John Szczerbinski’s victory in the Team USA Trials this week continued the Western New York tradition of sending bowling stars around the world on national teams.
Szczerbinski and women’s trials champion Danielle McEwan of Stony Point will represent the U.S. in the QubicaAMF World Cup later this year. Last year the World Cup was held in Warsaw.
The former Wichita State All-American will be trying to become the ninth American male and third from Western New York to win the World Cup singles.
Jack Jurek won it in 1984 and Patrick Healey Jr. took the title in 1995. The last American to win it was Bill Hoffman in 2007.
“My goal coming here this week was just to make Team USA again,” said Szczerbinski, who earned his third term on Team USA. “Winning this tournament is just icing on the cake, and being able to go to the World Cup? It’s just hard to explain everything I’m feeling.”
Szczerbinski first earned a place on the Junior Team USA in the inaugural USBC Youth Open Championships held here in 2007. He was a member of the U.S. team that won bronze in the 2008 World Youth Championships in Orlando, Fla.
He also was a member of Team USA in 2010, competing in the Lee Evans Tournament of the Americas.
Szczerbinski led this year’s Team USA trials, qualifying with a six-round total of 7,027 (234.2 average). He won one of the daily rounds and finished in the top six in three of the other four. He also had a 300 and a 299 game in the qualifying.
Despite that consistent performance on varying oil patterns, Szczerbinski still had that challenge of getting by defending champion Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash. and Robert Morris (Ill.) College in the last match of the stepladder finals at Sunset Station’s Strike Zone in Henderson, Nev., near Las Vegas. The North Tonawanda bowler triumphed, 218-211, when Kent failed to get the double he needed in the final frame.
Kent, 20, was the runner-up to Shayna Ng of Singapore in the most recent World Cup in November.
McEwan, who comes from Rockland County in the Hudson Valley, successfully defended her title by defeating top qualifier Diandra Asbaty, 267-194, in the women’s final after defeating Josie Earnest of Nashville, Tenn., 199-181.
Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga was among the five women named to women’s Team USA by the National Selection Committee. She first made the national team as a junior team member back in 1992 and has been a frequent representative of the U.S. in international competition.
The three men and three women who advanced to the stepladder finals earned automatic spots on Team USA 2013. Selected on the basis of their resumes were: Chris Barnes, Bill O’Neill, Tommy Jones, Mike Fagan and Steve Smith on the men’s side and Johnson, Kelly Kulick, Shannon O’Keefe, Stefanie Nation and Shannon Pluhowsky for the women.
Also Eddie Vandaniker, Kyle King, Brittni Hamilton of Rochester (Vanderbilt University) and Missy Parkin were picked based on their performance at the trials.
• The Greater Buffalo USBC Association will be the host this year of the Western New York Queens Tournament on Sunday, Jan. 27 at AMF Lancaster Lanes. Entry deadline is Jan. 20, unless extended. There will be one squad only at 10 a.m. with competition in three divisions based on average. There will be a minimum prize of $250 for first place in each division.
• The GBUSBC Me & Mine Tournament will be held Feb. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 1, 3 and 6 p.m. each day at the Broadway Sports Center. Entries can be made online at gbusbc.com. Feb. 1 is the closing date for prepaid entries and reservations. Walk-ins will be allowed if lanes are available.
• The Tonawandas USBC Association will holds its Adult-Youth Tournament with squads at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday at Manor Lanes. The Youth Team tournament will be Jan. 26 at Island Lanes.
Island also will be the site for the Tri-City Masters Feb. 10 and 17.
• Cory Rosa of St. Catharines, Ont., who bowled at Urbana University in Ohio, recently tied the Niagara Falls USBC Association record with an 868 series in the Red Bull Five-Man League at Bowl-O-Drome in the Falls. He started with a 300 and followed with 278, 290. He shares the record with Tom Brady Jr. (2011-12), Gary Kinyon (2005-06) and Howard Wheeler Jr. (2002-03).