Dateline: May 18, 2013, Reno, NV, National Bowling Stadium.
That was the last time John Wittkowske picked up a ball and bowled competitively
as we wrapped up our trip to the USBC Open Championships in 2013.
So while he has been practicing getting ready for the 2014 USBC OC, John hasn’t thrown a competitive shot for score since that day almost a year ago making him one of the most unlikely people to win the 2nd Annual ELITE Pro Shop VIP Tournament.
But that’s just what he did dominating the field and taking home the first place prize.
And if you saw John bowl on Saturday, you’d figure he gets in multiple games a week and bowls in leagues and tournaments as his polished game shows the work of a more traditional style that disappeared long ago.
John is great to coach on the lanes too; you just tell him where to stand, where to aim and he does it.
He is just gifted athletically. Next time you see him just tell him he can’t still run a 6-minute mile and see what kind of response you’ll get.
While he doesn’t bowl regularly, John has plenty of enviable accomplishments including the 1986 USBC Team Championship, 2 Wisconsin State titles, 2 Milwaukee City titles, 1 Wisconsin State Match Mixed title, 7 non-pro tour titles and five 300 games to his credit.
Hall of Fame Material for certain and yet he is still not in the GMBA Hall of Fame.
What’s more amazing is he picked out a ball to use that wasn’t even his!!!!
“Luigi” used a Storm BYTE Matchmaker test ball the entire tournament as he was testing its capability so he could drill one for the national tournament we’re about to travel to in a few weeks.
His most improbable win came against Scott Huenink in the finals where John had to spare to shut Scott out in the 10th. On a ball that caught a little more oil in the middle than he was expecting, it left a tough 2-5-8 spare he needed to convert.
For those close to him, we knew it would be an absolute clutch shot or an epic FRY.
And with a fist pump I haven’t seen in many years, John made the spare and won the tournament 234-225. First place was worth $540 and John donated $100 back to the charity we supported for the event.
We figure it’s been about a decade since John won an individual tournament so while he may have been the least likely to win, he is the most deserving.
To see a video of the final frame, check out this link here.
The format of the VIP Tournament featured a unique points system. Players got one point for every person they beat each game, meaning that the high point earners from the night made the top 20 double-stepladder bracket finals.
Here is the finals results round-by-round:
#20 Russ Voege of Sheboygan upset #13 Tyler Fane of Brownsville 252-39 to 252-35 (tie)
#15 Aaron Cleveland of Plymouth defeated #18 Tim Firgens of Sheboygan 233-201
#17 Mike Charaus of Muskego upset #16 Don Suckow of Plymouth 218-179
#14 Janeen Meifert of West Bend defeated #19 Lindsay Boomershine of Brigham City, UT
#12 Amy Meifert of Sheboygan defeated #20 Russ Voege 264-226
#10 Amber Loberger of Fond du Lac defeated #15 Aaron Cleveland 223-175
#17 Mike Charaus upset #9 Steve Wipperfurth of Sturgeon Bay 253-195
#11 Scott Huenink of Hartland defeated #14 Janeen Meifert 259-206
#5 Jacob Mickelson of Sheboygan defeated #12 Amy Meifert 274-201
#7 Chris Manthei of Waupun defeated #10 Amber Loberger 219-203
#8 Mike Walters of Sheboygan defeated #17 Mike Charaus 248-236
#11 Scott Huenink upset #6 Pat Georgia of Green Bay 250-216
#5 Jacob Mickelson upset #4 Tim Mentink of Cedar Grove 241-227
#2 John Wittkowske of Shorewood defeated #7 Chris Manthei 214-191
#8 Mike Walters upset #1 David Paasch of Sheboygan 234-177
#11 Scott Huenink upset #3 Paul Gloede of Plymouth 196-178
#2 John Wittkowske defeated #5 Jacob Mickelson 234-217
#11 Scott Huenink upset #8 Mike Walters 245-205
#2 John Wittkowske defeated #11 Scott Huenink 234-225
To see the full bracket results, click this link here.
David Paasch led qualifying scores with a 1039 score and an all-time personal high 3-game set of 787. David was followed by John Wittkowske 1002 and Paul Gloede 987.
79 bowlers participated along side of the Storm Staff of Champions consisting of Chris Sand, Jeff Richgels, Gail Myers Jr and Lindsay Boomershine. $10 from every entry went to support Rainbow Kids of Sheboygan in our charity event that evening.
Lindsay was the lone Storm representative to make the finals and lost in the first round to Janeen Meifert. For knocking Lindsay out of the tournament, Janeen earned a “bounty” ball of her choice and picked an IQ Tour Fusion.
Lindsay and Chris Sand were gracious enough to donate their tournament winnings back to our charity.