To watch someone “run” both sides of a match play tournament is pretty special. I have witnessed several people attempt this feat, and the most recent was Karie Kreutz at the Coca Cola Classic in Regina. Unfortunately winning both sides fell short by one match, but he did manage to beat local Jeff Hiibner in the finals to earn his first Major Cash Victory.
A quiet fellow, but with a big heart and a total genuine attitude, Karie is becoming one of the staples of making the cuts at big tournaments. His bowling style is mostly power but with great precision. Get him on a roll and watch out, he is going to start throwing “bombs” and keep them running!
I recently caught up with Karie and picked his brain about the victory.
Did you practice leading up to the tournament / how much?
Yes I did, for 1 1/2hrs once a week for 4 weeks leading up to the tournament.
After qualifying in the top 31, how did you feel? Were you confident or were you simply just happy to make it?
I was fairly happy with my bowling that Friday.
During Sunday, did you ever feel yourself tighten up and feel the pressure?
I felt the pressure against Jordan Schuss, he was a young bowler that people were talking about. I struggled a bit off the start but with all the B.C. People cheering for him behind me it actually helped me concentrate and fueled my need to prove myself against the young opponent.
Whowas your toughest match?
My toughest match was against Geno Ziebarth. It wasn't the game that was tough it was the mental block I had with Geno. He was the guy I looked up to coming through YBC and a friend that I have competed along side for 7 years. Plus the last time we met against each other in a big tournament was the TPC in Callingwood where I faced him in the “B” Final and he pretty much demolished me.
In Regina, the first 6 frames I missed the middle5 times, spared 4 of them, and had a headpin. Not a great start considering this was the 8's on the “B” side against Geno. So I went and grabbed something to drink and focused on my shot and came back only to lose that game by one, I took control of the match through the next 2 games and felt a huge weight lifted off my chest as I had just beat one of the very best the game has to offer.
Was there 1 person(s) that helped you or said something inspiring or followed you throughout the day?
My wife Julie stayed back in Alberta. I kept in contact with her after every game, texting her how the matches were going and she kept encouraging me and not letting me get down on myself.
Greg Gigiluk also was a big part of my game being sharp on the weekend, he knows my shot pretty good and he would throw me some reminders when I was getting stubborn and throwing shots away.
Did you need to adjust at any point?
Just my focus.
Did you take into consideration what you were wearing?
If you saw the picture, I did not. My shirt collar was all bent out of shape and I was the only one wearing a hat.
What did you eat / drink on Sunday?
Bacon & Eggs, half a piece of pizza, 2 powerades and a bunch of beer afterwards.
At what point, did you know that this was going to be your day?
4th frame of the last game against Jeff Hiibner.
Simply put, why did you win?
Calm and steady, stayed within myself and made sure I put the ball in a good spot.
What tournament have you won before, and did you draw from that experience as the day was progressing?
I won the Central Alberta Open where I threw the perfect game and that had a huge impact on the way I kept my calm late in the day.
What will you do with the money?
Already spent, we just built a house last year so the money is well spent.
Congratulations Karie, that is a well deserved win, and I wish you all the best in future events. Just not the Open, especially when I am playing or coaching against you! If you don’t mind, I would now like to ask you some generic questions.
At what age did you start bowling?
Did you play YBC?
Yes, I did. Not sure what my averages were early but I do remember my last 3 years of YBC was 239 across the board.
How many league games do you currently play per week?
Just 4 Games.
What is the highest number of leagues you've ever played at one time?
3 leagues. I played three leagues while I was in YBC, all on Monday night. I played Monday YBC after school, then bowled the Monday Scratch and finished off with Monday Jackpot. So all in all I played 10 games from 4 pm. To 10:30 pm.
What is your current average?
I thinks it is 252.
What is/was your highest EVER league average?
At what stage(s) of your development did your average drastically improve, and what lead to the significant change?
The big change came when I took the Masters technical course. My average jumped probably 12 pins that year.
