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Rough go for local bowlers at PBA Tournament of Champions

Ryan Ciminelli of Clarence withdrew because of injury, and Lockport's Brad Angelo did not qualify for match play. That guaranteed that Sunday's stepladder finals of the PBA Tournament of Champions at Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio, would have less interest among Western New York fans of pro bowling.

There's still a feel-good story that local followers can take heart in. That's the performance of Mike Machuga of Erie, Pa., well-known in Western New York because he has competed in events here over the years.

Dissatisfied with the Tour and where it seemed headed, Machuga, now 42, withdrew in 2014 to concentrate on operating his pro shop and bowling in three leagues in the Erie area.

Machuga has not won a PBA title since 2008, the Chameleon championship in Taylor, Mich. Before that, he won the 2005 Greater Omaha Open, not far from the University of Nebraska where he was a two-time All-American. Those were his only Tour titles.

Machuga, who started the day in fourth place after posting a 5-3 record in the first round of match play on Thursday, was still flirting Friday with a place in the five-bowler stepladder finals, which would have made him a sentimental favorite among the fans at Fairlawn.

As to Ciminelli's injury, he told Bowlers Journal that he suspects he might have suffered his right shoulder injury laboring as a brick layer when he had time off from the Tour.

"Basically, I was laboring for a mason company a couple months back since my run on Tour has been so bad, just trying to make a little extra money," he said. "No clue what happened. It comes and goes with sharp, shooting pains. About three days before I left for the TOC, they started again.

"The weirdest part," added the left-hander, "is it's my right shoulder."

Ciminelli bowled only the first qualifying round of the TOC, averaging 164 for last place.

Now the question is: Will he be able to compete in the PBA Players Championship in Columbus this week and next month's World Series of Bowling in Michigan.

Ciminelli has cashed once in four events so far in the 2019 season, making $1,555 in the PBA Lubbock Sports Open last month.

Thinking he was a non-cashier, he was on a plane out of town when he learned that he's made the final spot in match play. He had to drive from Dallas back to Lubbock to continue and finished 20th.

His last individual title on the Tour was in the 2016 PBA Shootout Presented by Xtra Frame.

Angelo finished 34th in the qualifying at the TOC.

Big tournaments on tap

One of the major events of the local bowling season will wrap up starting at 11 a.m. Sunday when the finals of the 28th Tri-City Masters at Manor Lanes in Tonawanda.

Coming up this week will be the Section VI girls and boys championships at AMF Airport Lanes in Cheektowaga, which is probably the best-attended bowling event in Western New York since the PBA Tour no longer stops here.

The girls championship will be Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The boys tournament will be Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday is the snow day, if needed.

The New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association championships will be March 8-10 at AMF Strike N Spare in Syracuse.

Many of the top high school bowlers and some collegiate stars will bowl Sunday in the finals of the Greater Buffalo USBC Association Youth Singles Championship at AMF Lancaster Lanes.

Finalists in the Girls Scratch division are: Emily Crone, Audrey Thurley, Alexis Klenke, Kendyll Jaskier, Sarah Radt, Janelle Pezzimenti, Paige Bartosz and Katarina Korn.

Boys Scratch finalists are: Ryan Reese, Thomas Klenke, Declan Stiles, Ryan Lent, Michael Weber, Christopher Heitzhaus, Joshua Large and Brian Stone Jr.

The GBUSBC Doubles Championship will be March 3, 9-10 at Spare Time Bowling Center in Cheektowaga.

College update

Andrew Burckhalter of Erie Community College was the singles winner, averaging 225.83 for six games in last Saturday's Boulevard Bowl Collegiate Classic in Schenectady. ECC's Michael Costello was seventh (204.33).

Villa Maria sophomore Maddie Jensen was named to the All-Tournament Team and the Vikings finished second as a team at the Boulevard Bowl Collegiate Classic.

Villa, coached by GBUSBC Hall of Fame members Jack Jurek and assistant Mike Faliero, will finish its spring schedule on Saturday at the Saint Vincent's Brother Patrick Lacey Memorial Tournament.

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