Next month's Tri-City Masters at Allie Brandt Lanes in Lockport will be the 22nd edition of a tournament that began in 1992 and tournament officials have taken steps to ensure that the event remains strong.
The Tri-Cities evolved out of championships that were run by three associations, the Tonawandas Herbert E. Burns Match Play Championship, the Lockport Memorial Allie Brandt Memorial Match Play Championship and the Niagara Falls Masters Tournament. The tournament venue rotates among the three associations.
There is an overall Tri-City Masters champion determined, and the high finishers of each of the three association is recognized as that association's Masters champion. Last season George Szczublewski of the Tonawandas took the Tri-City Title. Gary Kinyon won the Lockport championship for the 13th time. David Zajac was the Niagara Falls Masters winner.
Kinyon has won three Tri-City titles. Biggest winner of all is Jack Jurek with five, including the first four.
Kinyon also is a member of the tournament committee that is planning the event and made some changes format that were designed to generate more entries. Others on the committee are: D.J. Chapman and Alan Nicolette of the Niagara Falls Association and Henry Allenbach of the Tonawandas.
To place more of a premium on the qualifying round, there will be 16 match-play qualifiers this year instead of the previous 24. Of the qualifiers, the top four will get byes for two rounds. The Nos. 5-8 qualifiers will get a one-round bye. Previously, the top eight qualifiers received a first-round bye in match play. Match play will be single-elimination two-game matches.
"We will pay more at the top because we're not paying for eight spots," Kinyon explained.
Last year Szczublewski collected $500 as the Tri-City champion and another $300 at the Tonawandas winner. This year's first-place finisher will receive $1,000 plus another $300 as his association champion, assuming the winner is from one of three associations. Each association runner-up will received $100. The overall top qualifier will earn $50. The entry fee is $100 if received by 7 p.m. on Feb. 8. After that entry will be $125.
Also, instead of automatically being seeded into match play the champion will instead receive a paid entry to the tournament. Szczublewski will not be automatically seeded this year.
A few years ago, Tri-City organizers opened the event to bowlers from associations aside from the Tonawandas, Lockport and Niagara Falls.
Six games of qualifying will be bowled on Saturday, Feb. 10. Match play will be the next day.
Collegiate bowling action picked up against last weekend with two tournament in New York State and the Kutztown Invitational in Reading, Pa., which annually attracts a strong field of college teams.
Erie Community teams fared well. The ECC men finished second to Hudson Valley in the Blue and Orange Classic in Wappingers Falls last Saturday then won the Hawk Classic on Sunday in Utica. Both are key preps for the Region III National Junior College Athletic Association championships and the NJCAA nationals to be held here in early March.
Alex Leader (198.33 average) of the Kats finished second at the Blue and Orange. Amy Feldman was ECC's top woman.
Leader, Joshua Large and Andrew Burckhalter of ECC finished 1-2-3 in Utica while Feldman led the individual women.
Haley Carroll (Williamsville South) was one of three Saint Francis (Pa.) bowlers to make the all-tournament team in the Kutztown Tournament. The Red Flash finished eighth among 27 teams. Medaille was 24th.
Carroll led the Red Flash with a 22.57 frame average for Sunday's round of Baker matches and 20.9 for the weekend in Baker matches. Britney Grey (Cattaraugus/Little Valley) contributed with a weekend frame average of 18.37. Carroll had nine first-all strikes in 12 attempts in the anchor position against Fairleigh Dickinson in a Baker victory on Sunday.
"It's great seeing multiple Red Flash players receiving honors," said Saint Francis coach Tom Falbo. "For Emma (Wrenn), Haley and Kyra (Kudziela),it was certainly well deserved. Of the 15 combined traditional games they bowled on Saturday, 14 of their games were over 200 and in most cases, well over that mark."
Carroll averaged 218.6 for five traditional games in group play.
Over the weekend, Carroll and her teammates broke a Red Flash scoring record for traditional game play with a 5,186, and a 207.44 team average.
Defending champion McKendree (Ill.) women captured the deciding game, 199-180, to defeat Vanderbilt, 4-3, for the Kutztown championship.
Liz, Ryan in field
Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga and Western New York native Liz Johnson were in the field today when qualifying began in Tokyo for the DHC PBA Japan Invitational, the first event of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season. It will be shown on the PBA's Xtra Frame online subscription channel.
Besides Ciminelli and Johnson, the 48 bowlers in the field include defending champion E.J. Tackett and top qualifier Jason Belmonte, based on 2017 earnings. Fifteen bowlers are from the PBA. One Korean PBA player was invited by the sponsor and 32 Japanese bowlers are in the field.
Under a new format, all bowlers will bowl six games of qualifying to cut the field for head-to-head matches. Qualifying began on Friday.
If you subscribe to Xtra Frame and are a very early riser you can catch the stepladder final at 3:30 a.m. (EST) on Sunday.