Local Bowling: Friends Mazone, Hilton also Hall of Famers now

Longtime friends Chris Mazone and Mark Hilton both started out as Albany Bowling Association standou

Longtime friends Chris Mazone and Mark Hilton both started out as Albany Bowling Association standouts, but they each made their mark in the sport once they moved to the Schenectady Bowling Association and were members of some of the best teams in area history.

Mazone, 44, and Hilton, 57, were inducted into the SBA Hall of Fame Tuesday night at the Water’s Edge Lighthouse. Their induction was the highlight of the evening that also included special recognition for Schalmont High School grad-uate Liz Kuhlkin and the Schenectady County Community College bowling team.

Kuhlkin, a sophomore, led Nebraska to the national championship and also was named a first-team All-American, while SCCC, under head coach Ray Ross, won the National Junior College Athletic Association national crown.

Mazone, a member of the SBA for 26 years, has a cumulative average of 225 with a high of 232. He has 21 perfect games, 10 800 triples and a high four-game series of 1,089.

The 1984 Albany Bowling Association Junior Bowler of the Year, Mazone has excelled in both the Vitalo Classic and the Sportsman’s Majors since he switched to the SBA. His team won the Vitalo Classic title twice.

Mazone, a member of the Vitalo Classic Hall of Fame, is a member of the five-person Concord Pools squad that owns the five-person three-game series record with a 3,776.

His team won the New York State Bowling Association team title in 1991, and he also captured a state doubles crown with Al Sears.

Mazone’s teams won more than 10 team titles at both the Green Mountain and Champlain Open tournaments. He has competed in the prestigious USBC national tournament, formerly the ABC Nationals, for 27 consecutive seasons. Individually, he has two Northern Bowlers Association victories and a Huck Finn doubles title under his belt.

Mazone, whose wife, Marie, is one of best female bowlers in area history, sponsors a team through his business, Mazone Plumbing & Heating.

“I owe a lot to some of the great teachers I had through the years,” said Mazone. “I’ve bowled with and learned from bowlers like Joe Don-ato, Jim Burch, Harry Polomaine, Dave Frascatore and Al Sears. I remember Mark Hilton was the one who first told me I should try bowling in Schenectady. I was 17 years old, and we were bowling at Action Lanes together. He told me I should start bowling at other centers, and he suggested I try Schenectady.

“What I take away from the game is all the great people I met in Schenectady,” he said.

Hilton also began his bowling career in Albany. He was the Albany Bowling Association Bowler of the Year four times and is a member of the ABA Hall of Fame as well as a 15-time ABA all-star. He won the Albany City League average title eight times and was a four-time team champion. He has carried at least a 200 average for 40 consecutive seasons.

Hilton has competed in the SBA for 21 years and carries a composite 227 average. His high triple is an 879, formerly the SBA record.

Hilton, a former standout baseball pitcher, owns 89 perfect games and 59 299 games. His high four-game series is 1,109.

Also a member of the Vitalo Classic Hall of Fame, Hilton is part of the team that owns the SBA City Championship record. He was a U.S. Open Match Game finalist seven times.

“Bowling is really a team sport,” said Hilton. “My ultimate accomp-lishment came as part of the Bruegger’s Bagels team. Everybody has one thrill in their life, and that was mine.”

That Bruegger’s Bagels team, which also included Ron Priester, Dave Wolfe, Hugo McGroty and Kenny Hall, set the USBC Champ-ionship record in 1993. It was broken by just one pin just this year.

“I’ve been lucky to meet some great people in this sport, and I learned the game from some of the best,” Hilton said, referring to Jim Lewis, Morris Cramer and Burt Brindisi.

Hilton owns 13 NBA titles, was on the “TV Tournament Time Show” six times and won the Dave Ferraro team tournament in Kingston twice. His teams also won numerous Green Mountain titles.

Bohn, 49, owner of 33 career wins on the PBA Tour, including two majors, was given an honorary membership into the SBA Hall of Fame.

“This area always has a deep space in my heart,” said Bohn. The PBA Empire State Open, which used to be held at the now-defunct Bowlers Club, was originally named after him until the PBA Tour made a rule not to name tournaments after bowlers who were still active.

Bohn is a member of both the PBA Tour and USBC Hall of Fame. He was a two-time PBA Player of the Year and four-time winner of the Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Bob Weiner at 395-3147 or [email protected]

Categories: Sports

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