by Jim Kohner
The balance of power continued to shift northward this year in the eighth annual Winona/La Crosse Bowling Challenge, which was held last weekend.
Not only did Winona’s men’s and women’s team win, but they did so in convincing fashion.
The men, who were 0-5 in the first five years of the event, won for the third straight year, beating La Crosse 175-125.
Winona’s women’s team, which stood at 1-3 in the first four years of the competition, captured the large traveling trophy for the fourth year in a row with a 172-128 victory.
“I feel it’s because of our youth,” men’s captain Jeff Hubbard said of Winona’s three-year reign. “We have a lot of younger bowlers that don’t have families yet, so they’re able to bowl three nights a week. That’s tough to do when you’re older. We have nine guys under 30 and we all came up through the ranks together. We bowl a lot and really push each other, especially for this weekend.
“Our overall team chemistry is great. We always have a lot of fun at this event and it’s nice to see all the guys smiling and joking around.”
The “team concept” is where Winona appears to have the advantage these days. The Baker team event, the last competition of the weekend, is where big points can be won or lost. Winona’s women’s team held a 53-47 in that event, and the men dominated by a 63-37 advantage.
And those were both in La Crosse, where the host team used to dominate.
“We didn’t see many wins early,” women’s captain Angie Booher said of the Baker event. “We came out kind of nervous. But a lot of us are pressure bowlers. We’ve always had strong bowlers, and we really enjoy the Baker.”
Both teams did exactly what they needed to do in Saturday’s singles and alternate-shot matches in Winona. They both jumped out to sizable leads and the momentum carried over into Sunday.
“It was great to lead this year’s event wire to wire,” said Dale Bartelson, Winona’s other men’s captain. “From top to bottom, our guys bowled consistently well, made clutch shots and showed the ability to adjust. We were balanced in both alleys, scoring 90 points in Winona and 85 at All-Star Lanes.”
One of Winona’s youngest bowlers, Geoff Schewe, stepped up to lead the men. He tossed a 749 series in singles and a 765 in doubles.
Keri Prigge put on quite a display of bowling Saturday at Westgate Bowl. She rolled a 784 series (280-225-279) in singles, which ties her for the fourth highest score ever bowled in Winona. It was also the top women’s series ever recorded in the Bowing Challenge.
But she had company as teammates Krystal Dorman (690) and Julie Moldenhauer (663) also hit big scores. Exactly half of Winona’s 20 bowlers in singles rolled 600 or better.
“Everyone in Winona did pretty decent,” Moldenhauer said. “There were a lot of high scores on Saturday. It was nice to come out on the winning end again. It shows everyone that we can do it and we are able to bowl well under pressure. It’s not as nerve-wracking as it was before. I wasn’t quite as nervous as I’ve been in the past. We all seemed more relaxed this year.”
And it showed in the final score for both Winona teams.
A big thank you goes out to Winona Bowl, Westgate Bowl, All-Star Lanes and Pla-Mor Bowl for sponsoring the event again this year. Without their generosity, this event could not survive.
It had been a relatively quiet season heading into Wednesday night for Maggie Glenn. But that changed in a hurry in the Sunsetters League at Westgate Bowl.
Glenn blasted her first honor count of the season Wednesday, and it was a big one – 712. She started the night out with games of 257 and 266.
On same night at Winona Bowl, Krystal Dorman was at it again, firing a 289 game en route to a 708 series – her fifth 700 of the season.
Angie Booher came close to her first 700 this year with a 695 series Monday in the Spinners League at Winona Bowl.
Other women’s honor counts came from Lisa Pietkauskis (652), Mandi Steffes (647), Julie Moldenhauer (637), Barb Tust, (615), Keri Prigge (611, 605), Dawn Bronk (604), Annette Trachta (603) and Lindsay Serwa (601).
Joe Braatz turned in the top men’s score of the week with a 739 Tuesday in the Blue Ribbon League at Winona Bowl. Paul Jandt (736), Dustin Schewe (732), Tod Walters (725) and Josh Wenzel (710) also tossed 700s for the men.