League seasons are coming to an end and now the bowling focus in Western New York turns to a heavy schedule of championship tournaments in April and May.
First up locally will be the Greater Buffalo USBC Stan Kowalski Singles championship and New York State USBC Association's tournament which will begin next Saturday.
The Kowalski will be held at Southgate Lanes next Saturday and Sunday.
The State Women's Championship, hosted by the Niagara Falls USBC Association, will land for a five-week run through May 20.
Rapids Bowl in Niagara Falls will be the site of the team events and the Tonawanda Bowling Center will host the doubles, singles and the April 21 New York State Queens Tournament.
Another strong Buffalo contingent, especially in the scratch division, is entered.
Last year in Syracuse, Cindy Coburn-Carroll of the Town of Tonawanda swept all four scratch division titles -- singles (764), doubles (1,380 with Heidi Septer), all-events (2,158) and team (2,842 with Buffalo Gals teammates Jocelyn Stutz, Septer and, Janette Pieszczynski). She was the first to win four titles since Peggy Funk Kuhn in 2002.
Jeziorski finished one pin behind Coburn-Carroll in last year's singles, and the second-place team in the scratch division, Bowlers Choice Pro Shop, included Jeziorski, Sue Nawojski, Michelle Sterner and Liz Johnson.
According to Walczyk, entries for the State Tournament include 910 four-bowler teams, 1,696 doubles combinations and 3,392 in singles.
"Numbers are down from last year but not too much," said Walczyk.
Women's pro events planned
Biggest news to come out of the United States Bowling Congress Convention was the announcement of two world class events for women bowlers.
The U.S. Women's Open, a USBC event, and the Professional Bowlers Association Women's Tour Trials will be held simultaneously at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., from Aug. 13-18.
The top 16 players in the U.S. Women's Open final rounds will compete in matches that will be taped on Aug. 17-18 for later showing. The final four will return to Reno for a live televised championship round on Oct. 14.
The top 16 players who exercise the option of competing in the Tour Trials will advance to compete in the PBA Women's Series, which will feature four televised (ESPN) events with a total prize fund of $50,000 for each event, including a top prize of $10,000 and last cash of $1,800.
The first major women's event of the year, the USBC Queens, will be April 28-May 2 in suburban Charlotte, N.C. The finals of the event will be televised live on ESPN 2 at 7 p.m. on May 2.
On a roll in Reno
Eric Johns of Niagara Falls and John Masiello of Kenmore took time to enter the USBC/Storm Bowlers Journal Championships, a companion event, when they traveled to Reno, Nev. for the USBC Open Championship last week.
It was worth the trip.
Johns and Masiello moved into the lead in Open doubles at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino.
Johns posted games of 266, 267, 236 and 202 for a 971 set, while Masiello, a former Obenauer Masters champion, added 248, 172, 244 and 267 for 931 and a 1,902 total. Johns and Masiello also moved into first and third, respectively, in Senior Singles.
"This tournament is more than just something fun we do to get ready for the Open Championships," said Masiello, 51. "We bowl with a very competitive group, and we're trying to beat each other's scores as much as we're trying to win the whole thing."
In the Open, Masiello (739) and Johns (643) teamed up to shoot 1,382 and move into 12th place in Regular Doubles.
*Julie Ripley posted a 758 handicap total to take the top prize in the Buffalo Women's 600 Bowling Club's Bring A Friend Tournament. Renee Bowers (719) and Janice Stephan (714) were second and third.
Other cashers were Jodie Storey (706), Shirley Palaszewski (692), Barbara Kiblin (687), JoAnne Ross (684) and Cindy Pohlman (682).
*The GBUSBC Youth Awards dinner will be April 15, at Kiebzak's Beginnings, 38 Crocker St., Sloan.