In the Pocket: Working on mental game spells success for Martinez

R.J. Martinez is enjoying another strong season on the lanes in four top leagues.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

R.J. Martinez is enjoying another strong season on the lanes in four top leagues.

R.J. Martinez’s name certainly belongs in the upper echelon of Capital Region bowling standouts. There is no doubt that his physical skills on the lanes have enabled him to post some very impressive numbers over the last decade or so.

But the 33-year-old Ballston Spa native is concentrating more on his mental game these days, and it’s recently starting to pay dividends.

The former lane mechanic for both Tippy Bowl in Ballston Spa and Towne Bowling Academy no longer makes a full-time living on the lanes, and he doesn’t get to practice as often as he used to. Yet he’s made a few changes in his equipment and with his thought process on how to attack each shot. He’s also tweaked his mental attitude.

“We drilled a couple of new balls recently,” said Martinez, who gets his bowling equipment drilled at Matt Fazzone’s Action Bowling Supply at Towne Bowling Academy. “I’m now using a Brunswick Melee Jab Blood Red as well as a Storm IQ Nano Pearl. We drilled them at the same time. I would say it’s more about my hand than the ball. I’m just trying to work through some swing changes and some mental blocks I’ve been having.

“Lately, I’ve been talking things out with Marty [Towne Bowling Academy proprietor Marty Capullo Jr.], and it’s seemed to help me. I don’t have the time for practice any more since I got a new full-time job. I used to be able to practice quite a bit when I was working at Towne.”

Martinez, who currently works in the detail department for Manheim Albany, used to practically live at the bowling center between working and bowling. He developed one of the best physical games in the area, once bowling an outstanding 885 triple, which at the time was four pins shy of Bob “Goose” Faragon’s Schenectady Bowling Association record of 889. That mark was since surpassed by PWBA standout Liz Kuhlkin of Rotterdam with a national women’s record of 890.

Martinez currently has 58 perfect games, 27 800 triples and a high four-game series of 1,048.

Among his notable bowling achievements are finishing 30th at the prestigious USBC Championships in 2013, when he rolled a 290 game at Stadium Lanes; winning a mini Bud Bowl Six-Game Shootout in 2008; and finishing in the top 24 at the 2018 Bud Bowl in Oswego. Martinez also triumphed three times in the now-defunct Huck Finn Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York Capital Region Bowling Show. He appeared in the Jack Scaccia Memorial twice in that weekly tour. He’s also had two runner-up finishes in the Northern Bowling Association tour, and once finished fourth in the highly competitive New England Bowling Association tour.

He finally achieved a lifetime dream in 2018 when he earned his PBA Tour card, but that experience wasn’t quite what he had hoped.

“I ended up bowling in three national stops and four regionals,” Martinez said. “I didn’t cash in any of them. The best I did was on the national tour in the Delaware stop. I missed the cut by 50 pins.”

Martinez is brutally honest on why his pro career didn’t work out.

“My equipment was a little bit of the problem,” he said. “I couldn’t go out and just drill up a new ball all the time like a lot of the pros do. Plus, when the lanes would break down, I would lose the back end. I wasn’t able to loft the ball over the gutter like a lot of the pros do. I can loft it but then I can’t carry.”

Martinez learned a lot from that experience.

“I’ve learned quite a bit about controlling my emotions,” he said. “The mental thing is still an issue, but now when I have my little fry out, it’s done and gone. For the most part, I’ve been able to bring my emotions back down.”

Like all serious bowlers, Martinez was devastated by the shutdown of local bowling by the COVID-19 pandemic last March.

“I was bowling very well at that time of the season,” Martinez noted. “I finished in the top four in qualifying at the Bud Bowl and earned a nice bye in match play. But then the pandemic hit, and I didn’t throw a ball for five months. I had all the momentum in the world going for me, and all of a sudden, it’s gone.”

Currently, Martinez is enjoying an excellent campaign. He’s bowling in four leagues, two each at Towne Bowling Academy and Sportsman’s Bowl. Martinez leads the Towne Majors at Towne Bowling Academy with a 235 average. He’s among the top 10 in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City League Monday nights with a 232 average, also at Towne.

At Sportsman’s Bowl, he’s averaging 222 in the Capital District All Star league Thursday nights, and 235, among the top five, in the Vitalo Classic Saturday nights.

“For me, they hook a little more at Sportsman’s, but I play them about the same at the break point,” Martinez said. “I try to look at about the 7 or 8 board down lane. I’m a little straighter overall than I used to be. I’m a little older now.

