The year 2016 was a year of numerous “highs” as well as the lowest of “lows” for Curtis Foss of Medina, unquestionably one of the best league and tournament bowlers in Western New York.
During the 12 months that dissolved into history at midnight last Saturday, the strapping 29-year-old right-hander rolled seven 300 games and two 800 series, cashed in numerous tournaments and averaged a Genesee Region USBC association-best 242 and 241 in two leagues at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion.
He placed third at the Greater Buffalo USBC’s Obenauer Masters last May, losing only to two of the Queen City’s best bowlers -- touring professionals Ryan Ciminelli and John Szczerbinski.
It was a shining moment for Foss, who has won four Genesee Region USBC Masters titles since 2008, but it also turned out to be the last time that his father, Bob Foss Jr., had a chance to watch Curtis bowl.
The next day, Bob, the 2012 GRUSBC Masters champion, suffered a stroke. Less than five months later, he died at the age of 55.
Since then, Curtis has immersed himself into bowling more than ever – competing in leagues from Monday through Friday and in tournaments on the weekends -- as he struggles to deal with the loss of his dad and his best friend.
“I think about him every day. I’m just trying to get through each day,” Foss said. “He always was with me when we drove to tournaments. It’s been hard to get my mindset (in the right place). Dad was always there.”
Curtis has been splitting time between Genesee County and Florida over the past three months, subbing in leagues in Albion, Medina, Oakfield, Batavia, Lockport and Buffalo when not staying with friends in the Sunshine State.
Foss said he will be bowling in the Scott Whittier Memorial three-person no-tap tournament in Albion this Saturday and the GRUSBC Scratch Memorial singles tournament at Medina Lanes on Sunday, before heading to Florida on Jan. 17 for another month-long stay.
His plans there include competing in a PBA South Regional tournament in Tavares on Feb. 4.
“I’m bowling as much as I can,” said Foss, acknowledging that his father would have wanted it that way and that it keeps him from dwelling on his dad’s passing. “I plan to be back here to bowl in the (GRUSBC) Masters on February 11th.”
He already has added to his list of 800 sets in 2017, having recorded 814 on Tuesday night (Jan. 3) at Allie Brandt Lanes in Lockport.
Foss now 25 perfect games and 15 800 series, and coupled with his tournament success, he may be in line to land an amateur staff position with Storm Bowling, since he uses only Storm and Roto-Grip (a division of Storm) bowling balls.
SCRATCH MEMORIAL SET FOR THIS WEEKEND IN MEDINA
Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw will be attempting to defend his title this weekend at the 63rd GRUSBC Scratch Memorial Tournament at Medina Lanes. Gray is signed up for the first of four qualifying squads at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Other qualifying squads (four games) are scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, with one in five bowlers advancing to the four-game semifinals.
First place, based on 80 entries, is $1,000. For registration information, go to www.bowlgr.com to download an entry form.
(To see a list of other local tournaments this month, scroll down to the Dec. 22 Pin Points column on this page).
‘BEAT THE CHAMP’ RECAP: GRAVANDA WINS TWO MATCHES
Just as fellow Batavian Rich Wagner did before him, veteran bowler Fred Gravanda won two of his three matches on the “Beat The Champ” TV show, a regular weekend feature of WBBZ-TV (MeTV) out of Buffalo.
In the show from Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia that aired on Dec. 24, Gravanda defeated John Danielwicz of Sanborn, 247-224, and Paul Tatone of St. Catharines, Ontario, 246-197, before falling to George Szczublewski of West Seneca, 258-215. The 66-year-old right-hander earned $250 for his effort.
On the final show from Mancuso’s that aired on Dec. 31, the duo of Frank Jarkiewicz of Byron and Laurie Morgante of Bergen captured a mixed doubles event by defeating the brother and sister team of Chris and Jennifer Bardol of Rochester in the title match. Other competitors were the husband and wife duos of Rich and Jen Wagner, and Mark and Penny Brown.
HONOR SCORES UPDATE: HURLBURT 803; ALLIS, HANKS 300
Shawn Hurlburt of Freedom rolled 803 – his first USBC-certified 800 series -- on Dec. 22 in the Thursday Nite Intertown League at Letchworth Pines in Portageville. His games on lanes 3-4 were 245-279-279.
Hurlburt, a 40-year-old right-hander who works for Bliss Machine in Arcade, said he used a Track Hx05 ball, spotting around the second arrow, to consistently hit the pocket. After the opening 245, he left only a 10-pin in the sixth frame of game two and another 10-pin in the ninth frame of game three.
Hurlburt said he was calm – until the final two shots.
“I was definitely nervous on the 11th ball because I knew I needed that one,” he said. “But I threw it good. On the last ball, it went Brooklyn (crossing to the left of the 1-3 pocket), but they all went down.”
Hurlburt is averaging 213 in the league, which consist of five-person teams. He said he is choosing a ring as his award from the United States Bowling Congress.
He has three children, including Karson, a ninth-grader who bowls for the Pioneer Central School team.
On Dec. 22, Robbie Hanks registered a 300 game on lanes 7-8 at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion. Previously, the son of proprietor Randy Hanks notched an 800 series in a summer league on May 19.
And on Dec. 28, Scott Allis of Medina recorded a 300 game en route to a 740 series in the Wednesday Community League at Medina Lanes. Allis has been red-hot this season, shooting an 811 on Sept. 14 and a 290 game on Oct. 27.
SCOPANO’S TEAM MOVES TO TOP OF YOUTH TRAVEL LEAGUE
A 15-5 victory over Batavia Strike Force propelled the Scopano’s I team into first place at the halfway point of the Genesee Region Youth Travel League.
Mason Cadieux’s 521 series sparked the Oakfield foursome to the win in Dec. 18 action at Mancuso Bowling Center. Cadieux’s series with handicap was 761, which is high for the season.
The league resumes competition at 1 p.m. this Sunday at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.
Scopano’s I holds a 5.5 point lead over Strike Force, with Perry Bowling Center another 10 points back in the 12-team league.
Individually, Matt Hurlburt of Perry led the way with a 210 game and 575 series for the boys, while Emma Miller of Batavia X-Factor rolled a 190 game and 466 series to lead the girls.
(Mike Pettinella’s Pin Points column appears every other Thursday on The Batavian. To advertise on this page or to suggest story ideas, contact Mike at [email protected]).