by Jim Kohner
Letís start the new year off with some bold predictions for 2009.
Iím not going to attempt to pick the menís and womenís city tournament winners like last year. Instead, Iím going to make three general predictions. If Iím way off base and none of them come true in 2009, it wonít be the first time Iíve been wrong. These are just a feeling I have entering the second half of this bowling season.
So here we go.
Prediction No. 1: Winona Bowl will have its first menís city average champion.
Since the establishment opened in 1976 as Kobi Lanes, no male bowler in a league there has ever carried the top average in the city. That might change.
The obvious choice to win it would be Winona Bowl owner Brian Fakler, who has averaged as high as 230 in a season but has never been crowned city average champion. He wasnít even in the top 10 in last weekís mid-season top 10, but he was very close at 222. Fakler is on a hot streak right now (see whoís hot later in this column) and is considered by many to be the cityís top bowler.
The one Iíd really keep an eye on is left-hander Tod Walters. For the first time in years, Walters is back to bowling full-time twice a week, and itís starting to show. He was averaging 231 going into last week in the Blue Ribbon League and rolled another 700 on Tuesday. Walters should be inching closer to Nick Heilman, who was averaging 234 in the American League at Westgate Bowl.
Prediction No. 2: The third womenís 800 series will be bowled by the end of this season.
In 2008, Keri Prigge with an 812 and Tina Wenzel (800) became the first two gals to break the 800 barrier in Winona.
With nine different women having already turned in a 700 series this year, itís obvious the talent is there. Krystal Dorman is bowling as well as she ever has at Winona Bowl. The same can be said for Diane Marley. And donít count out Prigge or Mandi Steffes, who together have the top six scores ever rolled in Winona.
Julie Moldenhauer is another one to watch. And it will be interesting to see how well Wenzel bowls when she comes back after giving birth to her first child recently.
Prediction No. 3: Geoff Scheweís city-record 868 series is safe for another year, and his city-record season average of 239 isnít going to get touched.
Itís the city records in La Crosse (which Iím not sure what they are) that might take a beating.
Schewe bowls at Pla-Mor Bowl in La Crosse on Wednesday evenings and Iíve been told heís been putting up some impressive numbers down there.
I ran into Schewe Tuesday night and we started talking bowling. I found out he hasnít thrown a series under 770 in the last month and is carrying a 242 average. Thatís what you call being on a roll.
Just how hot has Brian Fakler been in the past week? He rolled a 727 series last Saturday in the Mixed Nuts League, a 722 Monday in the City League, and a 726 Tuesday in the Blue Ribbon League. Thatís five honor counts in the past two weeks and 19 700s for the season.
Josh Wenzel tossed the top menís series in the past week with a 758 national honor count last Friday in the Legion League at Winona Bowl.
Leo Stencel (731) and Dave Rinn (707) both fired their first 700s of the year on Tuesday in the American League at Westgate. Geoff Schewe (725, 702) joined Fakler with multiple 700s.
Other menís honor counts came from Tod Walters (726), Brent Gora (724), Bob Prenot (719) and Gary Kluzik (707).
Monday night in the City League, Jesse Lynch nailed his first career 600 series with a 614.
Diane Marley turned in her second 700 of the year last Saturday in the Mixed Nuts League with a 701 series to pace the ladies.
Keri Prigge rolled a 669 series and teammate Krystal Dorman added a 665 in the Spinners League at Winona Bowl. Dorman also had a 645 in the Mixed Nuts.
Other womenís honor counts were tallied by Angie Booher (641), Laurie Wiseman (615), Kim Kubis (613), Rose Schultz (604) and Kassi Kluzik (603).
And a pair of junior bowlers rolled their first career 600s in the Next Generation League at Winona Bowl last week. Allyson Glowczewski, whose parents John and Jenny have had their share of big scores, drilled a 621 series and Doug Berg added a 619.