One is E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind.,who is just 24, six years younger than Western New York pro hopefuls Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda.
Tackett's last achievement came last weekend with his victory in the PBA DHC Japan Invitational in Osaka. Tackett swept through four stepladder matches, including a 259-216 victory over top qualifier Shota Kawanzoe of Japan. It was the sixth career title for the Hoosier star and the $43,800 prize increased his career earnings to $407,695.72, not a lot by PGA, MLB, NBA and NFL standards but impressive nevertheless.
The No. 5 qualfier, Tackett defeated Chris Barnes (257-205), Sean Rash (259-256) and Jason Sterner (235-191) to get to the finals. Tackett barely got to the stepladder by 10 pins. His third 300 game of the tournament helped. Once he did he get to the finals, he started making strikes. A string of six vanquished Barnes. Six more began his victory over Rash. Two three-strike strings marked his victory over Sterner.
Tackett is a leading contender for the 2016 GEICO Chris Schenkel Player of the Year honors. He won four titles in 2016, including the PBA World Championship. He could stamp himself as a contender for 2017 honors with a good showing in February. The schedule for next month includes the Barbasol PBA Players Championship at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl in Ohio Feb. 7-12, the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Feb. 14-19 and the USBC Masters from the Orleans Bowling Center in Las Vegas, Feb. 21-16. All three finals of those events will be aired live on ESPN at 1 p.m. each week.
The 2012-13 PBA Rookie of the Year at age 20, Tackett should be the envy of us duffers. In college at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, his best sports was golf (a 1-handicap). His average round as collegiate golfer was 75.10. He chose to pursue a career at a pro bowler. Bowling is in his life. His family owns two bowling establishments in the Fort Wayne area.
Tackett first got attention as the top qualifier in the 2015 Rolltech PBA Players Championship. He lost the title match to Gary Faulkner Jr., 215-202. He won his first Tour title, the Lubbock Sports Southwest Open, with a win over Bill O'Neill, 256-213, in the final match.
In his rookie season on tour, Tackett cashed in 10 of 16 events, averaged 220.17 and earned $42,372.22, which isn't bad considering the present shape of the PBA Tour.
Ozio makes USBC Hall
There were six bowlers on the national ballot for the 2017 USBC Hall of Fame Class, Only one, David Ozio of Beaumont, Texas, was elected.
"When you spend your whole life practicing, bowling 200 games a week and living in bowling centers, recognition like this means a lot," said Ozio. He was 1995 inductee into the PBA Hall of Fame.
The 2017 USBC Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place April 26 in Las Vegas.
Previously, Mike Shady of Fairview, Pa., was elected in the Outstanding USBC Performance category in November by the USBC Hall of Fame Committee.
Ozio won 11 Tour Titles including the 1991 Tournament of Champions. It was one of four titles for Ozio that year that led to him gaining player-of-the-year honors.
More recently, he was a success on the PBA50 Tour and won the 2004 Senior U.S. Open. After wrist surgery in 2008, Ozio gave up competitive bowling to pursue a career as a competitive fisherman.
Also on the Superior Performance ballot were: Dave Ferraro, Kingston; Mark Williams, Beaumont, Texas; Randy Pedersen, Clermont, Fla., Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas; and Danny Wiseman of Baltimore. On the women's ballot were Marianne DiRupo of Succasunna, N.J., and Tammy Turner of West Palm Beach, Florida.
The USBC Hall of Fame was created in 2005 by merging the former American Bowling Congress and Women's International Bowling Congress Halls of Fame.
USA wins in a rolloff
Because the time was changed, some bowling fans missed the taped telecast of the USA vs. The World Challenge bowled in December in Las Vegas, as part of the World Series of Bowling VIII.
Dick Allen of the U.S. defeated Dom Barrett of The World, 10-7, in the one-ball sudden death rolloff to decide the match after the teams had split in the best-of-two-game Baker team format. The USA team of Allen, Matt O'Grady, Mitch Beasley, B.J. Moore III and Tackett defeated The World team of Sam Cooley, Barrett, Francois Lavoie, Arturo Quintero and Martin Larsen, 253-224. The World came back to win the second game, 223-210.
The teams were determined by total pinfall in qualifiers for four animal pattern events that were part of the World Series of Bowling.
Barrett struck on the first ball of the rolloff while Barrett left the 3-6-10.
The Erie Community College men's team finished third while the ECC women were fourth among six teams in the Hawk Invitational last weekend in Utica. It's one of the major events leading up to the NJCAA Region III championships and the NJCAA tournament here.
RIT won the men's team title while powerhouse Schnectady CC led the women's side. Ian Lakind of RIT led the men with 1,650. Morgan Guggeri (1,601) led Schenectady's 1-5 sweep on the women's side. Dan Streer shot 1,477 and finished eighth for the ECC men while Abby Smith shot 1,341 and finished ninth for the ECC women.
Medaille tied for three other teams for second place in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference tournament in Bradford, Pa. Taylor Reese of Medaille averaged 176.50 under Sport Bowling lane conditions to lead Medaille.