Keeping up with modern bowling technology isn’t real high on the priority list for Mandi Steffes.
She’s using the same ball she used three years ago. She shows up for traveling league with just two balls, while some of the top bowlers from La Crosse carry four or six balls into the alleys.
But that doesn’t stop the 31-year-old from turning in big scores on a consistent basis.
Monday night, Steffes fired the highest women’s series of the season in the Pin Topplers League at Westgate Bowl with a 767 national honor count. She turned in games of 256 and 225 to start out the night, then struck in the first 10 frames of the last game before leaving a 5-7 split on her 11th ball for a 286.
The prior week, Steffes cracked her first 700 of the season with a 703.
“I’m more comfortable on the lane,” Steffes said. “I was forcing to ball and wasn’t letting the ball do its job. I went out the other night and told myself to relax. And I took my time. I always rush.”
A month ago, Steffes had the misfortune of having a miscarriage when she was five months pregnant. She took three weeks off of bowling, but has been on fire since coming back. She followed her big score Monday with a 635 series Wednesday in the Mixers League.
“I cannot get the lanes figured out on Wednesday,” Steffes said. “They’re a little more oily. I can get my ball to the pocket but I can’t get it to finish.”
There isn’t a lot that Steffes hasn’t accomplished in her bowling career. She’s had the high average in the city, she owns five of the top eight women scores ever bowled in Winona (including a career-high 787 series), and she’s won every league award you can think of.
But there are still two numbers out there that she’s shooting for.
“I would really love to have a 300 and an 800,” Steffes said. “I don’t think I can have a 218 average (which Keri Prigge had last season). I’ve had 210 and 211. I would like to better my average and the only way to do that is pick up my spares. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. That’s part of my mental game.
“I’m still competitive, but it’s a little different now. I want to go out and have fun first. We have a great time on my Monday night team. And if we bowl well, that’s a bonus.”
The number of ladies’ 700 series this year grew to 20 in the past week. Along with Steffes’ big score, Keri Prigge cracked a 740 (258-256-226) in the Sunsetters League at Westgate and Julie Moldenhauer turned in a 707 (212-248-247) in the Alley Gaters League, also at Westgate.
Prigge has rolled three 700s this year and Moldenhauer, who also tossed a 698 Wednesday in the Sunsetters, has four.
Krystal Dorman continued to honor-count rampage with a 664 series Monday in the Spinners League and a 625 on Wednesday in the Lamplighter League, both at Winona Bowl. Diane Marley added a league-high 654 series in the Lamplighter.
Also breaking the 600-mark for the gals were Jenny Glowczewski (630), Wendy Fakler (628), Tammy Bigelow (625), Dawn Bronk (617), Annette Trachta (614), Laurie Wiseman (612), Lynda Krall (611) and Nancy Theis (601).
The top three men’s score of the week came from the Legion League at Winona Bowl. Josh Wenzel led the way with a 764 score, Steve Nelton added a 750 and Aaron Shiroma pitched in a 741.
Rick Prenot blasted a 299 game in the same league, and Ralph Dunbar duplicated Prenot’s feat in the Blue Ribbon League at Winona Bowl on Tuesday.
Rounding out the big men’s scores were Joe Braatz (716), Scott Schultz (716), Prenot (715), Scott Brommerich (712), Jeff Fakler (711), Dave Sommer (708), Mike King (705), Jeff Hubbard (703) and Matt Wise (700).
Congratulations are in order for Chad Schultz, who rolled his first career honor count Tuesday night with a 713 series in the American League at Westgate, and for junior bowler Hailey Schaefer, who nailed a 601 series in the Next Generation League at Winona Bowl.