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Bowling: Locals have tough week in World Series

 Western New York bowlers have had remarkable success in the PBA's World Series of Bowling since the multi-tournament event was initiated in 2009 in Allen Park, Mich.

In brief, the World Series is a series of tournaments under varying oil patterns (the so-called animal patterns) with all the scoring determining the qualifiers for the World Championship.

Jack Jurek of Lackawanna, now bowling on the PBA50 Tour, won the PBA Viper championship that first year.

Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga won the PBA Chameleon title in 2013, was second in the Viper and in 2015 won the title in the Viper.

Brad Angelo of Lockport won the Viper in 2013 and was fourth in the PBA Cheetah championship last year.

Not only have Western New York pros been shut out so far in the World Series this week at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., none was real close to advancing to match play.

Angelo, Ciminelli, Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda did not advance in any of the Cheetah, Chameleon and Scorpion events held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. A tie for 31st by Angelo in the Chameleon was best finish so far by a local bowler.
The top 24 qualifiers in each of the event will bowl next week in best-of-five elimination matches to determine eight finalists. The finals in each event will be taped on Dec. 10 for later showing on ESPN.

As of Friday, Angelo was the only local inside the cut line for the World Series, which will be shown live on ESPN at 1 p.m. on Dec. 11.

It was a disappointing week for WNY  bowlers. Here are the finishes through Thursday of the locals in the Cheetah, Chameleon and Scorpion events respectively:

Angelo (66, 31T, 48), Ciminelli (44T, 130, 48), Johnson (33, 86T, 110), Szczerbinski (110T, 155, 255).
Highlight of the World Series so far was by Brant Novak of Chillicothe, Ohio. Novak shot a 300 in his final game to take the lead in the Cheetah qualifier with 1,958 pins. Of course it means only that he will draw the 24th seed in his first elimination match.

Veteran Mike DeVaney, who bowls part-time on the Tour these says, led the Chameleon with 1,893. Jason Belmonte, the two-hander from Australia, led the Scorpion with 1,924.

The last animal pattern event was the Shark championship on Friday. The qualifying was not completed when this was written.

The growth of sport around the world is envisioned as a trend that will help professional bowling tour survive, although it may not be much help to the owner of an 16- or 32-lanes local establishment who counts on league bowling and open bowling to survive.

This World Series of Bowling was truly a World Series. Five foreign bowlers qualified for match play in the Cheetah. There were nine of the 24 in the Chameleon and six in the Scorpion. In some of these events prominent foreign bowlers (Belmonte, Svensson, Palermaa, Barrett, Monacelli) were not among them . For example, there were 10 bowlers from China in the World Series.
Among the more interesting new bowlers was 23-year old Daria Pajak of Poland. She qualified sixth in the Cheetah with a 1,871 total (233.8 average) and would have been higher if she had not faded to 194 and 188 in her last two games.

Pin chasers
-- Last Saturday's Greater Buffalo USBC Association Hall of Fame Dinner enjoyed a record turnout at Samuel's Grande Manor. More than 320 attended for the induction. There was a strong representation from the Niagara Falls and Tonawanda associations. Pat Brick and Mike Zarcone, who are active in the Tonawandas as well as  Buffalo, and Michelle Sterner, who is from Niagara Falls, were part of the reasons for the turnout.

GBUSBC president Greg Merkel's installation was supported by a contingent of 85.

-- For the first time since 1983, Kenmore Lanes will be the host center for the George A. Obenauer Masters Tournament in May. It will be the 55th edition. The Obie was scheduled for Transit Lanes but moved because of renovations at the Williamsville establishment.

In 1983, John Fuchs defeated Bill Truman in the final match.

Also coming up in the new year will be the Youth Team Tournament at Kenmore Jan. 14-15, the Youth Singles Feb. 11-12 at The Edge, the Me & Mine Tournament Feb. 11-12 at Tonawanda Bowling Center.

-- Three hundred and twenty-five teams already have signed up for the New York State Women's Championship in Niagara Falls. The tournament will be held over five weekends in the spring, starting April 8-9 and ending May 19-21. The 46th New York State Queens will also be held in the Falls. Among those already signed for the Queens is Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, who, in October, bowled a women's national record 890 series. She bowled two 300s then left the 8-pin on first ball of her third game. She is a former collegiate champion from the University of Nebraska.

Endicott will be the site for the New York State Open April 22-28, 28-30, May 5-7 and 19-21.

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