Szczerbinski, Ciminelli keep WNY on the bowling map - The Buffalo News

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Szczerbinski, Ciminelli keep WNY on the bowling map

By Milt Northrop


Jack Jurek spends part of his time on the PBA50 Tour, for senior players. Same with Tom Baker. Joe Ciccone is more involved these days in the tour’s television production. Injury has Brad Angelo’s competitive career on hold. Liz Johnson keeps active with Team USA but did not enter recent tour events.

Two bowlers in their 20s, Ryan Ciminelli and John Szczerbinski, promise to keep the region’s imprint firmly on what’s left of the Professional Bowlers Association tour.

No bowler enjoyed more success than Ciminelli in the PBA World Series of Bowling V, completed earlier this month in Las Vegas. That series was completed over a one-week period and was taped for showing on the Sunday series of PBA Tour telecasts on ESPN.

Ciminelli ended the week with one title and a runner-up finish.

After leading the qualifying and gaining the No. 1 position for the stepladder final, Ciminelli suffered a heart-breaking loss to Chris Barnes in the PBA Viper Championship. It was a match he led all the way until he drew the 7-10 split in the 10th frame and Barnes doubled to take the title.

Two hours later, Ciminelli bowled in the Chameleon Championship final. This time he had to get to the title match the hard way, by climbing the stepladder from the No. 3 position. The left-hander from Cheektowaga left no doubt in any of the matches, smoking the opposition in all three.

First, he defeated Tom Smallwood, 255-197, starting with three strikes and stringing five more in the middle of the game.

Next it was Brian Kretzer who fell, 235-197. Ciminelli took command of the game with a four- bagger starting in the third frame.

Dom Barrett of England was the top qualifier. Ciminelli defeated him, 258-203, starting with three strikes and, after Barrett closed to within two pins in the fifth frame, finishing him off with five strikes in a row starting in the seventh.

The win was worth $20,000 for Ciminelli to go with the $9,500 he collected for his Viper finish. That’s more than the $24,853.38 he earned in 18 tour events in the entire 2012-13 tour season.

Next for Ciminelli will be his second appearance in the Japan Cup in Tokyo starting Nov. 27.

The Chameleon title was the second on tour for Ciminelli. He won the One-A-Day Earl Anthony Memorial in Medford, Ore., in 2010.

In seven years on tour, Ciminelli has nine top four finishes – three second places, three third places and one fourth in addition to the two titles. Going into this season, his PBA Tour earnings were $227,098.38.

Ciminelli’s finals matches won’t be shown on ESPN until next month – The Viper on Dec. 8 and the Chameleon on Dec. 15. Viewers of all the animal pattern finals will benefit from a new feature. A blue dye was added to the lane condition oils for the telecasts so viewers will be able to see the oil patterns on the lanes.

The dyed oil is not a product on the market and is being used only for the World Series of Bowling TV shows.

North Tonawanda’s Szczerbinski didn’t fare as well as Ciminelli in the World Series, but he soon will step into the spotlight when he competes for the U.S. in the 49th World Cup in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, starting on Monday. All rounds will be streamed live on’s BowlTV.

It’s the second World Cup for the former Wichita State bowler. He competed in the World Cup in 2010 in Toulon, France, and ended up fifth, missing the stepladder finals by just 139 pins.

“The first one in Toulon didn’t go as planned,” Szczerbinski said. “I have a great opportunity at hand to put forth what I learned from the experiences I’ve had.”

The World Cup format includes four six-game qualifying blocks over four days. The field is then cut to the top 24 men and top 24 women for eight additional games to determine the top eight for round-robin match play. After match play, the top three men and top three women advance to the stepladder finals.

Szczerbinski and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point earned the right to compete in the World Cup by winning the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials in January.

Kent on Hall ballot

Four time USBC Open Championship titlists John Gaines of Orlando, Fla., and Dale Traber of Cedarburg, Wis., in the Outstanding Performance category, and the late Woody Woodruff of Long Island, a longtime AMF executive, will be inducted into the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame.

Of more interest in upstate bowling circles is that Doug Kent of Newark is one of six bowlers who will be on the Superior Performance national ballot to be voted on by a panel of USBC Hall of Fame members, board members and veteran bowling writers. The others are: Steve Cook, Granite Bay, Calif.; David Ozio, Beaumont, Texas; Danny Wiseman, Baltimore; Larry Laub, Lincoln, Calif.; and Randy Pedersen of Clermont, Fla. There are no candidates on the women’s side for 2014.

The induction will take place April 24 at the 2014 USBC Convention in Reno, Nev.

Pin chasers

On this weekend’s local schedule:

• The Greater Buffalo USBC Association’s 46th annual Youth Family Tournament is today and Sunday at Orchard Park Lanes.

• Frank and Doris Coburn, Cindy Coburn-Carroll, Bill Truman and Glenn Snyder will be inducted into the Tonawandas USBC Association Hall of Fame at Classics V on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst tonight.


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