Brad Angelo of Lockport is happy when his friend Liz Johnson qualifies for a Denny's PBA Tour event -- as long as he doesn't have to bowl against here.
Johnson qualified for a Denny's PBA Tour tournament for the third time this week and for the second time was eliminated by Angelo.
In match play at the Ace Hardware Championship on Friday in Taylor, Mich., Johnson defeated Bill O'Neill of Levittown, Pa., in the opening round. When Angelo triumphed over Michael Haugen, Jr., of Las Vegas, 4-1, it meant the two Western New Yorkers would have to face each other again.
Angelo got off to a shaky start, losing the first two games, 217-182 and 207-183, but a 248 in the third game turned the momentum. Angelo won four in a row for a 4-2 victory to move on to the round of 8, where he lost in four games to Norm Duke.
Angelo defeated Johnson, 4-1, when they met in the first round of the Uniroyal Town Classic in Wickliffe, Ohio in November of 2004. Johnson had made history in that event by becoming the first woman to qualify for a PBA Tour event. Later that season, she set another precedent when she became the first woman to reach the championship round of a PBA event, losing to Tommy Jones in the final.
The Johnson-Angelo match was just one highlight of the week as the mid-season lull in the Western New York bowling scene came to a dramatic halt.
The week began with Janette Piesczynski's 789 series getting bumped from the lead in the USBC Open championships in Corpus Christi, Texas. Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, took over the lead late last Saturday with a 792 series, which included a 300 game. Piesczynski, of Cheektowaga, had led the regular singles for nearly a month.
Wednesday, Johnson and Cathy Dorin-Lizzi of Sandusky, Ohio, made Denny's PBA Tour history when they became the first two women to qualify for a standard tour event, the Ace. Up to then, Johnson had been the only woman to qualify for a regular Tour event. She did it twice in the 2004-05 season.
On Wednesday night, a Western New York three-game series record was set when Bob Rudnick of Lancaster bowled an 888 at Spare Time.
Rudnick's intention when he began bowling in the Miller Lite Three-Man league that night was to brush up his game for the annual trip his teammates and bowling friends make to the USBC Open. They left Friday.
Near the end of last season, Rudnick broke in a new ball, a Brunswick Absolute.
"I had Dave Williamson resurface it for me two weeks ago to kind of get ready for the [USBC Open]," Rudnick said. "The first time I used it since then I bowled 680. This was the second time."
Rudnick's series, assuming it stands up to USBC standards, is two pins better than the recognized WNY record by Hall of Famer Allie Brandt in 1939. Brandt's series was a national record for many years but it had stood up 66 years as the local record despite an onslaught of some of the best bowlers in the nation.
Rudnick's series will be a Greater Buffalo USBC Association (formerly Buffalo Bowling Association) record. Mark Zengerski bowled an 874 on Dec. 28, 2003 at the Broadway Sports Center. Before that the existing BBA mark was 867 established by Joe Warr in 1986 and tied by Steve Gaczkowski in 1994 and Mike Goergen of Hamburg in 1998.
Carolyn Key-Reed bowled an 868 in 2003 at Ideal Lanes in the Buffalo Women's Bowling Association, which is now a part of the GBUSBC.
In 2002, Paul Nowak bowled an 878 series at Tonawanda Bowling Center for a Tonawandas USBC Association record. Steve John, Jr., had bowled an 876 three months before that breaking the mark of 864 set by Ken James in 1998.
Howie Wheeler Jr. holds the Niagara Falls Association mark (868) set in 2002.
* Veteran Jimmy Schroeder of Buffalo will bowl in his 58th USBC Open (former the ABC) this week. Going into this year's tournament, Schroeder was one of seven bowlers with career pinfall of more than 100,000 in the tournament. The all-time leader is the late Joe Norris with 123,770. The next two on the list, Dick Weber and Bill Doehrman, are also dead. Bill Lillard is fourth with 108,296 followed by Schroeder with 102,067. The other members of the 100,000 club are Frank Carr (deceased) and Greg Griffo, who is inactive.
* Tonawanda Bowling Center has opened a 32-point lead in the second half standings of the BPA Buffalo Beverage Miller Lite All-Stars traveling league. TBC took a 19 1/2 -13 1/2 win over Spare Time last week at Ideal where the league averaged 213.32. Recckio's and Orchard Park Lanes are tied for second going into today's matches at Southgate Lanes (2 p.m.). Liz Johnson's 31st career 300 game and a 707 by Michelle Sterner helped Recckio's defeat Orchard Park, 18-15, last week.
* The 2006 USBC Women's Championships officially got underway Thursday at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.
* The event will bring 10,976 teams to Reno over the next four months and marks the sixth-largest tournament in the nearly 90-year history of the Women's Championships, formerly the Women's International Bowling Congress Championship Tournament.
* The opening also offered a chance for the National Bowling Stadium to show off some recent renovations -- Including new carpeting, a new scoring system and a new lane surface.