In your prime, did you normally practice each week?
Since I'm in my prime. I have to say I didn't at all really until after the Open trials this year where I really struggled all weekend. I was frustrated with my shot because it seemed dead. So I decided to head down to the local bowling centre and practice a bit. I practiced hitting my spot once a week for a month, about an hour and a half each time up until Regina, and well I guess it payed off.
What practice methods/drills do you use?
Just mostly hitting my pocket and the release. I don't practice corners too much unless I'm on a surface I'm not comfortable with, such as a fast approach or a really sticky one.
How many "sets" of balls do you own?
Well that's a tricky question, I actually only own one set but have 5 single balls.
1 set of Hardballs, single Softroll, Solid Paramount, Urethane, Starline, Scorpion.
How many would you normally take to a tournament?
I take 4 single ones, the Softroll, Paramount, Harball, and the Urethane.
What is/was your favorite event to compete in, and why?
Masters is my favorite because all the pressure is on your shoulders to make the provincial team against most of the best bowlers in the province and then you get to compete with them against most of the best players from the rest of the country.
What is/was your favorite bowling centre(s), and why? My favorite bowling centre is Heritage Lanes in Red Deer, the reason is I enjoy the atmosphere and the competitors there.
Which conditions/environments do you prefer?
I enjoy string just because I have never played on free-fall. I like wood but the consistency of synthetic I enjoy more.
If you are throwing the ball consistently and are punching HEADPINS in bunches, how would you normally adjust?
Simple, either forward or backwards for me. Give the ball less time to move or just a little more is my motto.
What is your proudest moment in bowling?
That would be winning Masters Nationals in Saskatoon for a team GOLD. The energy was crazy and plenty of good matches.
What is your have a "most embarrassing" moment?
I doubt he will remember this but it was my first Masters tryout and I was just practicing the 15 minutes before it begins. I was nervous as it's my first year in adult competition and I was meeting the names in the game for the first time. So here is Bruce Morter and Lynn Howell just chillin' on the bench chatting it up, and I'm on the lane probably throwing 2 pins because I'm so nervous. I go and talk to a couple friends that I knew from YBC and then go back on the lane and decide I was going to throw as hard as I could and get some of the jitters out. I end up landing smack on my face cause I forget to take off my slider cover in front of Lynn Howell! Are you kidding me, thank god Bruce had moved to another lane or else it would have been twice as embarrassing.
Growing up, what mentors or idols (if any) did you have? And how did they influence you?
My obvious one is Geno Ziebarth, he is one of the biggest reasons I am where I am today in the game of bowling.
My mentors are my parents, they allowed and encouraged me to play sports and not just any sports, the ones I cared about the most. Without them and their support I would not have been half the athlete I am.
What current players do you enjoy watching, and why?
I enjoy watching Mark Johnstone, Matt Schultz, Adam Weber, Bruce Morter, Geno Ziebarth, Greg Gigiluk and plenty more sorry there is just way too many to name, and the reason is because they all make the game exciting.
What positives do you see with the current "state" of the game?
The youth is a positive and the “veterans” that encourage the youth are the big positives and that's what our game relies on.
What, if anything, really concerns you about our game?
The lack of public support for the game. I've played in many sports at all levels and I have yet to find a sport that has this many good hearted people in it and it astounds me how big companies just over look it.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I obviously enjoy playing baseball and golf. Go Blue Jays Go!
And finally, what advice would you give to a bowler who's looking to improve their game?
As cliché as this is “practice makes perfect”.
Masters Teams 2 Nationals, 1 Gold.
Single (450) – Twice, once in Open Qualifying and once in the Masters
Best Triple (1117)
8 game (2278)
10 Games (2852)
Tournament Wins 2 Provincial Masters, 1 Central Open, Bowler of the Year National and The Coca Cola Classic
YBC performance 6 years straight Youth Challenge Provincials.
Previous Coaches Geno Ziebarth, Greg Gigiluk, Lynn Howell, Robert Gallaugher and many others.