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Milt Northrop’s Bowling: Ciminelli to be honored by ECC

Erie Community College will induct two of its former bowlers, but from different eras, into its Athletics Hall of Fame next month.

Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, now a star on the PBA Tour with three titles including the 2015 U.S. Open, was a two-time All-America selection and two-time winner of the National Junior College Athletic Association singles and all-events in 2005 and 2007 for the Kats. Ciminelli led the ECC men to the NJCAA team title in both seasons. Vincennes (Ind.) won in 2006 when Ciminelli was not on the team.

Ciminelli, who will be 30 on March 7, will become the youngest inductee in the ECC Hall of Fame.

“I am truly humbled by being selected for the athletic Hall of Fame at ECC, especially at such a young age,” Ciminelli said. “I hope it is the first of a few hall of fames I hope to eventually get inducted into.”

The other inductee is Steve Nelson, who helped the Kats capture the 1967-68 Region III championship. He was more noted, however, as captain of the basketball and baseball teams and was named ECC Male Athlete of the Year for 1967-68. As legend has it, the ECC bowling team was short one bowler to enter the regional tournament and sought out Nelson, a left-hander. He ended up as the high bowler in the championship victory.

Nelson, who made All-High in baseball at South Park, went on to the University at Buffalo, where he completed his collegiate athletic career in basketball and baseball.

The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place at a 5:30 p.m. reception on March 16 in the Flickinger Athletics Center.

Ciminelli’s name was conspicuous by its absence from the lineup at this week’s 51st FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions in Shawnee, Okla. The runner-up for the Chris Schenkel 2015 PBA Player of the Year Award withdrew from the tournament to clear up a lingering illness. His last competition was the Japan Cup in Tokyo in what has been a hectic schedule including the Open in November and World Series of Bowling in early December in Reno, Nev.

Ciminelli’s absence and Liz Johnson’s failure to make the 24-bowler cut to match play – at 25th she just missed the cut – left Brad Angelo of Lockport as the only Western New York hope in the T of C. Through the second round of match play on Friday, Angelo stood in sixth place with 9,230 pins after going 11-5 in his matches. One of is losses was to tournament leader Jesper Svensson of Sweden (205-191). He went 6-2 on Thursday night. The final eight-match round was Friday night. The top five qualify for the finals.

Qualifying and match play was held at FireLake Bowlng Center. For the television finals (ESPN, 2 p.m.), the tournament will move across the street to a specially constructed pair of lanes in the FireLake Arena.

Dolan on ‘Champ’

Left-hander Tony Dolan, the reigning George A. Obenauer Masters champion, will be one of the featured bowlers in the Week Five edition of the “Beat the Champ” bowling show on WBBZ-TV.

The matches, taped last month at Kerns Avenue Bowling Center, will be shown at 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 p.m. on Sunday.

Others bowlers appearing in this week’s show are returning champion Greg Voytovich of Cheektowaga, Mike Nowak of Lancaster and Joe Rubrecht of Kenmore.

Mike Mallwitz of Grand Island, representing Island Lanes, won a special edition of the show “Pro-Shop Challenge” that was shown last weekend. The matches were bowled at Rapids Bowling Center in Niagara Falls in December. Mallwitz defeated Jeff Walsh of Cheektowaga, representing Bowlers Choice Pro Shops at Transit Lanes and Classic Lanes, 279-196. Eric Johns of Niagara Falls, representing Rapids Bowling Center Shop, defeated Doug Heim of the National Bowling Store in North Tonawanda and AMF Airport Lanes, 204-199.

Mallwitz then defeated Johns, 265-209, in the final match.

AMCC bowlers here

Medaille College will be host to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championships at Classic Lanes in the Town of Tonawanda on Saturday and Sunday.

The AMCC is the only NCAA Division III conference to sponsor women’s bowling as a championship sport. Saturday’s competition will be the traditional team format starting at 10 a.m. Sunday’s will be Baker format beginning at 9 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Mount Aloysius of Cresson, Pa., swept both the AMCC round-robin tournaments this winer and is the favorite to unseat Pitt-Bradford, the two-time defending champion. Freshman Rayissa Amon of Mount Aloysius leads the conference with a 190 average and is second with a 17.9 Baker frame average. Rebecca Amendola of No. 2 seed Penn State-Altoona is the Baker average leader at 18.07.

Medaille is the No. 3 seed. The Mavericks are led by senior Tallie Papke (Lake Shore) who has a 167 average and a 16.2 Baker frame average. Papke was the top bowlers with a 179 average and a 219 game in the AMCC January Round Robin.

The fifth team in the competition will be New Jersey City University, which is an AMCC affiliate member.

Pin chasers

• Western New York will be well represented in the USBC Masters, which will get underway at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, Ind., on Tuesday. Ciminelli, Angelo, Johnson and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda are the local pros entered. So is Dolan, who earned a paid entry with his victory in the local Obenauer Masters last May. Jason Belmonte of Australia will be seeking his record fourth straight Masters title. The tournament is sold out with 384 entries.

• The Section VI Boys and Girls championship will be this week at AMF Airport Lanes. The boys competition will be Wednesday and the girls Thursday. Kenmore East in the boys and Frontier in the girls are the defending team overall champions. Girls individual winner Sara Snyder of Depew, now a senior, is a returning champion. Joe Scapillato of Depew, Alex Weinreich of Sweet Home, Josh Large of Tonawanda are boys individuals to keep an eye on. Frontier returns nearly its entire girls championship lineup from a year ago, led by senior Katie Good and sophomore Brittany McAndrews. Maryvale, Sweet Home, Clarence, Frontier, Orchard Park, Tonawanda, Springville, Pioneer and Salamanca will battle for the overall boys team title.

• Coming up is one of the major events of the Western New York amateur bowling scene, the 25th Tri-City Masters at Classic Lanes on Feb. 20-21.

• This should sound familiar to fans of the old LeisureLand Lanes in Hamburg: Wayne Lanes, a 12-lane center in Waynesboro, Va., closed after a roof collapse due to the heavy snowfall that hit that region last month. A similar incident led to the closing of LeisureLand Lanes. In the Virginia case, there is a possibility of a rebuild of the facility or a move to a suitable location. LeisureLand, of course, never was rebuilt.

• Reserved entries closed Friday for the Greater Buffalo USBC Association Me & Mine Tournament at AMF Airport Lanes on Feb. 13-14 and Feb. 20-21.

Walk-ins will be allowed on an availability basis with a $30 entry fee per team. There will be a 3 p.m. squad on each Saturday and squads at 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Sundays.