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DL/Frazee bowlers earn state berth for 1st time

The Detroit Lakes/Frazee bowling team qualified for state. The team includes (L to R): front - Allan Wendt (assistant coach), Lane Totland, Tyler Glander (captain), Kristi Amell (head coach), and Guy Hopper (proprietor). Middle row: Jerica Totland, Jurnee Bashford, Kim Watro, Jacob Wheeler, Ethan Endersbe, and Jordan Kimball. The back row is: Alex Willette, Brandon DeGroat, Devyn Becker, Andrew Wendt, Steve Amell (asst coach), and Jacob Kimball. Submitted Photo1 / 2
The varsity bowling team is (L to R) Front: Devyn Becker and Tyler Glander. Middle: Kim Watro. Back row: Jacob Kimball, Brandon DeGroat and Andrew Wendt. Submitted Photo2 / 2

Bowling has become more than just a recreational sport for a number of high school students in Detroit Lakes and Frazee.

Four years ago, Kristi Amell -- along with the help of Voyageur Lanes owner Guy Hopper -- started a high school traveling bowling team for grades seven through 12.

Now, after some success through those four years, both the varsity and junior varsity teams qualified for the state tournament for the first time, which is Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2, in Shakopee.

"This is a big step for the program of having not one, but two teams qualify for state," Amell said. "The kids really stepped up."

The teams consist of students from Frazee and Detroit Lakes. Matches are every Saturday, as they travel to their Central Northwest Conference opponents in Fergus Falls, Perham, New York Mills and Wadena.

The DL/Frazee team won the conference a couple of weekends ago in Wadena and now are preparing for the state.

Junior Andrew Wendt also won the conference individual title by having the highest "frill" percentage, which is based on the most strikes and spares.

"Andrew has been bowling since eighth grade, so it's exciting to see him do so well," Amell said.

The meet formats pits each team head-to-head. There are three matches each Saturday, which consist of five games.

Five bowlers bowl in each game and bowl two frames in each contest.

"It adds the team aspect to bowling," Amell said. "It's also important to pick up your spares, so you help your teammate after you. Basically, each bowler finishes by bowling a total of three games."

The local bowling team finished third in the conference standings, but defeated Fergus Falls in the first round and Wadena in the finals.

"Every game was close, it came down to the ninth and 10th frames every time," Amell said.

The state tournament format will have teams playing in pool play, and then the winner of each one will enter bracket play, where it's single elimination.

The teams practice every Thursday evening, where Amell and Hopper put them through some drills to improve their games.

"What I want the kids to take away from this is learning the game and having fun," Amell added. "It's a lifelong sport and the kids are certainly having fun with it."

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.