Season comes to an end for AHS bowlers

DAYTON — There won't be a repeat trip to state for the Austin High School varsity bowling team after coming up one game short on Saturday at the Minnesota Qualifying Tournament.

The Austin Packers competed in the MQT, a second chance tournament, at the Sundance Golf and Bowl. The top three finishers in the tournament move on to the upcoming state tournament. Austin was required to compete in this tournament after it was beaten in the Southeastern Conference tournament earlier this month.

The MQT format required all participating teams to bowl two five-game qualifying rounds. The scores from each round were added together for each team. The top 16 teams emerging from this part of the competition moved on to a double elimination bracket play format.

Each match in this part of the tournament was a best two-out-of-three scenario. Once a team lost two matches, they were eliminated from further competition.

Austin advanced from the qualifying rounds into bracket play as the sixth-seeded team. The Packers bowlers had a total score of 1,923 after the two five-game qualifying rounds.


The first opponent for Austin in bracket play was Henry Sibley. Both teams bowled very consistently with the match taking three games to decide, but the Packers lost the match. After a win by the score of 189-185 in the first game, the Packers lost the next two games, 215-196 and 109-175. This setback put them into the "second chance" bracket for the remainder of the day.

"Determined not to make a quick exit from the tournament, our bowlers regrouped to win the next four matches in bracket play," Austin coach Jim Juenger said. "The matches against St. Anthony/Fridley, Maple Grove, and Hopkins each took three games to decide."

After posting a 169-158 win over St. Anthony/Fridley in the first game, Austin then lost 201-170. Back came the Packers with a 204-147 win to advance in the tourney. Austin went on to beat Maple Grove 176-144, 161-174, and 205-157.

A first-game loss to Hopkins at 165-149 threatened to end the tournament for Austin in the fourth round bracket. Austin then rallied to win 245-200 and 218-146 in the next two games and moved on.

In a rematch with Henry Sibley, the Austin bowlers made quick work of the match and won the first two games by scores of 206-173 and 223-115. The last victory moved the Packers into the match for third-place in the MQT, and a chance to go to the state tournament.

"The final match of the day found us pitted against a very good and very consistent team from Proctor," coach Juenger said. "Losing the first game 169-188, the Packers came storming back to take the second game 212-189. Three ill-timed splits in the third, and final, game resulted in a season-ending 144-200 defeat."


Fills for the Packers in the entire tournament included: Collin Bailey, 41-for-54; Jacob Conner, 7-for-12 (58.3 percent); Ben Farrell, 34-for-42; Dan Gerlach, 8-for-12; Lucas Hegna, 31-for-42; Kody Phillips, 70-for-78 (89.7 percent); and Elijah Rayman, 40-for-54.



The end of the Packers’ season also brings to a close the high school bowling careers of four seniors: Jacob Conner, Ben Farrell, Dan Gerlach and Lucas Hegna.

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