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TOURNEY SEASON HEATS UP

League bowling for the 2004-05 season is wrapping up in Western New York but the championship competition is just heating up. For the next 2 1/2 months the various men's, women's and youth championships on the local, state and national levels will take over the amateur bowling scene.

Today, the 34th annual New York State Queens championship will be decided at Transit Lanes in Williamsville.

"We have 165 of the best women bowlers in the state," said Nancy Walczyk of the New York State Bowling Association, which is based in Orchard Park.

The New York State Queens is held in conjunction with the state women's championships, which began Friday night in Airport Lanes. The NYSWBA competition will continue each weekend until May 22 with an estimated 6,000 bowlers coming to the Buffalo area. There are 936 four- and five-member teams.

The Queens tournament will get under way this morning with a five-game qualifying round. One squad will go off at 11 a.m. and the second at 2 p.m. The field then will be cut to the top 24 for another three-game semifinal rolloff. The five top qualifiers will engage in a stepladder final to determine the champion. Finals are expected to start about 6 p.m.

There are two divisions, one for 185-and-over averages and one for 184-under. Top prize is $700 for Division I and $400 in Division II.

Defending champion is Sue Jeziorski-Smith of Tonawanda, who averaged 242 in winning four matches on her way to the title at Ideal lanes in Endicott a year ago. She defeated Traci Spanitz of Rochester, 258-213, in the final match to earn the $700 top prize.

Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, who has been perhaps the No. 1 newsmaker this season in all of bowling because of her breakthroughs in PBA events, is entered in the Queens.

Jeziorski-Smith and her AMF TNT teammates are defending NYSWBA champions in the five-man team divisions. The SSPC team of Buffalo won the four-man team division last year. Kathleen McNeil of Buffalo won the all-events title in 2004. Jeziorski-Smith was fifth. Patricia Cacioppo of Nassau County is the reigning singles champion.

ECC heads for Rockford

The Erie Community College men's and women's teams will head for the Cherry Bowl in Rockford, Ill., next week for the Intercollegiate Bowling Championships, a USBC event. Led by Ryan Ciminelli (Cheektowaga), the ECC men finished second in the sectional qualifier last month in Allentown, Pa., while the women were fourth.

The IBC is the pinnacle event of the college bowling season bringing together the top 16 men's and top 16 women's teams in the country to compete for national titles.

ECC has four IBC titles in its history, two by the men in 1986 and 1988 and two by the women in 1980 and 1982. Kansas is the defending men's champion and Pikeville (Ky.) is defending the women's crown.

Ciminelli won the singles in Allentown with a 1,459 for six games (243.7 average) and claimed one of the four spots in the national singles event.

Pin chasers

Spare Time maintained a 10-point lead over second-place Southgate in the BPA Buffalo Beverage Miller Lite All-Stars traveling league with a 21-12 win over Tonawanda last week at Kenmore Lanes. Southgate, a 25-8 winner over Broadway, is second while Recckio's and Ideal are tied for third, 13 1/2 points back. The All-Stars head for Orchard Park Lanes today with a 2 p.m. start.

The Erie County UABA annual meeting scheduled for Monday at Rose Bowl has been canceled until further notice.

With the end of the regular PBA Tour schedule, Tom Baker of Buffalo is entered in the PBA Senior Tour opener, the Empire State Open at the Bowlers Club in Latham, starting Sunday. The finals are Wednesday.

Even though neither won a PBA Tour title this season, Brad Angelo of Lockport and Baker finished in the top 10 in average for the season. Angelo was eighth at 222.61 while Baker was 10th at 221.59.
e-mail: mnorthrop@buffnews.com

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