Brad Angelo of Lockport is the only Western New York bowler to make it to match play in the PBA Shark Championship. However, Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga and Liz Johnson did qualify on Wednesday for next week's match play in the Chameleon Championship.
Angelo shot five-game blocks of 1,167 and 1,223 for a 2,390 on Thursday. He had a 267, 259 and two 258 games in his qualifying rounds.
A 300 game by Johnson, who now plays out of Palatine, Ill., didn't get her into the top 16. Liz finished tied for 21st despite averaging 235.70 for 10 games. The 300 started her second five-game block on Thursday.
PBA Shark at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., is one of the four animal pattern events that lead up to the PBA World Championship, the feature event of the PBA World Series of Bowling going on over a two-week period in Reno.
The qualifying leader in the Shark was Japan's Shota Kawazoe. Foreign players no longer are rare on the PBA Tour, but Kawazoe is a new face. Early on it was Amleto Monacelli of Venezuela, who arrived in the late '80s. Then Mika Koivuniemi of Finland in the late '90s. Now foreign-born players are no longer a rarity or curiosity in professional bowling, which is striving to become a world-wide operation like professional golf.
Jason Belmonte, the two-handed stylist from Australia, has dominated the sports in recent seasons, winning majors and capturing Player of the Year honors. Dominic Barrett and Stuart Williams of England, Osku Palermaa of Finland, Jesper Svensson and Martin Laarsen of Sweden are some of the foreign players who have made their mark recently on the U.S. tour.
Kawazoe, 28, is one of Japan's premiere pros and a national bowling hero in his homeland. A bowling center head pro, Kawazoe earned fame in Japan for bowling consecutive 300 games on television. He finished second to E.J. Tackett in the DHC PBA Japan Invitational last January despite out-averaging (246.6) the field by 20 pins. That field included the usual 16 invited American pros.
Kawazoe averaged 242.8 in his 10 games of qualifying for the Shark and will lead the field of 16 who made the cut into match play next week. Matches will be best-of-five leading to the finals. After Kawazoe in the Shark is Glenn Pedersen of Norway. Martin Larsen is in the top five.
The Japanese star has carefully charted his route to the World Championship. He's spent half of the last year in the U.S. bowling in PBA Regional and Xtra Frame PBA Tour events.
In the Chameleon Championship, Ciminelli was fifth with 2,361 for 10 games. Liz tied for 12th with 2,329. Angelo finished 41st (2,241) and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda was 45th with 2,235.
Tom Smallwood, the auto worker from Saginaw, Mich., who gained national fame by winning the 2009 World Championship for his first Tour victory, led the Chameleon, qualifying with 2,439.
The 40 games of qualifying scores from the Chameleon, Shark and the upcoming Cheetah and Scorpion combined determine the field for the World Championship, the finals of which will be Nov. 19 and shown live on ESPN3. and later taped on ESPN.
Johnson is 10th (4,686), Ciminelli is 16th (4,670), Angelo 18th (4,631) and Szczerbinski 104th (4,306) in the standings for the PBA World Championship. The top 25 percent advance to the World Championship cashers' round next week. The Cheetah and Scorpion qualifying are this weekend.
The local collegiate bowling scene, on the women's side, is more active than it's been in years. Medaille and Daemen are leading the way along with Hilbert.
Medaille went 9-1 in two days of Baker team matches at Classic Lanes in the Town of Tonawanda to win its own tournament last weekend. Daemen was second with a 7-3 record. Medaille's only loss came in a split of matches with Roberts Wesleyan.
The Mavericks began their season in the Kutztown Fall Invitational in Pennsylvania, going 4-6. In late October, Medaille won dual-matches against Pitt-Bradford, 2-1, and Thiel, 2-0.
This weekend, Medaille will compete in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Round Robin No. 1 in Altoona, Pa. with seven Baker matches. Hilbert, coached by Dan Darnley, will join the other six AMCC bowling schools for the round robin.
Elizabeth Minnard leads the Medaille team with a 179.5 average. Kasey Kosier has a 176.7 mark. Laura Edholm is the Medaille coach, assisted by Jeff Walsh.
Freshman Katlyn Newberry of Rochester paced Daemen last weekend with a 17.89 pins-per-frame average. Katie Good (Hamburg) was next with 16.16. Alex Syrotynski had a team high Baker average of 234 in the 10 tournament matches.
David Zajac is coach of Daemen, assisted by Marion Singleton.
Erie Community College's men's and women's team gets started today in the Fulton-Montgomery CC Baker Tournament in Johnstown followed by The Royals Open in Schenectady on Sunday.