On Sunday, Matt Weggen barely made it out of the preliminary round at the Muscatine USBC City Bowling Tournament. Still, he turned it on during the ensuing step-ladder tournament to capture his fifth Bowler of the Year title.
“I didn’t feel like I was at my best during qualifying, but I locked in there late,” Weggen said.
The city tournament is the culmination of the bowling season at the Rose Bowl, and the weekend puts the Muscatine bowling community in the spotlight.
While Weggen went on to add to his trophy collection with the Bowler of the Year Division I, father-daughter Jeff and Christin Swank captured championships in their respective divisions. Jeff won the men’s Senior Bowler of the Year, held Saturday, while Christin captured the top spot in the Sweet 16 Division I.
“There were some nerves there going into the final,” Jeff Swank said. “The place is quiet. Everyone is watching you. My shot was kind of all or nothing, so I was lucky to do enough for the win.”
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Laurie Lanfier joined Jeff Swank as a first-day winner. Lanfier bowled a 213 in the final match in the Senior Sweet 16 (women’s) division for the victory, beating Sandra Cordrey’s 172 for her third championship. Jeff Swank outlasted Dennis Wagoner, 279-205, for his trophy.
“It turned out to be a good tournament,” said Lanfier, an event organizer and Muscatine USBC director. “I wasn’t aware of my three-peat until after I was done bowling.”
In the Bowler of the Year Division II, Russ Berkhoudt beat Robert Sorrowfree in the championship, 196-151.
“Everybody that makes the field can win,” Berkhoudt said. “So it makes it special when you can win a tournament where anyone can get hot and win. My whole thought process through the whole day was to just take it one shot at a time and do the best I can.”
Dominique Leach topped the Sweet 16 Division II field by fending off Karlyn Logel, who won two head-to-head matches prior. Leach went into the step-ladder as the top seed after a 744 four-game series in the prelims.
Logel’s 145-142 win over Denise Rethamel in the step-ladder knocked out Rethamel after she scored 210 in Game 4 of the prelims which sky-rocketed her from 12th place to second to qualify for the four-person final.
The youth roll-off was also Saturday.
There, Issac Bravo proved to be the best on the boys side. He beat out Alexander Canada for first.
The youth competitions used a handicap-adjusted score. With that help, Bravo’s 223 final went down as an adjusted 308, which out-paced Canada’s 235 adjusted score.
The youth girls’ competition went to Zara Stoltzfus, who beat Zophia Stoltzfus in the final by an adjusted score of 265-200.
For his fifth win, Weggen scored back-to-back 258s to take down third-seed Dustin Whittington (224) and second-seed Corey Thumma (212) before taking down top-seeded Josh Anderson. Anderson bowled a 1053 series to earn his berth in the final, which Weggen won 279-259.
Following the prelims, Weggen needed a ninth and 10th frame roll-off after he and Beau Hahn both recorded a 952 series, leaving them tied for the all-important final spot in the step-ladder.
Gone started the extra session with two strikes in the extra session and closed out with a nine-pin spare. Hahn was eliminated after failing to keep pace, leaving pins on his first ball of the 10th.
“I was pretty fortunate to hang on and get into the roll-off,” Weggen said. “The scores were huge today. We have a lot of good bowlers in Muscatine. I was fortunate to get in (the step ladder). But once I got there, I just told myself, ‘I know what I’m capable of doing,’ and I was able to get lined up pretty quick. Fortunately, I did enough to beat my opponents.
“It was a special way to get the fifth. I’ve never won being the four seed. I was 30 when I got my first win. I’m 42 now. They all feel special, but I’m at a different point in my life now.”
Christin Swank’s 902 series was the top for the Sweet 16 Division I prelims. She had to wait for Cathy Ribbink to take care of Amber Clemens 237-214 in the bottom of the step-ladder. Then, Ribbink had to go against her sister, Tabitha Bieri, in the semifinal, where Bieri won 246-185 before Christin Swank’s 225 scored her some hardware over Bieri’s 199.
“It’s just crazy,” Christin Swank said. “I got the trophy, and all I could think about was how my dad won yesterday, too. There’s a good amount of competition between us.
“It was just awesome. It’s something we’ve been doing together since before I can remember. He put me in as soon as I started to walk. He’s my number one supporter, and I’m his number one supporter, so it was just great to get the wins together.”
Clemens was the top seed through league play. Her mother, Connie Clemens, went into the Division II tournament as the top-ranked bowler but did not move past the prelims.
“The community is really generous when it comes to this event,” Lanfier said. “It’s the climax to our bowling season, and there’s just been some excellent bowling. It’s always fun to watch good bowling, whether it’s you or not.
“Bringing family and community closer together is what this whole thing is about.”