By Milt Northrop
NEWS SPORTS REPORTER
Tonight is a special night in Buffalo bowling. The newest class of inductees to the Greater Buffalo USBC Association Hall of Fame will be installed at Samuel’s Grande Manor in Clarence.
It’s an event that happens every other year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, which makes it even more special.
There will be seven inductees – five for outstanding ability and two for meritorious service to the sport.
Tom Harnisch, Brad Kiszewski, Debby Janora, Sally Nelsen and Tony Sorrento will be honored for their accomplishments on the lanes. Richard Hapeman, a leader as a coach and program director for more than 30 years, will enter the Hall for his service to youth bowling.
Retired Buffalo News bowling columnist Norm Warner also will be honored for meritorious service.
Harnisch was a teenage phenom in the sport in the late 1950s and '60s, stepping right in with legends such as Allie Brandt of Lockport, and Bob Strampe, Dick Weber, Don Carter, Dave Soutar and Eddie Lubanski on the PBA Tour and in pro leagues. He was a charter member of the Professional Bowlers Association.
Because of health concerns, Harnisch, now retired in Las Vegas, will not be present tonight. His daughter Brenda will represent him. The other honorees all will be on hand, however.
Kiszewski was a collegiate champion at Erie Community College and then at Wichita State, also a national power in the sport, before embarking on the PBA Tour. He won the Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year Award in 1990. After that promising start, however, Kiszewski retired from full-time participation in the PBA Tour four years later.
He still is active in the sport locally. In fact, he regularly scores in the 700s these days in the Door to Door Home Improvement League at Abbott Lanes.
In his post-PBA career, Kiszewski also had some big paydays in high roller events. In 2000 he won the $100,000 Super High Roller in Las Vegas and in 2001 won the $50,000 Super Hoinke Classic in Cincinnati.
Twice he bowled on teams that won all-events championships in the American Bowling Congress national tournament (now the USBC Open Championship). In 2003, he won the Pete Parisi Award as high qualifier for the George A. Obenauer Masters Tournament.
With a high average of 241, Brad has bowled 45 perfect games and more than 20 800 series. He paired with Jack Jurek to win the 1994 Buffalo Bowling Association Doubles. In 2010 Brad, his father, Whitey, brother Brian and nephew Rudy finished second in the GBUSBCA Championship Tournament team event.
Janora also was a collegiate. Competing for Canisius College, she won the 1976 collegiate singles championship in Indianapolis, a feat that earned her mention in the Sports Illustrated Faces in the Crowd column. Locally she won the Buffalo Women’s Bowling Association Queens Tournament in 1987, was the 1999 women’s Kick-Off Tournament champion and twice earned Bowler of the Year honors (2000, 2001) in the Erie County Suburban Bowling Association.
She was the 1985 New York State All-Events winner as she helped her team to the state championship.
Janora has a high series of 816 on her resume and a 223 high average.
Nelsen, now living in Davenport, Fla., has numerous BWBA team and doubles titles to her credit in addition to the 1975 All-Events title. She was on the championship team with Doris Coburn, Cindy Coburn-Carroll, Billie Pepperday and Grace Williamson in the New York State Tournament in 1991.
Her high average was 201 and she boasts a high set of 725 and high game of 295.
Sorrento, elected in the Veterans Category, has a career that has spanned 60 years. His first title came in 1961, when he won the BBA handicap All-Events. He was the 1996 state Senior Masters champion.
Tony has three 300 games, a high series of 801, and a high average of 230.
In addition to his dedication to youth bowling and youth sports in general, Hapeman has been involved in the sport for more than 50 years as a competitor and league secretary.
For more than 10 years, Warner wrote the weekly bowling column and covered major events in the sport for The Buffalo News. He gave up the column in 2004 when he began spending his winters in Lakeland, Fla., home of his beloved Detroit Tigers.
In his relatively short stint as the bowling columnist he won respect for his fairness, dedication, and enthusiasm in covering the sports. Warner was the Buffalo Area Bowling Council’s Person of the Year in 2002.
For the second time in the last three months, the Buffalo bowling community has lost a major contributor.
Joan Ast, a member of the GBUSBCA board of directors, died in September.
Wednesday, Stella Kolis, who devoted many years of service as an officer, organizer and competitor, passed away.
Kolis was the last secretary of the Buffalo Women’s Bowling Association before the 2005 merger that formed the GBUSBCA. She had succeeded long-time secretary Ethel Vogelsang in 1987. She was a BWBA director for 20 years and served as sergeant-at-arms for six years. After the 2005 merger she was a director of the new GBUSBCA until 2011.
She also was chairwoman for many tournaments and served on several committees. She also was a member of the WNY Women’s 600 Club board of directors and the WNY 500 Club.
In the association she was known for her knowledge of facts and local bowling history.