - to begin the match. Beech is the first person Fakler will put in as a substitute. Rounding out the team are Michelle Fakler, Karissa Kluzik and Michael Glowczewski.

"We'll keep everyone happy," the Winona coach said. "We'll keep our better average bowlers in there until the match is won."

All 24 teams in the Baker format tournament will roll 10 qualifying games. The top 16 teams from the qualifying round will move on to the single-elimination brackets, which will be best-of-three matches.

"Anywhere in the top three will be good," said Fakler, who has Paul Jandt and Pat Beech serving as assistant coaches for him. "You always want to win, but I'll take anything in the top three."

The next day, Winona's junior varsity team will compete in the state JV tournament in Andover. Winona took the ninth and final spot in the state qualifier in Duluth last weekend to earn the state berth.

The junior varsity team consists of Zach Jandt, Doug Berg, Meghan Fakler, Hailey Schaefer, Raylyn Prenot, Colin Fakler, Andrea Schaufenbil and John Ehlers.

This year's high school season had 1,891 bowlers from around the state competing in 20 different conferences. There were 123 varsity teams and 98 junior varsity teams.


Prior to Monday night, no Winona women's bowling team had ever recorded a series of 3,500 or better, no team ever had two women on the same team roll a 700 on the same night, and no team had come close to turning in a 1,300 game.

John Glow's Pro Shop team from the Pin Topplers League at Westgate Bowl accomplished all three of those feats Monday.

With Shirley Benedict tossing a career-high 743 series, Mandi Steffes rolling a season-high 739, and Jenny Glowczewski tossing a 652 honor count, John Glow's Pro Shop shattered the old city record by 238 pins with a 3,700 series. That broke the previous mark of 3,462 set earlier this year by Malewicki Cement.

They also fired the highest women's team game ever with a 1,299, breaking the old record by 19 pins. The 288 game rolled by Steffes ties her for the seventh highest game all-time in Winona.

Beth Larson (563) and Mindy Decker (508) rounded out the record-breaking team. Benedict's score is the top series rolled by a Winona woman so far this season, and Steffes' is the second highest.

Who's hot?

Lost is all the big scores in the Pin Topplers League Monday was some pretty impressive scores that came out of the other league at Westgate. Maggie Glenn led the way in the Alley Gaters League with a 698 series, while Julie Moldenhauer added a 660 and Keri Wegman turned in a 604.

Other women's honor counts for the week came from Keri Prigge (639), Lynda Krall (629), Kim Kubis (613) and Diane Marley (603).

The American League at Westgate accounted for five of the top six men's scores for the week, including Joe Jasnoch's 779 series. Other 700s in the American League came from Steve Maliszewski (756), Dale Bartelson (755), Josh Wenzel (746), Aaron Serwa (744) and Nick Heilman (706).

Tim Wangen rifled a 776 honor count last Friday in the Masters League at Westgate.

Also rolling 700s in the past week were Jerry Bublitz (738), Jerry Koutsky (719), Tom Bell (713), Bruce Feuling (713), Geoff Schewe (712), Dennis Schewe Jr. (705) and Erik Kanz (701).



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