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Bowling: Alexandria takes third at state tournament

The Alexandria bowling team rounded out a strong season with a third place finish at the state tournament.

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The Alexandria bowling team takes a photo after placing third at the state tournament on Dec. 3, 2022. (Front Row L-R: Jase Zeithamer, Hunter Miller, Wyatt Meyer, Marcus Teaser; Back Row L-R: Christian Lopez, Darrin Brakken, Blaine Lynch, Kayden Blakesley, and coach Chad Meyer)<br/><br/><br/>
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ALEXANDRIA - The Alexandria bowling team finished its season with a third place finish at the Class AA state tournament on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Garden Center Lanes.

“I’m extremely proud and excited about what this team has accomplished,” Alexandria head coach Chad Meyer said. “Of the eight bowlers, we have one senior, two sophomores, two freshmen, two eighth graders, and one seventh-grader. Many of the teams we beat consist mainly of seniors, juniors, and sophomores. Not only did they overcome the big age difference they overcame a huge gap in tournament experience to beat the teams they did. I’m very excited about what the future holds for this team.”

24 teams qualified for the tournament by being in the top 12 in either the north or south regional tournament.

The top 16 teams from the first round qualified for the second round. Alexandria placed ninth with 1,990 pins.

From there, the 16 teams were placed into four pools and played three opponents in 2-game matches.

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Alexandria beat Sartell-St. Stephen/Pierz (191-186, 193-133, total 384-319) to earn three points, Farmington (225-186, 187-224, total 412-410) to earn two points, and Rochester Mayo/Dover-Eyota (224-195, 154-173, total 378-368) to earn two points and win the pool.

The top eight teams then played in a bracket to determine the champion. Scores from round two only determined the seeds for the bracket.

Alexandria beat Princeton/Milaca 424-419 (game 1 - 232-226, game 2 - 192-193) but lost to Spring Lake Park 381-350 (game 1, 188-182, game 2, 193-168) in the semifinals.

The Cardinals defeated Minnetonka/Chaska in the third place match 370-336 (game - 202-150, game 2 - 168-186).

“You need to be able to stay focused on what is happening for a very long period of time, and with only getting one or two frames per game, each shot you make is very critical,” Meyer said about what it takes well to bowl at the state tournament. “Overall, it is not much bowling when you look at it individually because they can only bowl two frames per game, but it is a very long day. It is very taxing mentally and can be more draining sometimes than the physical drain. We started bowling at 10 a.m. and didn’t get done until after 4:15 p.m., granted we did have some downtime between games and the different rounds of the tournament, but the most downtime we had was about 15 minutes between rounds. There are three different rounds in the tournament, with a little different format in each of the rounds, so you have to be able to adjust to those formats throughout the day and still stay sharp.”

Spring Lake Park defeated Robbinsdale Cooper/Robbinsdale Armstrong by one pin to win the state title.

Alexandria had a strong regular season, as it finished with a 14-1 record.

“Unlike many previous seasons, normally the first couple of weeks we spend ‘shaking the dust off,’ so to speak, as many bowlers do not bowl in the spring and summer,” Meyer said. “However, almost all of these eight did some bowling during the offseason, so they were able to maintain the level they got to at the end of last season. This helped us get to more advanced learning and become more in-depth with our performance critique. Because of this, I feel like we got off to a good start and stayed pretty steady for the first few weeks, but then hit a bit of a lull in about week four. We were able to do a real good self-check and just focus on improving each week, trusting we did not peak, with the hopes we would peak when the time was right, and I feel we did just that. Our team did its best bowling of the season at the regional tournament and then topped that at the state tournament.”

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That regular season record qualified them for the state tournament out of the north regional.

Meyer has enjoyed seeing the team grow throughout the season.

“I have always enjoyed coaching this team, and watching the growth of each individual is the most satisfying part,” he said. “Yes, I want our team to do well and win as much as we can, but my main goal for every team member is for them to learn and improve their bowling skills each and every year. This year’s team thrived on learning and getting better each week, no matter how they did. They all believed they could do better and wanted that for each other.”

Meyer, who bowled on the high school team as a kid growing up, said a handful of Alexandria teams had taken third at the state tournament before, and in 2016, the team placed second. He also said the program won state titles “many years ago.”

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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