Live bowling on television, which has been a rarity this season, comes back next week with three days of competition in the PBA World Championship in Las Vegas.
It's the PBA's first-ever three-day, eight-bowler stepladder finals. Coverage is scheduled on ESPN2 from South Point Bowling Center.
Top qualifier Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., earned the right to select the PBA oil pattern to be used and he chose the Viper. O'Neill won the Pepsi Viper Championship in last fall's PBA World Series of Bowling at South Point.
According to the PBA: "The Viper is considered a medium to high-scoring condition that involves oiling the lane to a distance of 37 feet and allows for multiple angles of attack for those who can successfully read the changes in conditions as competitors break down the original application of oil."
The first match at 5 p.m. next Friday will have No. 8 Jason Belmonte, the two-handed style bowler from Australia, facing No. 7 Wes Malott. The winner will bowl No. 6 Michael Haugen Jr. in the second match.
Next Saturday at 9 p.m., Friday's winner will face Mika Koivuniemi. The winner of that one will face Chris Barnes.
In the wrapup show on Sunday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m., Saturday's winner will face No. 3 Osky Palermaa of Finland, another two-hander. That winner will face Sean Rash for the right to meet O'Neill for the championship.
Sunday, a special USA vs. The World Team Competition will be the PBA show (taped in November) at 1 p.m. on ESPN. Making up the U.S. team are Malott, Barnes, Haugen, O'Neil, Rash and Ronnie Russell. They will face an International squad with Amleto Monacelli (Venezuela), Belmonte, Palermaa, Koivuniemi, Kimmo Lehtonen of Finland and Dan MacLelland of Canada.
Kats on the prowl
Erie Community College teams competed in two events -- the Keystone Quaker Classic and the Nittany Lion Kegler Classic in Allentown, Pa. -- in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Sophomore Jenna Law finished third in the Keystone with 986 pins for a 197.2 average. The Kats finished sixth. On the men's side, ECC was 15th. Junior college powerhouse Vincennes University took the team title.
Alyssa Narkiewicz (Niagara Falls) led the ECC women with a 21st-place finish (913 for five games) in the Nittany Lion Kegler. The ECC women finished 13th among 15 teams. David Zajac (Niagara Falls) took 35th with a 245-1,013 for the ECC men, who were 17th among 46 teams.
Next for ECC is the Hawk Invitational next Sunday in Utica.
*Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga stood in fourth place with 5,882 pins (217.85 average) after three of the four rounds (27 games) in the USBC Team USA Trials in Henderson, Nev. After shooting 2,011 in the third round, Johnson was only 49 pins behind the leader, Brenda Padilla of Mansfield, Texas, with nine games to bowl. Brittni Hamilton of Rochester was third with 5,887.
On the men's side, Michael Fagan was in first with 6,119. PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams was fourth. John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda was in 19th with a 5,746 total (212.81 average).
The top three finishers among the men and women earn places on Team USA while a selection committee will pick two additional men and women for the team.
*Turns out we were incorrect in stating in last week's column that there may not be another U.S. Women's Open tournament held in the foreseeable future. There is actually one scheduled this year, but not sponsored by the USBC. The Bowling Proprietors Association of America event will be held in Euless, Texas, June 24-30.
*Jamestown Bowling Company will hold a one-day, four-man team tournament on Sunday, Jan. 16, with squads at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Entry is $120 per team. There will be an optional singles at $10 per man. Call Jim Mee at 483-1818 or 499-9394 for information or to sign up.
*Veteran coach Steve Lawson of Mahomet, Ill., was named the winner of this year's Kerm Helmer Horizon Award by the USBC. The award is named in honor of the late ECC coach.