by Dennis Dalman
Two days after Christmas, three ninth-grade boys from Sartell helped break a record for continuous basketball spinning in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The boys are Trysten Bommersbach, son of Sheri and Tim Bommersbach; Alex Braun; son of Carrie and Craig Braun; and Cole Zunker, son of Jeanna and Mike Zunker. All three are long-time friends and all love playing basketball for the ninth-grade Sartell Sabres team.
Along with 181 participants, the boys each spun a basketball on one finger for at least one minute. The previous record was achieved by 104 “spinners” in the United Kingdom, who all managed to spin basketballs simultaneously for only 30 seconds.
The dazzling, dizzying feat took place Dec. 27 at Alexandria High School. Of the 181 participants, 133 of them succeeded in keeping their basketballs spinning for a least one minute. The results will be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for official certification, which will be announced in 60-90 days.
Weeks ago, Cole’s mother, Jeanna, heard from her father, Dick Wagner, about the upcoming attempt to break the world’s record. He had heard about it on an Alexandria radio station. Dick and his wife, Linda, live in Millerville, a small town northwest of Alexandria where Jeanna was raised. It would be neat, Dick told Jeanna, if Cole isn’t too busy and could take part in the ball-spinning event. Jeanna agreed. She Googled “Alexandria Aces,” the group sponsoring the attempt and signed Cole up online.
Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Alexandria Aces is a team of boys and girls ages 5-12 who have wowed audiences year after year with their amazing basketball “tricks.” They perform half-time shows far and wide that include mind-boggling feats, such as an 11-year-old girl spinning 12 basketballs at once and a 5-year-old boy spinning two basketballs on top of a five-person human pyramid. The group has delighted crowds at games of the NBA and NCAA and via major TV networks. They have been seen by more than an estimated three million people.
Jeanna knew Cole would be a shoo-in for such an event because he was adept at spinning a basketball on one finger since he was a wee kid. On Dec. 27, she drove the three boys to Alexandria. Also present at the show were Cole’s sister, 8-year-old Hailey, and Jeanna’s parents. A flurry of activity preceded the spinning event, including an appearance by the Timberwolves and the Alexandria Cardinals.
Cole admits he was nervous on the gym floor when all the spinning began, fearing he just might drop the ball.
“There was a big crowd, and some of the people around me were dropping their basketballs,” he said, “so I was nervous about dropping mine.”
But he didn’t. Perched upon Cole’s right index finger, the ball kept spinning and spinning and spinning and . . . He spun the ball twice – in two non-stop one-minute intervals. Trysten and Alex didn’t drop theirs either.
When it was obvious the Guinness record had been broken, the crowd cheered.
“My finger was sore afterward,” Cole recalled.
After high school, Cole intends to go to college and definitely play basketball. His favorite subject is English, but he is not sure yet what he will study. But in the meantime, he and his buddies have plenty of time to enjoy playing basketball – and spinning them.