The past. The future. The present.


Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist



It seems weekly that I catch somebody looking at a glass enclosed plaque at 20th Century. Often in those conversations there will be opinion given that the plaque needs to be updated. Certainly, at least one party will contend that the “House High” scores that are encased are not current.

Certainly they need to be updated.

I hope they never change the plaque!! If that were to occur so much of the history of 20th Century would be erased as would the history of our sport in Lima. Granted the majority if not all of the scores may need an update – but the memories of those honored need to be maintained as does the memory of an era gone-by.

One of the entries actually goes back to 1973 to a two-star talent. As I recall Jeanne Hanning could sing “Country” almost as well as she could roll a bowling ball. Her citation on the plaque was for a 653 series that she rolled, a high mark for a junior bowler in those days.

Cathy McConnell Grumblis is in the case for 265, again digits that have been topped since. More on that later in this report! Leslie Deal took that standard down as well as a 15 year old when she rolled a 300 game, as reported by mom Gloria Deal Hofferbert, who is hopefully forever enshrined for her own initial 300 game, the first by a lady to that point in time.

Steve Kniola, Tom Judy shooting 300 as youth and John Riepenhoff’s youth 700 set are permanently enshrined.

There is a double mention for Captain D’s that has nothing to do with Kurt Hoff and softball. The date Sept. 20, 1990, when Tracey Sifrit, Brian Stark, John Patterson and Jerry Meeker who rolled the fantastic four-man scores of 1,030 game and 2,878 series, is memorialized. It might be fun to see if that is still the standard.

Two of the greatest ladies teams of all time, Bluffton Flying Service, is enshrined as well. While it may be true that the present and future has a great deal of incredible talent, it is great to see the names, Cleora Golden, Joal Bok, Betty Mericle, Deb Laudick and Fifi Burnett and relive those moments of fun and greatness.

The Icon Laudick and amazing Burnett get another mention along with Jeannete McGuire, Becky O’Connor and Jackie Rector who led a Westgate Ladies team to the wall of fame. Each of those two squads rolled a 2987 when it was unheard of for ladies to roll so well.

Jane Kline, Darrell Smith, South Dixie Trailer Sales with Chuck Kline and one of my former teammates, Charlie Nicholson … I could go on and on.

In fact I will go on a bit, Oscar Dixon, Jim Newby, Ike Boyed, Lee Wilson and Noah Hairston are also under glass for a 1278, when repeat again after me, those scores were just not being rolled.

Perhaps the greatest moment under the glass belongs to the seniors, Viva White, Hazel Friend as well as Ed Rhine and Vernon Kroske.

I cannot help but think of the love for the game and the people in it that Kroske and Rhine had. They contributed greatly to what makes our sport special.

Like others they will be remembered as long as the plaque is displayed, which I hope is for the life of 20th Century.

The future could not be in better hands …

This past Thursday evening I had the chance to work the counter at 20th Century with two of the best future bowlers in our area, James Riepenhoff and Cecilia Riepenhoff. It was a night that vividly revealed how rich to bowling future of our community will be … as long as the stars of the evening make it home from college and not get trapped in far away cities with strange sounding names.

Drew Ambroza grabbed individual glory on that evening by taking the step-ladder final to the Challenge league that is shot on that evening. He defeated Jimmie Ebeling in the finals in a league that is essentially a new tournament every week. These two young men without question will meet again in many championship settings. It was simply Drew’s turn Thursday. Waiting in the wings will be Ian Friesner who was solid on the evening as well.

The night however belonged to the young ladies.

There has been a strong feeling over the last couple of years that as great as some of the young males are – that the ladies will control the future. Cecilia is a future adult champion as are the cousins, Bryana Twining and Morgan Twining as well as Abbey Ambroza. If you look a little deeper into the future Olivia Miller and Tatum Twining as well as Arianna Compton are destined for greatness.

On Thursday the night belonged to Lauren Alexander of Notre Dame of Ohio who rolled a 278, Allie Meeker who shot a 288 game and a 723 series (falling one pin short of the final round) and Jordyn Stewart who rolled a 286 and 746 series and did not fall short of the final round.

Further proof that the stars were aligned both in the heavens and on the lanes, Dayle Aldrich rolled the first perfect game by a junior girl since the perfecto of Deal, roughly seventeen years ago.

To quote Phil Austin, “She packed all 12 shots.” We really should have been lining up off her. He also gave me another message or two for her parents as well as the amazing Dayle.

It will not be her last 300 and it would not surprise me if she was the first of the phenomenal young ladies who cracked the 800 barrier.

The past was brilliant, the future even more so … hopefully next week we can reveal the present bowlers of the year and the hall of fame honorees

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Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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