“When I’m bowling well, I’m thinking through every shot. I’m focusing more on what the lanes are doing in transition, and I’m paying attention to every shot. I love the way Matt drills balls for me. We can talk things out. I understand enough about ball motion to explain what I want him to do. Occasionally I’ve even drilled my own balls.”

Martinez is hoping to bowl well in several holiday tournaments in the next few months. His biggest goal is to win the Donato Scratch Singles Tournament at Towne Bowling Academy. That popular event, named after the deceased legendary local bowlers Joe Donato and his son Tom, was canceled last spring because of the pandemic.

“I want to win Tommy’s tournament,” he said. “I had a couple of near misses in that tournament, and it really bothered me.”

STRIKES & SPARES

Rich Strath finished 18th, and Don Herrington placed 20th in a last weekend’s PBA50 stop at Bryan’s Bowling Center Open in Delaware. They each earned $275.

The Amateur League Bowlers Association of New York’s annual doubles tournament will be held Sunday 9:30 a.m. at Spare Time Latham. Entry fee is $100 per team. Only bowlers with averages of less than 215 are eligible. Handicap is 100% of 215 with a maximum of 75 pins per game. Top prize will be $900, based on 45 teams. Call Jim Burton at 518-209-4748 to register or for more information.

The final Town & Country Lanes Sweeper Series of the season will be held Sunday at 10 a.m. Entry fee is $40, and handicap is 90% of 215. Call 518-456-1113 for more information.

Sportsman’s third Eliminator Sweeper of the season is set for Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. Entry fee is $30. There will be a three-game qualifier, with half the field being cut. The cuts will continue until there are two bowlers remaining. Top prize is $350, based on 40 entries. Call Chris Fawcett at 518-9372 or Sportsman’s Bowl at 518-355-4330 for more information.

The 11th annual Handicap Team Tournament at Towne Bowling Academy continues this weekend with shifts Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Top prize for the four-person event is $4,000 per team. There is an optional singles event, using your team score. Top prize for the singles event is $450. Handicap will be 90% of 225, with a maximum handicap of 50 pins. Call Towne Bowling Academy at 518-355-3939 for more information.

Towne Bowling Academy is also offering two other major tournaments this month. The 2020 Holiday Open is for juniors on Dec. 28 and Dec. 29, with bowlers able to walk in any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. There will be boys and girls under-18, under-15 and under-12 age divisions. Entry fee is $30. Also set at Towne will be a New Year’s Eve Tournament Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. Entry fee is $40 per person. Bowlers will roll four games, moving pairs after two games. Handicap will be 75% of 220. One in five will cash.

Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy had two big events this month. The Uncle Sam Lanes Three-Person Team Handicap Christmas Tournament is set for Dec. 23 (2 p.m.), Dec. 27 (7 p.m.),Dec. 30 (2 p.m.), Dec. 31 (2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.) and Jan. 7 (noon and 3 p.m.. Entry fee is $30 per bowler. Handicap is 90% of 220. Top prize is $1,200 guaranteed, based on 100 teams.

Also at Uncle Sam Lanes will be the 10th annual Digger’s Doubles Tournament Dec. 19-20. Entry fee is $130 per team. One bowler must be older than 50, and the other must be younger than 50. First place will be $4,000. Call Uncle Sam Lanes (518-271-7800) for reservations.

Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center in South Glens Falls is hosting its New Year’s Day Tournament at 11 a.m. First place will be $2,000, and second place will be $1,200. Entry fee is $125. The format will be a six-game mini marathon. Also included using the same scores, but with separate entry fees, will be a three-game sweeper and a 12-game doubles event. Call 518-793-9606 for more information.

The 17th annual Schenectady-Scotia Women’s 500 Club Snowball Bowl Scotch Doubles tournament will be held Jan. 17 at 1 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl. The tournament is open to all members of the 500 Club. Anyone who has bowled a 500 triple can enter by joining the club. Entry fee is $17 per person plus a $5 entry fee for new members. Applications are available at all three Schenectady USBC bowling centers: Boulevard Bowl, Sportsman’s Bowl and Towne Bowling Academy. For more information contact Ursula Pasquerella (518-357-0914).

MAJOR BOWLING

Jamie Diamond slammed a 279-810, Joe DeVillas hammered a 299-787 and Matt Swiatocha tossed a 297-782 to lead the Sportsman’s Majors Monday night at Sportsman’s Bowl.

Schenectady USBC Hall of Famer Joe VanDerLinden fired a 278-792, Jason Brown tossed a 745, Scott Chastenay rolled a 739 and Jessica Aiezza produced a 267-730 in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City League Monday night at Towne Bowling Academy.

P.J. Derenzo rolled a 278-978 four-game series, and Mark Hansen delivered a 280-939 to lead the Frank DePalma Boulevard Classic at Boulevard Bowl Tuesday night.

