With the major tournament season upon us, bowlers are traveling far and wide in an attempt to capture a slice of the hundreds of thousands of dollars up for grabs.
Nationally, the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships run through July 15 at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, and the USBC Women’s Championships continue through July 9 at Raising Cane’s River Center in Baton Rouge, La.
(The 2018 USBC Open Championships are scheduled for the Oncenter in Syracuse, but that’s a story for a future column).
In New York, the 93rd NYS Open Championships started last weekend at Ideal Bowling Center in Endicott, near Binghamton, and continue for three more weekends, skipping Mother’s Day weekend of May 12-14.
And the 81st NYS Women’s Championships are in the middle of a five-weekend stay at Tonawanda Bowling Center.
Three Genesee Region USBC teams are entered in the NYS Open Championships – J.E. Currier I and J.E Currier II, captained by Bruce Kraus of Corfu and Roger Stone of East Pembroke, respectively, and the Pretty Birds team captained by Mike Johnson of Batavia.
The Currier teams compete this weekend in Team, Doubles, Singles and All-Events, while Johnson’s team is scheduled for the last weekend, May 19-21.
At the NYS Women’s Championships, 19 teams of bowlers from the Genesee Region USBC are among the 405 teams entered. Only the Syracuse, Rochester and Johnstown local associations have more teams than the GRUSBC contingent.
The GRUSBC teams entered are as follows:
Creekside Construction and Rebels (Bonnie Willey, Geneseo); Huber Farms (Debbie Huber, Attica); Cartwright Racing, Just Us and Wiltsey Girls (Dawn Luckenbach, Caledonia); Crawford’s (Tiffany Crawford, Albion); Star Theatre (Lois Furioso, Wayland); Dogwood Florist (Cheryl Robson, Dansville); Burgio Tire & Co. (Lois Preston, Albion).
Also, MJ Graphics (Mary Jean Durfee, Attica); Thing I and Thing II (Roxanne Clar, Avon); Three Mrs. & A Spare (Amanda Quait, Nunda); Ubi Caritas and Friends (Susan Boring, Albion); Strike Out Cancer (Judy Bzduch, Perry); North Pole (Darleen Balduf, South Byron), and Medina Ladies (Jackie Jurinich, Medina).
You can find complete standings and updates for the NYS Open and Women’s Championships at the NYS USBC website – www.bowlny.com.
USBC ESTABLISHES NEW LEAGUE DESIGNATION, AVERAGE CHART
While tournament bowling may be all “fun and games” for the competitors, those managing these events are faced with the sometimes difficult task of determining entering averages that truly reflect a bowler’s ability.
Bowlers establish their averages by competing in leagues and, normally, tournaments use a bowler’s highest average over a period of time -- ranging from last season to three seasons ago -- based on at least 21 game in a particular league (although some tournaments are now using 12-game averages).
At one time, all averages were treated equally, regardless of whether a league bowler was competing in a bowling center where it was hard to post high scores for a variety of reasons (by design, improper lane maintenance or too much/too little oil on the lanes).
Several years ago, the USBC implemented “Sport” leagues featuring oil patterns that took away the wall of oil in the middle of the lane that makes it easy to hit the pocket. With that, leagues were categorized as either Standard (or House) or Sport.
The USBC also established a Sport league conversion scale which gave tournament managers a tool to adjust a bowler’s average. For example, an average of 192 in a Sport league converts to 216 – a number that represents the bowler’s “house shot” average.
Earlier this week, the USBC introduced a third league designation – Challenge – which is meant to take into account leagues that are bowled on lane conditions that fall between Standard and Sport conditions. As in the case of the Sport league, a Challenge conversion chart will be posted on the USBC’s website – www.bowl.com.
In announcing the move, USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said many bowlers compete in leagues that are not designated as Sport, leagues where tougher oil patterns are used and where oil patterns are changed periodically over the course of the season.
“A thorough examination of bowlers who have competed in both Standard and Challenge leagues showed a discrepancy that needed to be addressed,” Murphy said. “The data showed us that using a Sport conversion for some leagues might not be appropriate, but the averages of bowlers competing on certain conditions did warrant a conversion to ensure they are not gaining an unfair advantage when they compete on Standard conditions.
“This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure the averages of all bowlers accurately reflect a bowler’s ability.”
Starting with the 2017-2018 season, when a league submits its certification, the league secretary must choose one, and only one, of three lane condition options – Standard, Challenge or Sport.
Standard will be for leagues conducted on traditional house conditions, Sport will be for true Sport leagues, while Challenge will be for leagues that use a variety of difficult patterns but are not classified as Sport-only leagues.
The USBC also is looking at data to determine a league’s lane condition designation. Leagues with an average difference of 20 or more pins when compared to a Standard league still will be considered Sport. Leagues with an average difference between 10-19 pins will fall into the new Challenge condition.
Leagues from the 2016-2017 season will be moved into the appropriate lane condition designation based upon final averages and an analysis, and those leagues will be notified they have been moved into a new classification.
I applaud USBC management and staff for their efforts to create a fair tournament playing field. I hope we will see further measures – possibly a bowling center rating system and stiffer penalties for “sandbaggers” and those who report incorrect averages – down the road.
MOUNT MORRIS, PERRY BOWLERS ROLL FIRST 300 GAMES
Congratulations to Vincent Mack of Perry and Cory Hyde of Mount Morris on their entrance into the “300 circle” earlier this month.
Mack, 49, posted his perfect game on April 7 in the Friday Nite 4 League at Perry Bowling Center. Using a Storm IQ, the 194-average bowler finished with the 300 for a 695 series.
Hyde, 35, used a Columbia Ransom Demand to shoot 300-193-209—702 in the Sunday Night Mixed League at Mount Morris Lanes on April 16. He has a 184 average.
For a list of all honor scores in the GRUSBC this season, go to www.bowlgr.com.
DEADLINE IS MAY 1 TO RESERVE SPOT FOR GRUSBC DINNER
Genesee Region USBC members planning to attend the association’s banquet/hall of fame dinner have until May 1 to make their reservations by sending an email to [email protected] or [email protected].
The dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on May 13 at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road.
Tournament champions, scholarship winners and Hall of Fame inductee Robert Foss Jr., who is being enshrined posthumously, will be honored.
Tickets are $25, with GRUSBC directors, league secretaries and Hall of Famers receiving a 50 percent discount. No reservations will be taken after May 1.
This is final column for the 2016-17 season. Thank you to all of the businesses who have supported this column. To them and our readers, have a great summer and hope to be back in September.