The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

December 17, 2013

In 2013, East bowlers experience a lot of ROCK & ROLL

Cougars senior finishes with No. 1 ranking in the state

Growing up in Mankato, Zach Rock was always a pretty good bowler. Last year, however, the junior at Mankato East took a big step forward and began to separate himself from a lot of kids his age.

Today he is considered one of the top junior bowlers in the state. And he has the credentials to prove it.

He ended the season as the No.1 bowler in the state with a fill percentage of 94.89 and a strike percentage of 73.72. He rolled 101 strikes, 29 spares and only seven opens during the season which lasts from mid-September to mid-December.

Now a senior, Rock helped the Cougars win the South Central Conference this season with a 9-3 record. East’s team average was the second-highest in the state (behind Faribault) and both Rock and teammate Logan Johnson earned all-conference honors.

“Yeah, we had a pretty good year,” head coach Gene Braam said. “This is my 12th year coaching the team and it’s the best we’ve ever done.”

In addition Rock and Johnson, the East team included Ben Winans, Nick Gall, Debbie Ristau and Jeremy Bungert.

“It was a fun season,” Rock said. “I’ve been bowling since I was about 11 or 12 when a friend talked me into joining a junior league at the Wow Zone. I loved it right away but it wasn’t until last year that things started to take off.

“That’s when I started to figure things out. I finished 17th in the state last year and then I jumped up to No. 1 this year. My game average right now is about 225.”

Rock admits he surprised himself his junior year but this season he was a little better prepared to bowl with the state’s elite. Still, even he didn’t see a scenario where he would be named the Most Outstanding Player in the conference two years running.

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