Ryan Gahan produced a 992 four-game series, VanDerLinden excelled again with a 989, Don Herrington shot a 985 and Aiezza topped the women with a 247-923 in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial Mixed Doubles league Wednesday night at Towne Bowling Academy.

In the Amsterdam Men’s City league at Kelly’s Imperial Lanes, A.J. Bryk delivered a 278-982, and Jon Schultz fired a 257-981.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL CITY LEAGUE

Standings

J&F Lawn Care 27-9, DeCrescente Distributing 25-11, Towne Bowling Academy 24-12, Syron’s Meat Market 24-12, Downs Roofing 23-13, 20 North 22-14, Vito Sindoni & Son 21-15, TSS Printing & Awards19-17, Team 4 17-19, D&D Landcare 12-24, Action Bowling Supply 12-24, KKV Recovery 11-25, Home Tech Electric 8-28, Rollarama 7-29.

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Match summaries

Vito Sindoni (3)

Scott Chastenay 256-266-217 — 739, Mike DiCerbo 228-227-201 — 656, Rich Strath 279-171-194 — 644, Joe VanDerLinden 247-278-267 — 792. Totals: 1,010-942-879 — 2,831.

Rollarama (0)

John Askew 236-199-236 — 671, Keith Lawyer 187-209-201 — 597, Dan Rotter 159-170-222 — 551, Tony Palumbo 249-234-219 — 702. Totals: 831-812-878 — 2,521.

———

Team 4 (1)

Mike Liberatore 220-221-206 — 647, Cassius Boyd 233-171-213 — 617, Charlie Provost 203-226-188 — 617, Lindsey McPhail 259-179-209 — 647. Totals: 915-797-816 — 2,528.

Downs Roofing (2)

Chris Tinkle 184-186-190 — 560, Zach Strachan 212-287-200 — 699, Ryan Karabin 258-239-228 — 725, Billy Wigand 207-243-216 — 666. Totals: 861-955-834 — 2,650.

———

Towne Bowling Academy (3)

Tom Earl 223-216-258 — 697, John Jones Jr. 235-189-234 — 658, Marty Capullo Jr. 228-209-237 — 674, Debbie Capullo 232-205-239 — 676. Totals: 918-819-968 — 2,705.

KKV Recovery (0)

Nick DiCerbo 227-230-215 — 672, Vinny Struffolino 265-187-143 — 595, Jackie Malone 188-179-200 — 567, Bob Faragon 233-199-199 — 613. Totals: 913-786-748 — 2,447.

———

TSS Printing & Awards (0)

Dwayne Coonradt 197-215-204 — 616, Paul Dumas 196-152-217 — 565, Rick Speckhardt 189-214-165 — 568, Steve Wagoner 256-208-238 — 702. Totals: 838-789-824 — 2,451.

Syron’s Meat Market (3)

Ken Wilkins 213-234-213 — 660, Brandon Wolf 236-211-218 — 665, Don Herrington 207-226-226 — 659, Ken LaBelle Jr. 247-185-181 — 613. Totals: 903-856-838 — 2,597.

———

J&F Lawn Care (3)

Jason Brown 212-265-268 — 745, R.J. Martinez 246-249-213 — 708, Nick Stricos 279-201-202 — 682, Steve Hallenbeck 217-215-193 — 625. Totals: 954-930-876 — 2,760.

Home Tech Electric (0)

Austin Zullo 209-152-139 — 500, Chuck Schissler 178-145-193 — 516, Ronnie Zadrozny 177-223-219 — 619, Gabe Criscuolo 173-214-236 — 623. Totals: 737-734-787 — 2,258.

———

Action Bowling Supply (1)

Rit Fazzone 182-166-183 — 531, Bob Messick 265-198-201 — 664, Natasha Bidwell 222-225-205 — 652, Matt Fazzone 256-211-204 — 671. Totals: 925-800-793 — 2,518.

D&D Lawncare (2)

Karrie Blake 205-207-227 — 639, Tom Rogers 241-203-213 — 657, Bill Judge 235-224-246 — 705, Chad Propper 194-227-223 — 644. Totals: 875-861-909 — 2,645.

———

20 North (1)

Tommy Donato 205-202-247 — 654, Kenny Livengood 217-182-279 — 678 Matt Kallner 199-178-215 — 592, Chris Radliff 227-183-191 — 601. Totals: 848-745-932 — 2,525.

DeCrescente Distributing (2)

Jessica Aiezza 245-218-267 — 730, Mark Kuhlkin 227-212-234 — 673, Lee Aiezza 209-246-221 — 676, Mark Kuhlkin 279-242-162 — 683. Totals: 960-918-884 — 2,762.

