The broad nature of bowling

Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist

We are in the midst of my favorite times of any bowling season. The league and collegiate campaigns are well underway and the high school season practice sessions will kick off this week. When you sprinkle in a great benefit for two too cute kids it made for a great week or so.

The Lima Bowling Association Team event was held in Bluffton. I will be honest at first it took awhile for me to get used to these events leaning more to the handicap side of things but then it dawned on me that I have been on a handicap championship team with the Ambroza family and a doubles championship team with Phil Austin and suddenly I feel better.

This year the team title went to a group out of Bluffton the core of which is not any stranger to these pages. Derek Dukes, Brandon Falk, Kyle Siefker, Wyatt Matter and Nathan Cheney under the sponsorship of Chiles Laman Funeral Home took home the title.

The sponsor told the tale here as they easily laid the rest of the field to rest with a score of 3714. Let me break that down a little further, they averaged [with handicap] 247.6 per competitor per game. All I can say is congratulations.

A group led by Tyler Miller with the boring team name Tyler Miller was second nearly two hundred pins off the pace of the champions while Team Whitaker was yet another thirty pins back.

The Ladies District One 600 Event was held in Defiance and was captured by a young gun from that area, Angie Ankney with an actual 710 series. Liz Vaculik took the handicap honors in that event with a 730.

Audra Pyles finished in seventh to lead the bowlers from our area that competed. Elaine McBeth [14th], Sharon Edwards [15th] Susan Wilson, [17th], Wendy Erford [21st], Cathy Bugner [22nd], Kristi Owsley [23rd] and Alyssa Maag [28th] rounded out the strong area presence.

The first phase of high school bowling gets underway this week as high school tryouts and mandated practices can be held. As many of you know the area has always done quite well in district and state action. This season will not be any different in that regard.

What is different however is that this is the first season that the Western Buckeye League will be WBL all the way with regard to league play. It will be interesting to see how things flow. The league will play a nine match season originally designed to parallel the girls basketball season. Venue availability led to some changes but they all appear locked in and ready to go. The odds are very good that the conference will be well represented in district action. State may be another issue. The quality will clearly be there but OHSAA ratios will limit how many DI schools will make the trip. That number still appears to be 1. Things will be different on the D2 side of things but the competition will be stronger.

Staying on the scholastic side of things – I had a great chat on Saturday night with David Miller, clearly one of the best young coaches in our area. The Perry grad is really pumped up about the opportunities of The Racers this season and is looking very forward to the Tier One event they are rolling in this upcoming weekend in Marietta, Georgia. Miller is taking his wife Kayla on this trip and is looking forward to the time spent in the hills of Tennessee

I also had the chance to interface with another great young coach, Tyler Sosby and he has me drinking the Kool Aid that this may be the best team ever at UNOH. Please understand, Tyler believes it and I am only drinking the kool-aid. There have been some great bowlers at the school.

Earlier this year they did a remake of the TOI shirts – Team over Individuals, dropping the s in individual and Sosby is convinced that the team is just that , a team, focused on team goals.

‘We made it to number four in the rankings and we took a couple of weeks off but we have a busy November and I believe we can make it back into the top five. I really like the tourney in Marietta and I feel we will do well!’

It may not be kool-aid but maybe a local smoothie shop can begin serving UNOH smoothies. Oh well I have to Dash!

In closing I have always had a great deal of respect for Jon Burden and that respect grew even broader for he and his wonderful wife Sue and children Matt and Laura this past weekend.

The benefit that was slated for the children of their late son Nick was held at 20th Century and once again bowlers and non-bowlers alike from around the area came out in support.

The family has been on social media thanking everyone who made the evening the success that it was and those thanks are now shared here as well.

It is a memory that will be shared at some point in the future with Frankie and Duke as they grow. Those that contributed to the success of the event can rest assured that Hoss and Sue have a firm hand on the purse strings and the future of two great kids is more secure for the efforts of a community that cares about the families in the game.

See you at the lanes.

Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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