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The Bowling Report (04/06/2008)

If you surround yourself with outstanding bowlers, it's bound to rub off on you - at least a little bit.

Derick Ritter's first year of adult league bowling last season was a learning experience. He averaged 162 in the American League at Westgate Bowl and 157 in the Legion League at Winona Bowl.

But when you bowl with the likes of Nick Heilman, Josh Wenzel and Brad Bartelson on Tuesday nights, and Dale and Brad Bartelson, Geoff Schewe, and Josh and Jeremy Wenzel on Friday nights, you learn a lot about the game. And for Ritter, it's beginning to show.

Three weeks ago at the Minnesota USBC State Tournament in Bloomington, Ritter tossed a career-high 654 series in the team event. Then last Thursday, while subbing in the Knights of Columbus League at Westgate, the 20-year-old left-hander tossed the first 700 of his career with a 715 national honor count.

"It helps a lot because I'm able to hold myself to a higher level because of their talent level," Ritter said of his teammates. "You get to learn and understand the lanes, plus the mechanics of bowling.

"All those guys kind of contribute in their own way. Dale does the most teaching me about the game. Brad is more of my coach in a way that he reminds me when I'm getting off my game. Nick's the one that's able to answer my questions the best. Whatever you ask him, he has an answer for it."

Ritter, who's a cousin to the Bartelson brothers, rolled the first eight strikes in his final game last Thursday for a career-high 277 game. That came after games of 224 and 214. He finished the evening tied with teammate Greg Schewe for the high series with a 715.

"It was definitely a different feeling, especially in the third game," said Ritter, who's averaging 175 this year in the American League and 170 in the Legion League. "I was relaxed. We were having a lot of fun. I was able to stay in a groove because we were bowling the blind.

"Going into it, I was watching the Winona State (basketball) game. I was more worried about that. My control was the main thing. It was there the whole time. I've never been able to place my ball where I did that night."

Ritter didn't start bowling in junior leagues until his senior year of high school. But the second-year WWTC student has improved his game with regular practice and by bowling twice a week.

"Since halfway through last year, I've gotten two new balls that move a little more for me," Ritter said. "That's helped my carry. Right around the Gardner Tournament, I got in a groove. I'm consistently hitting my spot and being consistent on my delivery. Everything is working.

"What's helped me with the average this last month is I'm shooting my spares better than I ever have. Before it was like trial and error; now I know where to stand and where the throw the ball. I've gotten more confidence."

And it's starting to show in his scores.

Who's hot?

The season may be winding down, but the scores certainly haven't slowed down any.

Congratulations are in order for Corey Koehler, who last Friday tossed the first 300 game of his career in the Legion League at Winona Bowl.

Four familiar names paved the way for the women bowlers last week. Keri Prigge rolled a 683 honor count in the Sunsetters League at Westgate and a 623 in the Spinners League at Winona Bowl. Krystal Dorman added a 675 series, Julie Moldenhauer carded both a 678 and 630, and Keri Wegman turned in a 667 and 605.

Also rolling 600s for the gals were Krystal Beech (651), Maggie Glenn (645), Mandi Steffes (633), Lisa Pietkauskis (630), Angie Booher (626), Diane Marley (623), Kim Kubis (617), Tammy Bigelow (613), Christine Szulczewski (609), Annette Trachta (608) and Sharon Neitzke (600).

Josh Wenzel closed in on another average title with a 766 honor count Tuesday night in the American League at Westgate. He added a 721 last Friday in the Legion League.

Adam Stockhausen also fired a pair of 700s with a 732 and 713.

Rounding out the men's 700s were Mark Walters (748), Mike Ready (725), Steve Theis (722), Nick Heilman (721), Russ Prenot (715), Dave Sobeck (715), Greg Schewe (715), Jeff Fakler (712), Aaron Serwa (712), John Mayzek (710), Larry Hock (705) and Scott Hovell (700).

Aaron Shiroma recorded the first 700 of his young career with a 701 series in the Next Generation League at Winona Bowl last Saturday morning.



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