SPORTSMAN’S MAJORS

Standings

Next Level Detailing 33-11, Muny Grille 31-13, Metroland Photo 30-14, Universal Auto Parts 29-15, Rollin Smoke BBQ 27-17, Mike’s Hot Dogs 25-19, Bob’s Pro Shop 23-21, The Appliance Specialist 21-23, Café One-Eleven 18-26, IDID 11-33, Klonowski’s Pro Shop 11-33, Girgenti’s Café & More 5-39.

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Match summaries

Klonowski’s Pro Shop (1)

Ted Klonowski III (absent) 212-212-212 — 636, Ted Klonowski Jr. 234-154-186 — 574, Jackielynn Noble 190-205-224 — 619, Jim Petronis 223-215-182 — 620. Totals: 859-786-804 — 2,449.

Girgenti’s Café & More (3)

Ernest Laduke 161-166-178 — 505, Rich Ellis 204-299-267 — 770, Jason Deitz 201-215-159 — 575, Mike Piotrowski 254-259-223 — 736. Totals: 820-939-827 — 2,586.

———

Next Level Detailing (1)

Mike Guidarelli (absent) 230-230-230 — 690, Jim Parker 207-244-224 — 675, Tom Siatkowski 178-200-223 — 601, Matt Swiatocha 269-297-216 — 782. Totals: 884-971-893 — 2,748.

Muny Grille (3)

Jay Diamond 210-244-202 — 656, Dave Bingham 212-171-233 — 616, John Musto Jr. 239-244-254 — 737, Jamie Diamond 277-279-254 — 810. Totals: 938-938-943 — 2,819

———

Universal Auto Parts (3)

Andy Smith 256-215-238 — 709, Joe DeVillas 299-242-246 — 787, Chris Smith 247-198-203 — 648, Chris Fedden 240-247-235 — 722. Totals: 1,042-902-922 — 2,866.

Rollin’ Smoke BBQ (1)

John Leone 205-266-230 — 701, David Sader 221-247-213 — 681, Kalynn Carl 254-178-208 — 640, Justin Carl (absent) 236-236-236 — 708. Totals: 916-927-887 — 2,730.

———

Metroland Photo (4)

Steve Renzi 236-184-201 — 621, Mike Gallitelli 207-222-253 — 682, B.J. Smith Jr. 228-245-215 — 688, Bob Tuttle 214-277-231 — 722. Totals: 885-928-900 — 2,713.

Bob’s Pro Shop (0)

Jodi Musto 219-205-212 — 636, B.J. Rucinski Jr. 183-245-231 — 659, Mike Smith 192-244-201 — 637, Ernie Porter 247-183-238 — 668. Totals: 841-877-882 — 2,600.

———

Mike’s Hot Dogs (4)

Doug Semerad 244-231-245 — 720, Tammy Sader 258-245-235 — 738, Kevin Palmer 206-188-202 — 596, Jeff Belli 221-215-220 — 656. Totals: 929-879-902 — 2,710.

Café One-Eleven (0)

Joe O’Toole 185-175-200 — 560, Tyler Mochrie 202-218-247 — 667, Mike Voss 178-220-210 — 608, Joe Venduro 192-183-214 — 589. Totals: 757-796-871 — 2,424.

———

The Appliance Specialist (3)

Melissa Bogholtz 216-205-214 — 635, Steve Fawcett (absent) 185-185-185 — 555, Zach Gravell 234-238-185 — 657, Chris Fawcett 257-268-226 — 751. Totals: 892-896-810 — 2,598.

IDID (1)

Tony Fernandez 204-193-225 — 622, Joe Gordon 161-180-212 — 553, Jim Valentino 243-221-205 — 669, A.J. Perone 217-199-181 — 597. Totals: 825-793-823 — 2,441.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL MIXED DOUBLES

Standings

Sindoni Sausage 168-92, Rogers MotorSports 154.5-105.5, Revolutions Pro Shop 152.5-107.5, Towne Bowling Academy 150-110, Never Enough Performance 141-119, Team 11 139-121, Loyal Nutrition 137.5-122.5 EARRRRL’S 136.5-123.5, CDMVS 133.5-126.5, Next Level Detailing 133-127, Boulevard Bowl 130.5-129.5, Team 9 126.5-133.5, TSS Printing & Awards 122-138, Team 12 121.5-138.5, J&U 121-139, Team 8 118-142, Team 3 115-145, 15 Church 111-149, Sportsman’s Bowl 108-152, A-Plus Heating 77-183.

