In recent years Nikki Lewandowski and Kira Kiebzak have stepped up to the head table at the Bowling Proprietors Association of Western New York's annual awards dinner to receive medals for their tournament performances.
On June 11 at Salavtore's Italian Gardens, Lewandowski and Kiebzak will be honored again at the banquet but this time it will be as winners of $1,000 college scholarships, recognizing their academic accomplishments and citizenship as well as their bowling skills.
Lewandowski, a senior at Buffalo's City Honors School, has consistently exceeded 4.0 in a weighted grade point average for four years, reaching 4.8 as a junior. She recorded 690 in the math section of the SAT scores and 680 in the verbal.
In a partnership between City Honors and Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the school annually receives research positions for freshmen to begin a four-year program. "The project is similar to work graduate students do," Lewandowski said. "We work in the lab after school, two days a week. We do independent studies on Friday, all day, during school hours, sometimes up to 5-6 o'clock.
"We work during the summer, on vacation breaks, on school half days. It's almost full time. We're not just watching but doing actual research and we have our own projects."
The payoff came in September 2001 when Lewandowski had an article published in the Journal of Immunology.
"To be accepted (and published) in the science field as a high school student was a lot of fun," she said.
Lewandowski's career goals have ranged from research scientist to lawyer, to doctor. She will begin the University at Buffalo's honors program this year with a dual major in biology and chemistry, minoring in philosophy, all leading to medical school.
In the classroom, Lewandowski could have up to 11 science credits at graduation and 21 credits for Advanced Placement studies and the International Baccalaureate program.
A six-year varsity bowler, Lewandowski fought for the right to compete on the varsity as a seventh grader, taking her case to the superintendent's office -- and winning it.
As a junior she was a member of Section VI's state champion girls section team. In national competition Lewandowski was the first girl to reach the finals of the Teen Masters and she placed 31st in the National Amateur Championships. She has two 300 games and an 801 high series.
In the role of adviser to prospective City Honors students, Lewandowski tells them: "You can (achieve) anything you want at City Honors or life; you just have to sleep less."
"I've learned to live on four hours or less a night," she said.
Kiebzak has creative side
Kiebzak, who lives in Sloan, scored 630 on her math SAT and 520 on the verbal. She easily ranks in the top fifth of the senior class at St. Mary's High School in Lancaster. On a 4.0 grade point average she has never been lower than 3.74.
Her career goals have also changed and she will attend Canisius College, majoring in advertising and communications with expectations of going into public relations.
"I wanted to be a psychologist but changed (to advertising) because there's more creativity in it," Kiebzak said.
On the creative side, Kiebzak has been in the school plays and musicals since her freshman year, taking the lead roles in the musical "Guys and Dolls," and in Arthur Miller's drama "The Crucible."
Kiebzak stands to benefit from $40,000 worth of scholarships from Canisius ($10,000 for each of four years) and she has amassed approximately $5,000 from bowling tournaments. Her AP courses have included history, American government, comparative government and calculus. She was class president as a freshman, sophomore and senior and vice president of the National Honor Society this year.
As a four-year varsity bowler in the Msgr. Martin Association, each year Kiebzak was named to the All-Catholic First Team, named the league's most valuable bowler and won the league's high average award. Her 713 series last November is a league record for girls. Her senior year average was 189 with a 258 high game.
For her top accomplishments in bowling, Kiebzak puts making the 2001 National Junior Gold tournament in Reno and 2002 tournament in Lakeland/Winter Haven, Fla., at the top of the list; each led to a family vacation. She finished in the upper half of the field in Reno and upper third in Florida.
Kiebzak's other honors include an award for outstanding performance at the 2002 Model United Nations and academic commendations in French, chemistry, AP American history and math. She has been nominated for St. Mary's Marian Award for leadership and school spirit.
Lewandowski is also a winner of the New York State Women's Bowling Association $1,000 Mary Smack Scholarship. Smack was a 1990 NYSWBA Hall of Fame inductee.
Other area winners are Courtney Ivett, Tina Jasinski and Michelle Rulli.
Ivett's $1,000 award is sponsored by the Glens Falls WBA. She ranks eighth in her class of 61 at Pine Valley Central with a grade point average of 93.1. Jasinski won the $1,000 C.P. Kai Deylii Memorial Scholarship and ranks 15th in the class of 154 at Dunkirk with a GPA of 94.11. Rulli, ranked 25th in the class of 482 at Niagara Falls, received the $500 Clara and Millie Hunt Memorial Scholarship.
Around the lanes
The Amateur Bowlers Association has a handicap tournament Sunday at Lancaster Lanes with the first squad at 9 a.m. . . . The state Women's 600 Club holds its 36th annual tournament and meeting next week with bowling Thursday through Saturday at Lancaster and the meeting Sunday at the Four Points Sheraton. . . . Qualifying for the Empire State Games in the men's and women's open divisions will be held at Brockport Bowl on June 7 at 1 p.m. and June 8 at noon.
Norm Warner can be reached at 652-3505 or e-mail: email@example.com