This hasn't been a vintage year for bowling at Erie Community College but the Kats are proving at this weekend's National Junior College Athletic Association championships that they aren't exactly toothless.
Led by a first-place finish in doubles by Amanda Fogarty and Kristen Nielsen, the ECC women's team owned the lead after the first day of competition at AMF Thruway Lanes on Friday. The tournament wraps up with the completion of team competition today at Lancaster Lanes.
Fogarty (551) and Nielsen (558) teamed up for an 1,109 total. Fogarty's 233 in the opening game helped created a 24-pin margin over the second-place team.
ECC is leading the women's team standings by a comfortable margin, 2,748 to 2,579, over second-place Hudson Valley CC and seems in good position to defend the title the Lady Kats won last year.
Vincennes (Ind.) University is dominating the men's team competition and probably will unseat ECC as national champion. Vincennes owns a 150-pin advantage over the second-place Kats, who are 89 pins in front of third-place Mohawk Valley. Either ECC or Vincennes has won the last 24 NJCAA men's team titles, 12 each.
The highlight of Friday night's NJCAA Championship and Hall of Fame Banquet at the Adam's Mark Hotel was the induction of former ECC stars Joe Ciccone and Ruth Jensen-Brock and retired ECC Athletics Director Ralph Galanti into the NJCAA Bowling Hall of Fame.
Junior Gold popular
The USBC Junior Gold Championships will come to Buffalo in July 2007. It promises to bring a nice jolt to the local hospitality economy. Consider this: The 2006 tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. sold out all 1,458 spots last month, the fastest sellout in the nine-year history of the event. Unlike the USBC Open and Women's Championships, which take place over weeks or months, the Junior Gold compacts the competition in a one-week period, meaning competitors and their families and friends will all hit town at about the same time.
Ciccone tells adventure tale
This week, PBA.com, the Web site of the Professional Bowlers Association, had an installment of its "Life on the Tour" series. The latest account, written by Buffalo pro Joe Ciccone, provides insights into PBA Tour competition.
Ciccone described his adventures at last week's PBA Pepsi Championship at Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio. On his way to Tuesday's practice round, Ciccone's vehicle was totaled in an accident. He escaped without a serious injury. Despite aches and pains, Ciccone qualified 31st and reached the final eight before losing to Norm Duke in six games. On the way he dispatched Doug Kent, the winner of the GEICO Classic at Thruway Lanes the week before, in a seven-game match and a top amateur qualifier Jim Wolcott in six games.
The PBA Tour is idle this week. With only three events left that count toward the final overall points standings, the three Western New York pros seem to be in good shape to retain their exemption for the 2006-07 campaign. Brad Angelo is in 15th place with 130,988 points. Ciccone is 18th with 124,383. Jack Jurek is in the most danger of not keeping his exemption. He stands 33rd with 95.644.50 points. Up to 40 exemptions for '06-07 will come from the points list.
In earnings: Ciccone stands 23rd with $62,100, Angelo is 25th with $58,460, Baker is 29th at $51,755, Jurek is 35th at $43,075. Angelo ranks highest in average, 18th at 218.14.
Janette Piesczynski of Cheektowaga, who became the second woman to bowl a 300 at the USBC Open Championships last month in Corpus Christi, Texas, still was the leader in regular singles with her 789 series as of Friday morning. A 791 won the singles in 2005. Piesczynski is 41st in the all-event standings.
Mike Neumann captured the $2,000 first prize and the championship of the inaugural Tonawanda Bowling Center Classic last Sunday. Neumann's 243 bested Jay Nephew of West Seneca (237) and Don DeBoe of Lockport (210) in the three-bowler final.
Bowling at home, TBC scored a 27-6 victory over Manor Lanes in the BPA Buffalo Beverage Miller Lite All-Stars travel league to open a 26 1/2 -point lead in the second half standings. Tony Dolan (258-752) led the effort. Southgate lost ground despite an 18-15 win over Ideal.
Elly Smith (715) won the GBUSBC Women's Senior Singles Class A (65 and over) title by three pins over Eleonore Kaiser (712). The Class B (50-64) went to Betty King (729), Mary Kay Posluszny was next at 683.
Gina and Timothy Brzezowski combined for a 1,558 to win the Husband and Wife Division of the USBC Me & Mine Handicap Tournament at Southgate Lanes. They triumphed by 11 pins over Kristy and David Glowicki and by 16 over Catherin and Carl Siegel and Deborah and Paul Gauthier. The Open Division title went to Georgine Sable and Michael Mann with 1,650. Ashley Trowbridge and Glenn Worthy Jr. were next with 1,597, followed by Rosemary Frederickson and Karl Troidl at 1,585.
The Fourth Annual WPIG-St. Jude Children's Research Hospital No-Tap Challenge wrapped up in the Southern Tier with a stop at Twilite Lanes in Randolph. More than $7,000 was raised for cancer research. Among the honor scores were: Jay Mendell 300-280-815, Vic Jimerson 300, Mark Foster 300, Riley Smith 300 and Jay Benson 300. Overall, 440 bowlers competed.