For two years, the Winona men’s team has been riding high in the Winona/La Crosse Bowling Challenge. After losing the first five events, Winona broke through in 2006 with its first win, and followed it up last year with a come-from-behind 162-38 victory.
On the women’s side, Winona has won the competition three years in a row. Two years ago it came by the slimmest of margins (151-149), and last year it was by the largest of margins (201-99).
Teams have been set for the 2008 Challenge, which is in its eighth year. The event will be held the weekend of Oct. 4-5, with Saturday’s singles and alternate-shot doubles matches in Winona (women at 1 p.m. at Westgate Bowl; men at 4:30 p.m. at Winona Bowl) and Sunday’s doubles and Baker team matches in La Crosse (10:30 a.m. at All-Star Lanes for the men; 2:30 p.m. at Pla-Mor Bowl for the women).
Winona’s rosters are loaded with some familiar names in the bowling community, with only a couple news faces added to each team. That should come as no surprise as well as they’ve bowled the past two years.
“Looking at what we did last year and coming back with basically the same team, we feel confident,” said Julie Moldenhauer, who captains the women’s team from Winona with Angie Booher. “Everyone can have a good day and everyone can have a bad one. Obviously, we didn’t struggle last year.
“You can’t look at averages. When you’re on, you’re on. It all comes down to consistency.”
Moldenhauer and Booher with throw a lineup at La Crosse that includes seven bowlers who averaged 200 or better last year. La Crosse, meanwhile, had six gals average at least 200.
Keri Prigge (218), Mandi Steffes (210), Krystal Dorman (205), Keri Wegman (205), Diane Marley (204), Tina Wenzel (203) and Booher (200) will lead the Winona team. Rounding out the squad will be Moldenhauer (199), Maggie Glenn (196), Lindsay Serwa (192), Jenny Glowczewski (191), Laurie Wiseman (191), Kim Kubis (189), Wendy Fakler (187), Lisa Pietkauskis (185), Sue Yeoman (184) and Shirley Benedict (182).
Joining Wegman on the senior portion of the team will be Sue Buermann (185), Lynda Krall (181), Rose Schultz (176), Joy Donnelly (174) and Bev Porter (172).
Pietkauskis is the only first-year bowler on the team.
The “team” atmosphere is what men’s captains Dale Bartelson and Jeff Hubbard are striving for again this year.
“We have confidence in every person on this team that they can bowl well anywhere, whether it be in Winona or La Crosse,” Hubbard said. “That is why they are on this team. I do feel we have a good thing going here as a team. A lot of our guys see each other year round and not only in the bowling alleys. That can only help the comfortability level when it comes to an event like this.”
This year’s Winona men’s team will consist of Josh Wenzel (231), Brian Fakler (229), Nick Heilman (229), Seth Bonow (224), Bartelson (223), Tod Walters (223), Geoff Schewe (220), Steve Walters (219), Mike Durnen (215), John Glowczewski (215), Hubbard (215), Brad Kanz (215), Mark Walters (212), Tim Pozanc (211), Bob Prenot (209) and Jeremy Wenzel (209).
The senior portion of the team will be Greg Schewe (216), Tom Donnelly (215), Bill Bonow (208), Dan Boynton (204), Ross Harrison (204) and Don Boynton (200).
Kanz and Pozanc are both newcomers to the team, and Dan Boynton is making his debut with the seniors.
La Crosse has put together a team that had 14 bowlers that averaged 220 or better last season.
“Both teams have a great deal of individual talent, so it’s important to look past league averages, which vary greatly depending on which house a bowler calls home,” Bartelson said. “The ability to make clutch shots and bowl on multiple conditions really comes into play more than league average.
“We need our leaders and top bowlers to have a solid all-around weekend, and we need our seniors to duplicate their strong performance of last year. We need to put ourselves in a favorable position heading into the final event at All-Star.”
Fans are welcome to watch the event both in Winona and La Crosse. The Winona/La Crosse Bowling Challenge is sponsored by the four bowling establishments – Westgate Bowl, Winona Bowl, All-Star Lanes and Pla-Mor Bowl.
Scott Schultz rolled the first 300 game in Winona this season on Tuesday night in the American League at Westgate Bowl. He finished the evening with a 750 series, which was just the third-highest score in the league.
Bob Bigelow tossed the top score of the league and the week with a 767 honor count. Nick Heilman was close behind with a 761. Greg Schewe (738) and Josh Wenzel (733) also scored well in the American League.
Rounding out the men’s 700s for the week were Dean Ingram (734), Brandon Verbout (723), Larry Betchwars (717), Mike Durnen (716), Darrin Aarre (710) and Erik Thompson (709).
Krystal Dorman highlighted the women with her second 700 series in nine days – a 700 (233-221-246) Wednesday night in the Lamplighter League at Winona Bowl.
Keri Prigge just missed out on her second 700 when she turned in a 690 honor count Monday in the Spinners League at Winona Bowl.
Mandi Steffes fired the top score at Westgate with a 658 series Monday in the Pin Topplers League.
Other women’s honor counts came from Dorman (648), Julie Moldenhauer (645), Krista Peterson (636), Tina Wenzel (635), Sue Yeoman (626), Lisa Pietkauskis (614), Joy Donnelly (609), Kim Kubis (607), Annette Trachta (603) and Diane Marley (602).