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By Amber Hayden
COLFAX — The Colfax School District (Colfax High School) once again has a bowling team.
For level one coach Ed Rebak and his wife Angela, owner and operators of Whitetail Organics, Whitetail Pro Shop and All About You Salon, the choice to start the high school league was easy.
“We started the high school bowling team because Colfax used to have a team,” Ed Rebak said. “The only leagues around were in Menomonie or Eau Claire for junior high and high school age kids.”
This is the second season for Ed and the bowling teams that are a part of the BCAW (Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin) high school bowling club.
There were three teams that bowled this past season and each claimed Colfax’s Viking Bowl as their home center: a girls’ team that co-oped with girls from Wagner’s bowling in Eau Claire, a boys’ team made up of local high school athletes, and a junior boys’ team with athletes from seventh grade and up.
Due to there not being enough girls to fill an entire team for the season, Eau Claire Memorial and the Colfax High School girls formed a cooperative in order to make a full team. There were enough boys from Colfax to fill out both a varsity and junior varisty squad.
The three teams were sponsored by The Viking Bowl & Lounge of Colfax, Wagner’s of Eau Claire, and the Whitetail Bowling Pro Shop which is owned and run by Ed Rebak on top of his other business, Whitetail Organics.
The season started in October and ran through the beginning of February with 16 total matches for the three teams. Each match consisted of seven games against another squad. In larger houses with more than eight lanes, each team bowled in two matches, but smaller houses make it a bit more difficult to do so.
The Colfax bowlers hosted two meets this season and sold raffle tickets and baked goods in order to raise the funds to help offset the costs of state competition, maintenance on all the equipment for the bowlers as well as provided any equipment that was needed throughout the season.
The success of this year’s team surpassed the first year for the Colfax ladies. The cooperative qualified for state as a division one team, and as the season got underway, the team was made up of four ladies from Colfax and three from Eau Claire Memorial/Wagner’s.
The Colfax/Eau Claire co-op girls team included Morgan Gretzlock, Trinity Krueger, Samantha Chamberlain, Megan Halvorson, Emilee Burcham, Jenna Goodell and Emma Stone. Krueger, Goodell, Burcham and Stone are from Colfax.
The girls were able to qualify after having finished the season with 46.28 percent fill rate, meaning strikes or spares. The total pin count for the season was 13,963 total pin falls, 219 strikes, 291 spares and 592 open frames in their 18 match points.
The teams are allowed five bowlers per event who can compete at one time, but with the two extra girls they were able to see what the best combination of bowlers would be. But all seven of the girls attended state on Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3.
“We hope the girls take in the experience and enjoy the weekend, it is a big stage and nerves tend to get the better of them,” Ed Rebak stated. “We lose four of the seven girls as they graduate this year.”
On top of the ladies team qualifying, together two of the girls qualified individually for state, Samantha Chamberlain in second and Megan Halvorson in third, both from Memorial High School in Eau Claire. Most of all, Ed and Angela wanted the girls to do their best and have fun.
The varsity boys, however, missed state by a mere 40 pins, according to Rebak, in a conference meet against Ladysmith. They finished the season with an overall record of 17,185 total pin fall, a 60.7 percent fill rate, 361 strikes, 365 spares, 470 open frames and 52.5 total match points.
The varsity boys team was comprised of two seniors, Tommy Anderson and Zach Paffel, along with sophomore Hunter Rebak and freshmen Rylee Sauter and Dustin Niggemann.
“They had seven wins and eight losses on the season,” Ed stated. “A better record than the Ladysmith team, but just a little short when it counted the most.”
For Ed and Angela Rebak, it was the junior varsity team that shined the most as a majority of the incoming seventh graders had bowled with the couple last year in order to gain practice and experience. The record for the JV team was 13,663 total pin fall, 42.99 percent fill rate, 222 strikes, 259 spares, 638 open frames, 73.5 match points and 12 match wins and only three match losses on the season.
The JV boys team included Branson Longdo, Luke Anderson, Gunner Rebak, Preston Pederson and Christian Ebert.
The hope for next year is to change up the oil pattern that is used during the Wednesday evening and Saturday morning practices, which will make for challenging shots for the athletes and will help when the time comes to go to state once again.
“Clubs in southern Wisconsin have this and it shows in how they score compared to our kids,” Ed Rebak explained.
There are benefits to bowling now days, Rebak explained. Colleges are beginning to offer full ride scholarships to students who bowl for them. As well as earning money for college, the program for the most part teaches each student the correct way to throw the ball and become a better bowler with coached practices and to learn team-building skills.
There are also different leagues for teenage bowlers that allow them to advance to Junior Golds, which Rebak has expressed an interest in starting in Colfax.
“That kind of league is just like the bowling alleys we have here. It costs you ten dollars a week to bowl, and your league is 26 to 28 weeks long,” he said. “It’s a big financial commitment for a family. Our league travels to other towns like Ladysmith, Hudson, Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire to have our matches.”
The Colfax/Eau Claire Memorial girls team made their way to state on March 2 and 3 and began what they hoped would be a long weekend filled with two days of team events.
But unfortunately, the team’s weekend came to an early end as the ladies finished 40 pins below the 180 pin minimum that was needed in order to move on to Saturday morning’s events.
Ed mentioned that even without a higher score, several of the teams’ members were approached by a recruiter from Viterbo University located in La Crosse, WI to discuss their futures in bowling at the collegiate level.
Throughout the two day event, there was also a meet and greet with 11-time PWBA (Professional Women’s Bowling Association) Liz Johnson, as well as areas to purchase jackets and have pictures taken.
The Colfax bowlers, along with Ed and Angela Rebak, are appreciative of Viking Bowl and Lounge for allowing them to use the lanes for practices twice a week as well as being flexible so the kids were able to practice as much as possible.
For anyone wishing to participate in next year’s bowling league, they can contact Ed at 715-210-5955 at the Pro Shop. Angela can be reached at 715-354-3040 or at the Pro Shop/Greenhouse located a half mile west on 770th street which is three miles south of Colfax off State Highway 40.