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May 31, 2020

The Rhinelander/Three Lakes boys’ bowling team displays its fifth-place plaque and medals from the Wisconsin High School Bowling Club state meet Saturday, March 7 at Dale’s Weston Lanes. The Hodags place fifth in the Division 2 boys/co-ed category. (submitted photo)
The Rhinelander/Three Lakes boys’ bowling team displays its fifth-place plaque and medals from the Wisconsin High School Bowling Club state meet Saturday, March 7 at Dale’s Weston Lanes. The Hodags place fifth in the Division 2 boys/co-ed category. (submitted photo)
3/10/2020 7:30:00 AM
Hodag boys finish fifth at state bowling meet

Jeremy Mayo
Sports Editor

One of the last teams into the Wisconsin High School Bowling Club state tournament, the Rhinelander/Three Lakes boys' squad made the most of its opportunity over the weekend.

The Hodags made the cut following the opening stage of team play and finished fifth overall of 25 teams at the WiHSBC tournament at Dale's Weston Lanes.

The Hodags were fourth following preliminary play, but lost a two-game match against Campbellsport 394-326 for the right to advance in the stepladder tournament.

"We end up in fifth. I'm proud of the kids," coach Mike Bourcier said. "It's as far as any Rhinelander team that I've coached has made it. It's an experience finishing fifth out of the 25 teams here. If you look at Division 2, I haven't added them up but there's probably 150 D2 teams and we finished fifth in the state. You've got to be proud of that."

The Hodags had a score of 2,798 pins (186.5 average) over the course of a 15-game baker series in Friday night's first wave of Division 2 team qualifying. That left the Hodags in third place following the opening wave and waiting for the results of Saturday morning's second and third waves to see if they were among the top five to make the semifinals.

Only one other team jumped ahead of the Hodags during that time. The team was on-call most of the afternoon so it could make the just more than one-hour drive down to Weston to bowl in Saturday night's semifinal.

"It makes it hard, especially when you have two games. It's anxiety because you don't know if you have made it," Bourcier said. "All the hype and everything played on the kids a little bit. It's another unique situation, just like any other sport."

The Hodags opened three of their first five frames in the first game of the semifinals while Campbellsport used a run of strikes to build a lead it would maintain through the two-game aggregate series.

"Their first three guys throw strikes. I think one was a nice strikes," Bourcier said. "The other two were sloppy hits but, hey, that's the game of bowling. I think the mental part of the game got a little behind and the other team had a little bit of luck factor, but we weren't throwing a good ball."

Rhinelander shot 155 in the first game and 171 in the second game. Cody Bednarz was the only member of the team to mark all four frames he bowled.

Campbellsport lost to Iola-Scandinavia in the third-place match. Tomah won the D2 title, defeating Iola-Scandinavia 406-338 in the championship match.

Coach Bourcier said the Hodags started hot during Friday night's qualifying, with a pair of 200-plus scores in the first four games, but then shot 124 in Game 5.

Bourcier and the team were left to ponder that game and a number of other missed opportunities as they waited to hear if they had advanced to the semifinals.

"We shoot a 124 and we had four or five nine-misses in a row in the middle," he said. "Right there, we should be sitting 2,900 easily. We must have missed at least a dozen if not more single pins. We easily had 20 marks out there, simple spares. That easily puts us 100-plus pins higher."

Individual stats were not kept during the team portion of the event, however coach Bourcier said senior Calvin Schneider, who struggled earlier in the day, shooting 460 to finish 96th in the boys' singles competition, bounced back in team play.

"Calvin brought it in the team event," coach Bourcier said. "He finished game 15 and struck out. He finished out his high school career with three beautiful shots in the 10th and we shot a 180 that last game.

"We'll miss Calvin. He's been bowling really well and this year shined."

Girls' individual results

In the individual portion of the state meet, Katrina Blasius and Mackenzie Bourcier - representing the Rhinelander/Elcho girls team - both missed the semifinal cutline by fewer than 20 pins. Blasius barely missed the cutline, which was the top 15 and ties. She shot 570 in a standard three-game series to finish 16th, missing the semifinals by three pins.

Coach Bourcier said it was bittersweet for Blasius, a junior, who stated her goal was to defeat defending state champion Brystal Beyer of Manawa. She was able to accomplish that as Beyer struggled to a 519, but was unable to make the semifinals.

"She beat Brystal, that was her goal," coach Bourcier said. "Brystal struggled, she only shot 519 or something like that. She was down because she missed another cut by 3 pins, but she was happy she beat her."

Mackenzie Bourcier, who qualified for the state semifinals a year ago as a sophomore, shot 557 to finish 20th and miss the cut by 16 pins.

Blasius shot games of 222, 167 and 181 in her three-game series while Mackenzie Bourcier shot 199, 157 and 201.

"Mackenzie missed three 7-pins in her (series). Two of them would have put her in the top (15) there," coach Bourcier said. "Katrina missed a couple of easy spares in Game 2. They both, Game 2 was their downfall. They both had good Game 1s and good Game 3s and struggled in Game 2."

Jeremy Mayo may be reached at

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