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Jim Kohner: Underdogs shine at USBC City Bowling Tournament

January 20, 2019
JIM KOHNER

The underdog winning or coming close to winning a game or event is what makes sports interesting and entertaining.

Look at the excitement and big TV ratings during last year’s NCAA Tournament when Chicago-Loyola made it to the Final Four. I’m not one who’s disappointed when the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers get eliminated in the baseball playoffs, when the Patriots or Cowboys lose a football game, when Duke or Kentucky loses a college basketball game, or when Alabama loses a football game.

It just goes to show that on any given day, anything can happen.

That brings us to last Saturday and Sunday’s opening weekend of the Winona USBC City Bowling Tournament at Westgate Bowl.

As expected, some of Winona’s best bowlers are leading the scratch divisions, including Jeff Hubbard (708) in men’s singles, Paul Ciszak and Josh Wenzel (1,437) in doubles, and Wenzel (2,131) in all-events. For the women, it’s Kassi Prigge heading the scratch list in singles (619) and all-events (1,697), and Lindsay Serwa and Mandi Steffes (1,293) leading in doubles.

But it was the bowlers we don’t usually see on the high-score boards at the bowling alleys that caught most people’s eyes.

Take Shawn Vaughn, for example. His bowling career started this fall when he joined the Legion League at Winona Bowl. He came into the event with a 155 average, then bowled his first career 600 series (605) in singles. Vaughn is the current singles leader with an 821 handicapped score.

Jon Peters is another great example of the underdog having a weekend to remember. A 177-average bowler, Peters rolled a 710 honor count in doubles and finds himself, along with partner Bruce Malewicki, at the top of the leader board with a 1,469 score. Peters is also third in all-events (2,256) and ninth in singles (730).

Randy Averbeck and Jeremy Maliszewski also made the underdog list. Averbeck, a 180-average bowler, is the current all-events leader with a 2,288. He’s also second in singles (783) and fourth, along with Maliszewski, in doubles (1,428). And Maliszewski, who came into the event with a 157 average, is third in singles (780) and sixth in all-events (2,155).

There were a number of women bowlers that also had incredible weekends. Deb Malay (121 average), in just her second year of bowling, is currently second in singles with a 714.

Angela Ball (127 average), along with partner Lisa Stangler, leads doubles with a 1,409. Ball is also fourth (701) in singles, one place behind Anna Aarre (124 average, 712 score).

You can bet there will be more underdog achievers Saturday and today when the city tournament concludes. With the number of bowlers dwindling at the local, state and national level, it’s performances like these that hopefully keeps bowlers of all skill levels interested in the game.

Remember, on any given day, great things can happen.

Tournament of Champions is Feb. 9

Entry forms were dropped off at all three bowling houses last week for the ninth annual Tournament of Champions bowling tournament, which is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9, at Winona Bowl and Westgate Bowl.

There will be six qualifying games – three at Winona Bowl beginning at 2 p.m., followed by three more at Westgate Bowl. The top five bowlers in both the men and women divisions will move onto the stepladder roll-offs at Westgate.

The entry fee is $40 for men and $30 for women. Tod Walters and Jenny Stueve are the defending champions.

Hegland, Andring win Jr. titles

Tristyn Hegland and Spencer Andring were crowned champions on Jan. 6 in the Bob Kosidowski Junior Scholarship Tournament at Winona Bowl.

Hegland came for the No. 5 spot after qualifying to take the Division 1 crown with a win over Angela Lehnertz in the title match. Mitchell Koehler finished third.

Andring was the top seed in Division 2 and defeated Braydin Patin in the finals. Avery Tillman came in third. The tournament drew a record 30 bowlers.

Who’s hot?

Three of the top women bowlers in the association have been putting up some impressive scores lately.

Wednesday night in the Mixers League at Westgate, Mandi Steffes crushed a 289 game and 767 series. That score tied Hunter Dunbar for the top series of the season. Steffes tossed a 651 the previous week.

Dunbar has been on a roll in the Nordic Strikers League in Rushford with scores of 698 and 660. And Lindsay Serwa has not only been very good, but also very consistent the last two Mondays in the Pin Topplers League at Westgate with back-to-back 695 series.

Reid Erickson, Jim Rislove and Jerry Koutsky were added to this year’s 300 Club with perfect games recently.

Geoff Schewe landed the top men’s series on the last month with a 780 honor count in the Legion League at Winona Bowl. Erickson (774), John Glowczewski (772), Rislove (772) and Ralph Stevens (769) also put scores in this year’s top 10.

And finally, it was quite an ending to 2018 for Ben Prigge. The final three week of December, Prigge turned in scores of 754, 720 and 740 in the Action/Classic League at Westgate.

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