With few exceptions, Erie Community College and Buffalo have been almost a permanent host of the National Junior College Athletics Association championship in men’s and women’s bowling.
The format remains the same, but there is an important change for this year’s event, which opens next Friday. With the closing of AMF Thruway Lanes, the championship has moved to AMF Airport Lanes in Cheektowaga. Singles, doubles and the first three-game block of the team championships will be bowled on Friday. The completion of team competition will be Saturday.
On Friday night, the tournament Hall of Fame banquet will return to Salvatore’s Italian Gardens.
ECC has had a strong presence in the sport on the junior college level for more than 40 years. The Kats men’s team has won 18 national titles, the most recent in 2011. The women’s teams captured 29 national titles, including the last two. ECC also has produced numerous individual standouts, including last year’s women’s All-Events champion, Gabrielle Damin, and the championship doubles team of Damin and Liz Szpara.
Of the 37 individuals who have been inducted into the NJCAA bowling Hall of Fame, 16 of them have connections to ECC, as either competitors, coaches or administrators.
Judging by tournament results so far this season, it would be an upset if the Kats capture any titles this year.
The ECC men are ranked 75th in the nation among all colleges that field bowling teams. Vincennes (Ind.) University, a two-year school and defending NJCAA men’s champion, is ranked 13th among all collegiate teams heading into the postseason. ECC also is ranked behind Mohawk Valley CC and Schenectady CC.
Schenectady is ranked 29th among the women’s teams. Corning CC (31) and Hudson Valley CC (95) are ranked higher than ECC. Schenectady, Hudson Valley and Cayuga CC ranked 1-2-3 in last weekend’s regionals at Pin-O-Rama Lanes in Utica.
So the outlook is not bright for ECC this season.
The Kats’ best individual hopes are Dana Voytovich (Cheektowaga), Russ Wojciechowski (JFK) and Chris McMillian (Buffalo Arts) among the men and Liz Golobski, Casey Schulz and Brittanie Bezak among the women.
Angelo, Ciminelli on WBT
Brad Angelo of Lockport and Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga advanced through two rounds but failed to make the 16-bowler finals of the H.H. Emir Cup Tournament that ended Friday in Doha, Qatar. Angelo shot 1,248 to finish 18th and earn $1,800. Ciminelli shot 1,227 to tie for 20th and also earn $1,800. Tom Sorce, formerly of Blasdell and now living in Charlottesville, Va., finished 32nd.
Former Wichita State University star Tannya Roumimper of Indonesia defeated home country favorite Khaled Al-Dossari, 516-430, in the two-game total pinfall final match to win the title. Roumimper rolled games of 287 and 229, including 8 handicap pins per game awarded to women entered in the tournament. Another woman, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, was top qualifer but was eliminated by Al-Dossari.
It was a PBA International-World Bowlers Tour event. The competition continues with the Kingdom of Bahrain Open next week and the Brunswick Euro Challenge in Munich, March 14-22.
• The Greater Buffalo and Tonawandas USBC associations are teaming up to sponsor a bowlers clinic at 7 p.m. March 10 at Classic Lanes in the Town of Tonawanda. PBA pro Jack Jurek will conduct the clinic. Cost is $10. To register call the GBUSBC as 668-4222 or the Tonawandas association at 692-8668.
• PBA Hall of Famer and Buffalo native Tom Baker of King, N.C., defeated Stoney Baker, 192-188, 173-243, 256-230, in the best-of-three-game final to win his 31st PBA Regional title in the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota Southern Open in Spartanburg, S.C., last weekend. The win was worth $2,300.
• Defending champions Norm Duke and Wes Malott are top qualifiers for the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship on ESPN at 1 p.m. Sunday. It’s the first time since 2011 the doubles championship has been held. The taped show was bowled on Feb. 14 in West Wauwatosa, Wis.
• Dom Barrett of England and two-hander Osku Palermaa of Finland will face DJ Archer and Maldonado in the opening match. Next up will be Bill O’Neill and two-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte.
• The 2015 USBC Open Championship will get underway next Saturday at the El Paso Convention Center. It will run until July 12. The Texas facility has been transformed into a 62-lane bowling stadium.