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Bowled over -- Meyers sets new city record with 867 series

Mitch Meyers has been bowling since he was five years old, and after watching him bowl for only a few moments, it is easy to see he has the physical skill needed to be successful. But according to Meyers, it is mental focus that counts most when ...

Mitch Meyers has been bowling since he was five years old, and after watching him bowl for only a few moments, it is easy to see he has the physical skill needed to be successful. But according to Meyers, it is mental focus that counts most when it comes to bowling.

"I'd say out of 100 percent, 90 percent is all in your head," Meyers said. "You can have good technique and have good equipment and all that stuff, but if you're not in control it your head it's pretty tough. It's a mind game."

And lately, it's a mind game that Meyers has been winning easily.

On Friday, Sept. 29 Meyers bowled a 867 series in the Miller Commercial League at Landmark Lanes, breaking the previous Superior bowling record of 845, which was set by Pat Erickson in 1995, also at Landmark Lanes.

Before his record-setting series, the best series Meyers had bowled was an 814 he threw while still playing in the junior league at Landmark Lanes. Meyers bowled games of 269, 298 and 300 to get his 867 series.

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"The 300 wasn't new, but the 867 was," Meyers said. "I don't know if I usually get better every time like that. I know I was just (trying to) have fun and not really think about it. If you think about it you're going to mess up."

As with many other sports, Meyers said in bowling, sometimes a bowler just can't miss.

"You know when you're on," Meyers said. "You throw your first game and you do good, second game and you do good, the third game you know is going to be good."

Looking at the oil patterns, Meyers said his oil was holding up and he knew he didn't have to move his feet at all. When it came time for him to bowl the third game of his series, he knew he would do well ... as long as he won the mind game.

"I knew it was pretty good," Meyers said. "All I had to do was keep my head in the game and not get nervous."

Meyers said he kept his cool fairly well during his record series, but near the end of the final game he was completely free of nervousness. After throwing a strike in the ninth frame of the third game, Meyers needed three strikes more for a perfect 300 and the record.

"I knew I could get a 300 and break the record," Meyers said. "I was pretty sure I could."

After thinking about the moment a little longer, Meyers admitted he wasn't exactly a picture of confidence as he went for his final strike.

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"I was kind of nervous, I guess. That 12th ball was really nerve wracking," he said. "I just threw it and when I let go of the ball I kind of started running because I didn't know if I was going to get it or not. And I got it and it was exciting."

Also on hand to see Meyer's record series and share in his excitement was his 24-year-old brother, Matt.

"I was super excited, but my brother was even more excited than I was," Meyers said, adding that Matt Meyers even became somewhat emotional. "That really surprised me because he never gets emotional. It was touching."

Matt Meyers actually had the second highest series score on Sept. 29 with a 700 series, to give the brothers a 1-2 finish in the Miller Commercial League that night. Claiming the top two spots was a nice treat for the brothers, but Mitch Meyers said it wasn't the first time it had happened.

"It happens all the time," Meyers said. "We bowl in leagues together, not on the same team in any leagues, but usually he beats me or I beat him. Last Saturday (Oct. 6) he beat me."

The siblings do compete with each other when bowling, but only in a friendly way, according to Meyers.

"He'll come over when were done and go 'What'd you have?' and I'll tell him what I had and he'll go 'Oh, I beat you by 20 pins.' Stuff like that. And then he brags about it, or I'll brag about it."

According to Mitch Meyers, bowling is something his whole family takes part in. All of his siblings, as well as his mother and father are avid bowlers.

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"I first started bowling actually in this place here," Meyers said of Landmark Lanes. "When I was five, my mom and dad introduced me to bowling, and that's how I started. Back when I was in high school I used to come in like every day after school and practice."

Practicing regularly is part of what Meyers feels made him a successful bowler. He said the sport always came naturally to him, but the coaches, family and friends who have given him tips and helped him over the years helped him develop his game.

"I'd like to thank my dad," Meyers said. "He's always brought me to tournaments. We went to Florida a couple of times and he brought me there. He drove there both times just for me.

"Carl Mencel, he's an owner of the bowling alley here, he's been a lot of help, letting me come here. I used to work here and he let me bowl for free. He always helped me out, always kept me in the game. I bowled on the high school team in high school and he was the coach of that."

Aside from practicing, Meyers said bowlers need to approach the sport with the correct mindset to do well.

"When you're bowling, you've just got to have fun," he said. "If you're not having fun, you're not going to bowl good at all. If you're not having fun, that's basically it."

When a bowler throws an impressive and potentially record-setting series, the bowler needs to send his or her ball away to be tested. The numbers on the ball have to be checked to prove the ball hasn't been used too many times, the balance needs to be examined and the lanes are check as well.

The process is complicated, but Meyers ball came back passing inspection, as he knew it would.

"My ball's still got all the numbers on it; I know it's legal," he said. "I don't really think you can cheat in bowling myself. It's not the ball, it's the bowler."

As for what may be next in line for Meyers, he's at a loss.

"It's weird because, honest to God, I don't really know what else I can shoot for," Meyers said. "The only thing I have not accomplished yet is (winning) the Shack Super Bowl."

In the Super Bowl event, the top 30 bowlers from Superior compete by bowling six games. Meyers placed sixth last year but has never won. The event will take place on Feb. 2 this season.

"That's the only thing I don't really have," Meyers said. "I got Bowler of the Year last year, I made the All-Star team and we won, a 900 series would be impossible I think. I don't know if I could do that."

Meyers paused to contemplated the idea and then shrugged.

"Well I had a 298 and 300, so I was pretty close I guess," he said. "It could happen, you never know. I'm only 20, so I've got lots of years left."

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