It has been eight years (2011) since Erie Community College won a National Junior College Athletic men's bowling championship, which ECC has hosted since the 1970s.
Judging by the Kats' performance in two downstate events last weekend, they will be a strong challenge for the title won by Highland (Ill.) College last season at AMF Airport and AMF Lancaster Lanes.
Led by individual champion Andrew Burckhalter (West Seneca West), a sophomore from Orchard Park, the Kats won the Westchester Shootout last Saturday in Fishkill then finished fifth the next day in the Westchester Classic in Carmel. In both events, coach Roy Decebus' team encountered many teams it will face in the NJCAA regional and nationals.
Burckhalter averaged 225.8 in Fishkill and had strong support from teammates Michael Costello (7th, 202.2), Colton Simonds (14th, 193.8) and Dominic Germano (15th, 193.2). Joseph Peters averaged 202.6 in bowling four of the six team games and Matthew Kasperek averaged 184.5 in the two games he bowled.
The Kats averaged 202.4 per man in the conventional five-man team games and averaged 189.5 in 10 Baker format games.
In the Westchester Classic, Burckhalter (201 average) was fifth. Simonds (196.5) was ninth and Costello (193.0) was 11th.
Corning CC won the team title in the Classic.
The ECC women finished fourth at Fishkill, but were second among two-year schools. Sacred Heart (Conn.) and Molloy finished 1-2. Suffolk CC was third. At Carmel, ECC was second to Sacred Heart.
Freshman Brittany McAndrews (Frontier) led the Kats. She was 13th with a 179.5 average at Fishkill and fourth with a 193.33 average at Carmel.
The Kats teams were challenged again on Saturday in Boulevard Bowl Collegiate Classic in Schenectady.
Elsewhere, Saint Francis (Pa.), with Haley Carroll (Williamsville South) in the lineup, won the Kutztown tournament, coming back from an opening loss to Mount Aloysius and defeating the same team, 4-3, in the championship match of the Red Flash Invitational in Altoona, Pa. Carroll averaged 176.4.
With freshman Danielle Milo (Orchard Park) setting the pace with a 172.9 average, Mount St. Mary's (Md.) finished third. Milo had a 19.26 Baker frame average.
Hilbert hosted and Medaille participated in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference's first of two round-robin tournaments at Classic Lanes in Tonawanda. The event will be comprised of five-game Baker format matches. Medaille, led by senior Morgan Walsh, had the high team average and individual per frame average entering the eight-team event.
Early-bird deadline extended
Due to weather cancellations and travel restrictions, the Greater Buffalo USBC Association has extended the 20 percent early-bird discount for the team event in the City Open and Women's championships that begin April 23. The discount deadline will last until Friday. The association office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. next week.
Entries close on Friday for the Me & Mine Tournament at AMF Airport Feb. 17, 23, 24. The Feb. 16 squad is sold out.
Other GBUSBCA events coming up: Stan Kowalski Senior Open, April 27 and 28 at Kenmore Lanes; George Obenauer Masters, May 14 to 19 at AMF Lancaster Lanes; Youth Singles & Bumpers finals on Feb. 10 at AMF Lancaster Lanes; Youth Doubles, March 3, 9 and 10 at Spare Time Bowling Center; The Youth Singles began Saturday.
T.O. in Celebrity Bowling
Terrell Owens will be one of the featured celebrity bowlers on today's 10th anniversary presentation of Chris Paul's CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational (FS1. 2 p.m.) from The Woodlands, Texas.
Besides Owens, who won the event last year, Mookie Betts and JJ Watt, NASCAR driver Aric Almirola and stars from the entertainment world will join PBA stars Norm Duke, Pete Weber, Chris Barnes, Jason Belmonte, Tommy Jones, EJ Tackett, Sean Rash, Andrew Anderson, and Kyle Troup in the field.
The PBA Tour gets down to more serious competition next week with the 54th PBA Tournament of Champions, a PBA signature event that requires a player to have a PBA title to compete. The ToC will run from Monday through next Sunday at the AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio. The Tournament of Champions stepladder finals will be televised live on FOX at 4:30 p.m.
The 60-bowler tournament roster includes Brad Angelo of Lockport and Ryan Ciminelli of Clarence.#