Chris Mahlie and Todd Book may have steamrolled to the top of the leader board on Sunday afternoon and Saturday evening respectively but they are not the bowlers with the biggest targets on their back.
While number one will be more important in the afternoon ofSunday around 4 p.m. it is the number six spot for the ladies and the number eight spot for the men that will be drawing the greatest attention when the final round of qualification begins this Saturday at 6 p.m.
Sydney Albert and defending champion Chandler Stevens hold those slots at the current time.
Generally round three of this great event has been my favorite round for sheer drama but play and even non play this past weekend was noteworthy as well.
Book was 163 pins from the top when bowling began on Saturday evening but he rolled a top qualifying tally of 1893 over the eight game block to take over the lead. Jimmie Ebeling, once one of Book’s recruits at UNOH was three pins off the lead off the strength of one of two perfect games that were bowled on Saturday evening. Bob Edwards rolled the other to assure his place in the field.
Phil Austin who led after round one was up and down throughout Saturday night and sled to twelfth place but was only 35 pins out of the all important eighth slot, certainly doable as evidenced by the play of Book, Ebeling and Brent Miller who made huge strides on Saturday.
The current top eight are Book, Ebeling, Bryan Slaughter, Anthony Kennard, Miller, Jordy Schroeder, Scott Scalf and Stevens. Book, Miller, Schroeder, and Stevens are all former champions further illustrating the fragility of the top spot.
Tony Masterson, Jake Schroeder, Dominique Cruz, Austin and former champion Randy Schroeder are just a mark or two out of the top eight.
Historically somebody always makes a big move to the top on the final Saturday evening and there are all kinds of options for that charge in the field to include Edwards, who has done it before, former champions Dean Meyer and Nick Zachariah and James Riepenhoff who also made a big move this past Saturday. Nobody in the remaining field of 32 would have to make as big a jump as Book did on Saturday night.
Mahlie was secure when play began on Sunday afternoon but was perhaps even more secure after a 1321 six game block on Sunday afternoon. She may not have lapped the field but it would be a major upset if she was not in the field when the match play action begins on Sunday afternoon
The order of the top four changed but the names were all the same when play ended on Sunday. Defending champion Bethany Slaughter had climbed from fourth to second, Donna Childs had dropped slightly from second to third and former champion Onalee Shepler, an ultimate warrior on this day had fallen from first to 4th. The top four seemed to be secure but this event is always full of a shock or two.
This year certainly has the potential for those surprises.
If qualification would have ended on Sunday, Beth Edwards and Albert would have made it to the final dance.
This year however there are more than a handful of competitors in the mix who are ready to have their dance cards punched. Bryana Twining, who remains the defending D2 individual champion, sits seventh thirteen pins out and teen step sisters Lauren Alexander and Allie Meeker are yet to be closed out of the event.
As if things are not tough enough for Albert and those looking forward to the grabbing of seed 6 on Saturday evening, former multi time champions Kari Miller (8) Cathy Grumblis (10) and Shelley Ambroza (12) as well as Kenton legend Amy Albert (11) are far from out of the mix.
This coming Saturday night will be great bowling theater and there is a chance that one or both of the both of the leader boards will look quite a bit different when match play begins on Sunday.
There was a great deal of conversation this past weekend, more than at any recent time that I can recall of the old school appreciation for this incredible event and the need to embrace change.
On Saturday there was an explosion of frustration that two individuals remained in the tournament although there is every indication that they would not be able to finish the event due to prior commitments.
My good and valued friend and co-worker Matt Burden often respectively refers to me as “The Old Guy.”
The very bold stance of a former champion, Mike Kirian may well be when I trend even more old guy/old school.
While I may have and for that matter am delivering the message a little bit differently than he did on Saturday, it does not change the message. For many of us this tournament is still about what it has been about since Tobe Cardone brought it to the house on Main Street in Sixties.
It is for the title, your name inscribed on a trophy with some of the best of all time and the opportunity to hold onto that trophy for a year.
It is not about the Benjamins. If you choose not to believe me ask the great ones that have never held that trophy or named the beverage for the crystal pin. Ask as well if they would surrender any and all prize winnings for one title. There answer may surprise some but not this writer.
See you this Saturday at 20th around 6 p.m.
Be blessed and a blessing to others