John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda earned a place on the 2014 TeamUSA with his third-place finish this week in the United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials in Las Vegas.
PBA Tour veteran Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, and Rochester area native Brittni Hamilton claimed the titles in the Trials and will represent the U.S. at the 50th QubicaAMF World Cup at a site to be determined later this year. Szczerbinski won the 2013 trials and finished fourth in the World Cup held in Russia.
In the final match, Barnes defeated another veteran pro, Long Island native Mike Fagan, who now calls Hurst, Texas home. Barnes blew away Fagan, 231-163.
That was after Fagan needed a one-ball rolloff to get past Szczerbinski in the first match of the three-bowler stepladder finals. The finalists were determined after five games of bowling six games each day at The Orleans Bowling Center.
Szczerbinski and Fagan were tied at 258 after regulation. Szczerbinski bowled first in the extra frame and left the 1-2-4-10 washout. Fagan won with a strike.
“It’s nice to come out on top, and after all these years, I finally get to bowl the World Cup,” said Barnes, winner of 16 PBA titles and one of the Tour’s most popular, affable and fan-friendly participants. “Some of the best moments of my life have come on Team USA. It’s a great feeling to be a part of this team and share victories with them.”
Hamilton hails from Webster, but now calls Wood-Ridge, N.J. her home because she is assistant women’s bowling coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where one of her pupils is Melanie Hannon of Cheektowaga.
A graduate of Vanderbilt, where she was the first bowler to be named the school’s Women’s Athlete of the Year, Hamilton was the 2013 New York State Queens Champion. She is also a past winner of the USBC’s Aleta Crowe Star of Tomorrow, an honor claimed by Hannon two years ago.
To get to the championship match she had to defeat a collegiate star, Sarah Lokker of New Baltimore, Mich., a junior at Arkansas State. Hamilton won, 226-215, and faced seasoned pro Shannon Pluhowsky in the title match. Three strikes in the 10th by Pluhowsky would have shut out Hamilton, but she left the 3-5-9 and chopped it. Hamilton converted the 10-pin in her final frame to take the title. Andrew Herbert of Eden, a freshman at the University at Buffalo, finished 26th among the field of 172 bowlers at the trials. His 6,319 total was ninth best among the Youth Division bowlers in the field, but not good enough alone to earn one of the four boys places on Junior Team USA.
Hannon finished 31st in the trials with a 5,893 total. Her best performance came in Day Four with the 16th best total (204.3 average) among the field of 105 bowlers.
The men and women finalists made Team USA automatically. The National Selection Committee also announced the remainder of the roster, made up of two men and two women based solely on their performance at the Trials and five men and five women who met eligibility requirements, submitted resumes for consideration and also based on Trials performance.
Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga was one of the women’s team selections, along with Shannon O’Keefe, Kelly Kulick, Missy Parkin and Stefanie Johnson while Danielle McEwan and Holly Harris were picked based on their Trials performance.
The men’s selections based on resumes were Bill O’Neill, Tommy Jones, John Janawicz, AJ Johnson and Sean Rash, while Robert Gotchall and Marshall Kent were selected based on the Trials.
Canisius, ECC perform well
Canisius in the men’s competition and Erie Community College turned in impressive performances in two collegiate tournaments held Christmas break in Allentown, Pa. Canisius was 15th among 35 teams with an 8,393 total in the Keystone Quaker Classic and 24th among 36 with 7,983 in the Lehigh Valley Classic.
Bryan Murzynowski led the Griffs in the Keystone with a 1,029 total for five games (205.8 average), good for 30th. Justin Zimmerman was the high man for Canisius in the Lehigh Valley with a 979 total (195.8).
The ECC men were 29th in the Keystone and 30th in the Lehigh Valley. Kyle Bliss led the Kats in the Keystone with 994 (198.8) while Nate Casacci (976, 195.2) set the pace in the Lehigh Valley.
The ECC women finished fifth among 16 teams in the Keystone and ninth among 15 teams overall in the Lehigh Valley. What was impressive was that the Kats were first among two-year colleges in the Keystone and second in the Lehigh Valley. Alicia Alguire (946, 189.2) in the Lehigh Valley and Elizabeth Szpara of Orchard Park (903, 180.6) in the Keystone paced the Kats. Alguire was 16th while Szpara was 20th.
Robert Morris University of Chicago swept the men’s and women’s team titles in both tournaments. Mark Scuderi of Rochester Institute of Technology took home the top men’s individual honors with 1,193 (238.6 average) in the Keystone Quaker.