A nice comeback story is developing in the Racine County Bowling Classic.
Joe Thoennes, who didn’t bowl in last year’s tournament because a torn Achilles tendon, roared back into action and passed previous Men’s Division leader Cotie Holbek Friday to finish as the top men’s qualifier.
The top bowlers held their spots in the Senior and Women’s divisions on the fifth and final day of qualifying at Old Settler’s Bowling Center in Union Grove.
Thoennes picked up steam as the night went on and totaled 2,033 pins to pass Holbek (1,995) by 38 pins. Thoennes’ worst game of the night, a 224, came in his first game of the night and he peaked in game four with a 279. He averaged 254.1.
Thoennes, who won the Hope Safehouse Match Game Tournament men’s title in 2007, missed most of last year’s bowling season after surgery to repair the torn tendon and the surgery was obviously a success.
Brandon Lipari was on pace for a big night as well in the Men’s Division, but shot a 166 in his final game and qualified fourth at 1,880. Lipari, the leading men’s qualifier in the inaugural County Classic in 2017, averaged 245 in his first seven games before the dropoff.
Joe Crocco, who won two titles in the Hope Safehouse tournament, including the Senior Men’s title in the final tournament in 2017, was the only bowler to qualify in the Senior Division. He shot 1,721 to move into sixth place despite a 150 in his fifth game.
Georgette Albert was one of just two women to try and qualify in the Senior Division, and she held on to earn the 12th and final spot in the division. Her total of 1,632 was five pins ahead of No. 13 Scott Surdyk.
In the Women’s Division, Danielle Gename shot 1,523 and earned the sixth and final spot in the division, ahead of Melissa Jaeck (1,494). She had a somewhat erratic night, at one point going from a 235 game to a 141 to a 223.
The top six women, 12 seniors and 16 men advanced to the match play finals. The Men’s and Senior divisions feature a stepladder final for the top four bowlers after match play.
The tournament continues with the first round of the Senior Division match-play finals at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Senior Division final concludes on Friday, May 17; the Women’s final is Thursday, May 16; and the Men’s finals are Wednesday, May 15 and Saturday, May 18. First prize in the Men’s Division is $750.
All spectators for the Men’s final on Saturday will receive one free raffle ticket. The raffle prize is a Lenovo laptop.