Word this week from the United States Bowling Congress that three more bowlers had hit the 50-year threshhold in participating in the USBC Open, the national tournament of the sport, brought Jim Schroeder to mind.
That’s because the Town of Tonawanda veteran and PBA Tour charter member will add to his own personal milestones next month when he competes in his 66th Open.
“Right now, I’m not throwing the ball too bad. I should be able to score 190 or 200, somewhere in there,” Schroeder said Friday. “The only thing that would stop me from going is if I break my arm or something.”
The record for most Opens is shared by Joe Norris of San Diego and Bill Doerhman of Fort Wayne, Ind. They each bowled in 71 tournaments.
Recently, Sylvester Thiel of Lake City, Minn., bowled in his 69th open. He is the leader in participation among active bowlers.
According to the USBC record book here, Schroeder has bowled in 606 games in 65 Opens, with a total pinfall of 115,397 and a game average of 190. His streak began in 1948.
Schroeder plans to bowl in Reno on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 21 and 22, then will stay for the annual USBC Hall of Fame Banquet on the 24th. It’s the week of the USBC Convention.
Schroeder will bowl singles, doubles with his nephew Duane Harris, and then join old friend Glenn Allison, who will bowl for the 63rd year, and Ed Bauer for the team competition.
Each year, Schroeder makes two trips to the Open, the first on behalf of the Special Olympics during opening week.
Keeping his participation streak going and adding to his totals is almost an obsession. The Special Olympics bowling is a labor of love for Schroeder.
“We have 300 bowlers and couple them with tournament bowlers. We have a banquet, give them a bowling pin and a shirt and have a dance. It’s a nice affair,” Schroeder said.
“This year funding was down a little bit. I’m hoping we can do something special next year in El Paso to celebrate the 25th year of the program.”
Maryvale’s Hannon honored
Freshman Melanie Hannon (Maryvale) was named bowling Rookie of the Year in the Northeast Conference for Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
Hannon has helped the Knights (85-27), who are ranked No. 5 in the country, to one of the eight bids to the NCAA Women’s Bowling Championships in Wickliffe, Ohio, April 10-12.
Fairleigh Dickinson made the NCAAs despite a disappointing showing in the Northeast Conference Tournament.
During the season Hannon claimed conference Rookie of the Week honors seven times. Her personal highlight was leading FDU to the No. 1 seed for the finals of the Music City Tournament in Nashville, Tenn., which featured every ranked team in the national coaches poll.
Hannon posted a 22.12 overall frame average, including 21.86 for Baker game frames. She filled 93.1 percent of her frames, threw 56.1 percent strikes and converted 87.9 of her spares.
Hannon posted a 224.8 game average during six traditional team matches, second on the individual leader board against several All-America bowlers. She had four games of 230 or higher.
“I am extremely proud of Melanie Hannon, who performed at an elite level in the strongest field of the year,” said Fairleigh Dickinson coach Mike LoPresti.
“She just missed the highest average by three pins and is exceeding all expectations.”
• The 22nd Annual Western New York Senior Masters will be held Saturday, April 15, and Sunday, April 16, at Kenmore Lanes.
There will be three-game qualifying rounds at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on April 15 and a noon round on April 16 with one in four bowlers moving on to the next round. The finals will be a five-bowler stepladder using the two-game total pinfall format. Entry fee is $50 with $500 added to the prize fund.
“There is no deadline. It’s basically a walk-in tournament,” says tournament director Ray Bellet.
Gary Kinyon of Lockport, who has won four of the last five titles, is the defending champion.
• Norm Duke, the popular pro from Clermont, Fla, who holds the PBA record as the youngest player ever to win a PBA Tour title, will join the ranks of the 50-and-over players when he bowls in the Pasco County Open in New Port Rich, Fla., April 12-15. It’s the opening event of the PBA50 Tour season.
Duke, who turned 50 this week, was 18 years and 345 days old when he defeated Tom Milton of St. Petersburg, Fla., 238-204, to win the 1983 Cleveland Open. He is tied for third with Pete Weber on the all-time PBA Tour titles list. Parker Bohn III, who has 33 PBA Tour titles himself, also is eligible for the PBA50 for the first time, along with Dave Arnold, the Scroggins twins, Mark and Mike, and Rick Steelsmith.
• John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda will be in action in Sunday’s telecast (ESPN, 5 p.m.) of the PBA’s Elias Cup semifinal match between L.A. X and the New York City WTT KingPins. Szczerbinski will bowl in the alternate shot doubles match with Pete Weber against L.A.’s Mika Koivuniemi and Bohn and will be in the KingPins’ team lineup along with Weber, Jake Peters, Scott Norton and Stuart Williams.
L.A. X is led by PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte, who will face Weber in the opening singles match.