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Liz Johnson captures gold in Pan Am games

Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga succeeded where Team USA teammates Kelly Kulick, Chris Barnes and Bill O'Neill failed this week in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Johnson defeated Jennifer Park of Canada, 2-0, and won the gold medal in women's singles at the Games, giving the U.S. three of four gold medals in the competition.

That was after Kulick, the No. 1 seed, was upset in the first round of match play by 16th-seeded Stephanie Martins of Brazil, 680-587, in the first round of match play. Johnson was the No. 2 qualifier.

Barnes, the top qualifier among the men, lost to Santiago Mejia of Colombia in the men's championship match, 189-181 and 205-193.

O'Neill, of Southampton, Pa., lost in the quarterfinals to Mejia, 711-589, in the three games, total pinfall match.

Johnson had little trouble in the gold-medal match, taking down Park, 232-196 and 235-190, in the best-of-three format.

"It was a tough battle but it feels great to come out on top," Johnson said. "There were some great players in this field. Physically I felt really good, and I used a few tricks in my bag to do what I had to do ."

On her path to the title match, Johnson defeated Yoselin Leon of Puerto Rico, 676-626, Marizete Scheer of Brazil, 648-515, and Karen Marcano of Venezuela, 2-0 (240-206 and 254-203).

Tuesday, Johnson and Kulick teamed up to win the gold medal in women's doubles.

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Griffs host Classic today

The Canisius College Bowling Club is hosting its inaugural Petey Griffin Collegiate Classic today and Sunday at Transit Lanes. The Classic will be a scratch tournament with men's and women's divisions. There will be five standard team games today and 20 Baker games Sunday.

The Canisius Club reorganized for the 2010-11 school year and Golden Griffin teams have been competing again in regional collegiate tournaments.

The Griffs men's team (actually co-ed) finished 12th (8,198) in last weekend's Penn State Classic in Bellefonte, Pa. Erie Community College was 15th (7,952) in the same event won by St. John's (9,549)

Nate Johnson of Canisius finished 17th with a 1,026 pinfall for five games. Steve Ammirati of St. John's won with 1,150. Eric Alajko led ECC with a 954.

Elsewhere on the collegiate front, the Medaille women's team finished seventh among 14 teams with a 5-5 team match record in the Kutztown (Pa.) Fall Invitational.

Shelby Barker Jr. (Kenmore West), Brooke Kress Jr. (Cheektowaga), Robin Manikowski (Depew), Melissa Sandoval (Hamburg) and Elizabeth Wilson (Grand Island) make up the Mavs' roster.

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Pro tour opens Friday

If you take a long nap next month, you could miss about half of what is left of the Professional Bowlers Tour. What used to be a 30-events-or-more tour extending from coast to coast is down to 12, half of which will take place during the PBA World Series of Bowling over three weeks at South Point Hotel, Casino and Bowling Center in Las Vegas.

It starts next Friday with the Bayer Viper Open followed by the WSOB Chameleon Open, the Scorpion Open, the Geico Shark and the PBA World Championship.

All PBA World Championship rounds will be contested on Saturday, Nov. 19, in a special arena lanes setup at South Point. The telecasts will air on ESPN on five consecutive Sundays except Christmas Day (Dec. 11, 18, Jan. 1, 8 and 15) at 1 p.m. There are only six other events left on the rest of the PBA Tour starting in January.

Western New York again will be well represented in the World Series. Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, Brad Angelo of Lockport, Jack Jurek of Lackawanna, Joe Ciccone of Buffalo and Johnson are entered.

Total pinfall for the combined 32 qualifying games in the four "animal pattern" events will determine the top 60 competitors (based upon a capacity field of 240 entries) advancing to the PBA World Championship eight-game cashers' round.

The World Series will continue with the Carmen Salvino Classic starting on Friday, Nov. 11, the Pepsi PBA Exempt Players Championship starting Tuesday, Nov. 15, and the Lumber Liquidators Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship running the same time as the Exempt Players Championship. An $800 entry fee enters players into the four "animal pattern" events and the PBA World Championship.

email: mnorthrop@buffnews.com