You could call them "The Fab Four," but that was taken decades ago by some fellows from Liverpool.
Whatever you call them, the four-man bowling team of Michael E. Weber, Joshua Large, Dominic Germano and Ryan Reese is establishing a dynasty in youth team bowling.
Three weeks ago, they captured their second consecutive Region 1 (Buffalo area) championship at the Broadway Sports Center to earn the right to defend their title at the New York State Bowling Association Youth Team Championship at AMF Strike'n Spare Lanes on May 4 in Syracuse. They won last year with a 2,649 total.
Although contemporaries, there is some range in their ages. Weber, 17, is a junior at St. Joe's. Reese, who bowled at Cardinal O'Hara is a freshman at Niagara University. Germano, from Kenmore East, is in his second year at Erie Community College. Large completed two years at ECC and is looking to move on with his education after a year off. This is the last year they can bowl together as youth team because Large and Germano will become overage.
How dominant has this team been? The four have won or formed the core of teams that have won the last four Greater Buffalo USBC Association Youth Team championships.
Bowling as "Fireball," they won the title at AMF Airport Lanes in December with a 2,671 total.
Last season, as Tonawanda Travel, they won the title at Broadway with 2,586.
In the season before that, as Pepsi Travel, they won at Kenmore Lanes with 2,493. with Dylan Greenauer of Cardinal O'Hara bowling instead of Large.
And in the season before, they won at Strikers with Large, Weber and Germano along with Jarrett Robert.
Even the winner before that was connected to the Fab Four. Reese was a member of that team, which bowled as Jim Reese's Pro Shop. Ryan is Jim Reese's son. Ryan's uncle is Jim Russo, who owns Manor Lanes II.
To close the family circle, Taylor Reese, Ryan's sister, was a standout bowler at O'Hara and bowled at Medaille College.
Weber's sister, Kaelynn, an eighth-grader bowling for Kenmore East, is a member of the Section VI team that bowled this weekend in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament in Syracuse.
The foursome has also won the Scratch Division of the Pepsi Junior Travel League the last three years, topped by a 2,907 series with a 1,090 game (an average of 272.5 per bowler) at Transit Lanes.
In addition to their team accomplishments, each of the four has triumphs in singles and doubles competition.
No prize money is awarded in United State Bowling Association sanctioned competition. However, scholarship money is earned and deposited into a SMART account for each youth bowler.
"Between the four of them, they have earned $40,000 in scholarship money," points out Mike L. Weber, Mike E's father.
Last weekend, Mike E. Weber won the state Catholic High School Athletic Association championship at Babylon Lanes on Long Island. Reese is a past state Catholic schools champion. They each led the Monsignor Martin Association in average.
In 2015, as a seventh-grader, Weber was a member of the Kenmore East team that went to the NYSPHSAA tournament. Germano also bowled for the Bulldogs that season.
Weber and Germano won two straight scratch doubles title in the Tonawandas USBB Association.
Their reign ended last month when Weber and Reeese teamed up to win the title with 1,385, led Weber's 782 set.
Over the years, the team has developed a rivalry with bowlers from Long Island. Rochester would seem to be a bigger rivalry, given the proximity and the number of talented bowlers from the Flower City.
"They always seem to crumble against us," Germano says with a laugh.
Despite all their talent, the Fab Four have found college athletic scholarship opportunities for male bowlers to be scarce. Not so in women's bowling, partly because of Title IX guidelines.
"Of the girls on the Section VI team, my daughter Kaelynn is the only one who doesn't have a scholarship offer and she's in eighth grade," Mike L. Weber says.
World Series X begins
The World Series of Bowling X gets under way Sunday in Allen Park, Mich., with qualifying starting on Tuesday.
There will be four live prime-time shows in the coming days: Monday (Cheetah), Tuesday (Chameleon), Wednesday (Scorpion) and Thursday (PBA World Championship) at 8 p.m. each night on FS1.
Also on the air, FS1 will broadcast the World Bowling Tour finals from Arlington, Texas. The event was taped in January.
WNY native Liz Johnson faces Daria Pajak of Poland with the winner to meet Danielle McEwan of Stony Point. On the men's side, Stuart Williams of England takes on EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Ind., with the winner advacing to face Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, in the final.
The bowling will be under the "current frame format."
ECC's men and women's teams will be off to the Intercollegiate Team and Singles Championships sectional qualifiers in Stratford, N.J., next weekend.