———

Match summaries

TSS Printing & Awards (11)

Jackie Malone 212-188-223-257 — 880, Paul Dumas 150-208-223-248 — 829. Totals: 398-432-482-541 — 1,853.

15 Church (9)

Aliyah Liberatore 179-225-215-243 — 862, Ben Empie 149-171-191-202 — 713. Totals: 398-466-476-515 — 1,855.

———

Towne Bowling Academy (15)

Debbie Capullo 170-216-214-266 — 866, Ryan Gahan 256-257-235-244 — 992. Totals: 451-498-474-535 — 1 ,958.

Team 3 (5)

Jenn Schissler 243-216-201-209 — 869, Chuckie Schissler 180-170-205-199 — 754. Totals: 473-436-456-458 — 1,823.

———

Next Level Detailing (10)

Kim Swiatocha 172-226-213-256 — 867, Matt Swiatocha 213-223-224-225 — 885. Totals: 403-467-455-499 — 1,824.

Team 11 (10)

Jessica Aiezza 247-225-216-235 — 923, Lee Aiezza 218-217-184-232 — 851. Totals: 482-459-417-484 — 1,842.

———

Revolutions Pro Shop (11)

Lindsey McPhail 228-289-148-214 — 879, Don Herrington 257-278-213-237 — 985. Totals: 497-579-373-463 — 1,912.

J&U (9)

Ursula Pasquerella 184-157-172-192 — 705, Joe Venduro 256-202-246-234 — 938. Totals: 482-401-460-468 — 1,811.

———

Loyal Nutrition (16)

Amber Dominic 215-205-216-192 — 828, Vinny Struffolino 180-275-171-188 — 814. Totals: 437-522-429-422 — 1,810.

CDMVS (4)

Chris Allen-Valenzuela 189-207-200-227 — 823, John Askew 171-236-210-199 — 816. Totals: 378-461-428-444 — 1,711.

———

Team 9 (2)

Kaitlyn Barnes 159-244-162-190 — 755, Nick Barnes 204-166-216-196 — 782. Totals: 388-435-403-411 — 1,637.

Rogers MotorSports (18)

Kelly Chrzanowski 213-193-279-185 — 870, Tom Rogers 255-227-245-194 — 921. Totals: 503-455-559-414 — 1,931.

———

Team 8 (16)

Elizabeth Criscuolo 152-189-201-182 — 724, Gabe Criscuolo 236-239-188-166 — 829. Totals: 470-510-471-430 — 1,881.

Sportsman’s Bowl (4)

Erika Poje 130-205-202-232 — 769, Joe Wolf 193-212-213-157 — 775. Totals: 369-463-451-435 — 1,728.

———

EARRRRL’S (15)

Renee Earl 168-234-191-246 — 839, Tom Earl 268-242-224-233 — 967. Totals: 471-511-450-514 — 1 ,946.

A-Plus Heating (5)

Michelle Largeteau 146-133-167-117 — 563, Tony Pasquerella 175-234-179-141 — 729. Totals: 432-478-457-369 — 1,736.

———

Boulevard Bowl (6)

Lisa Rathbun-Read (absent) 200-200-200-200 — 800, Tony Palumbo 222-216-223-224 — 885. Totals: 460-454-461-462 — 1,837.

Sindoni Sausage (14)

Liz Kuhlkin 226-211-236-205 — 878, Joe VanDerLinden 218-245-258-268 — 989. Totals: 447-459-497-476 — 1,879.

———

Team 12 (12)

Janelle Irwin 193-199-203-193 — 788, Dan Rotter 203-215-213-199 — 830. Totals: 427-445-447-424 — 1,742.

Never Enough Performance (8)

Kate Clark 190-224-194-173 — 781, Jamie Duncan 174-226-245-168 — 813. Totals: 397-483-472-374 — 1,726.

FRANK DEPALMA BOULEVARD CLASSIC

Standings

Derenzo’s Tax Service 12-3, Downs Roofing 9-6, Masons Automotive 8.5—6.5, Kalpro 8-7, D.A. Parisi & Co. 4.5-10.5, Boulevard Bowl 3-12.

———

Match summaries

Masons Automotive (0)

Mark Hansen 246-237-176-280 — 939, Robin Fredenburgh 172-233-171-160 — 736, B.J. Smith Jr. 197-207-185-208 — 791. Totals: 609-677-532-648 — 2,466.

Derenzo’s Tax Service (5)

P.J. Derenzo 222-278-258-226 — 984, Spark Derenzo 201-259-234-211 — 9095, Bob Tuttle 213-214-238-268 — 933. Totals: 636-751-730-705 — 2,822.

———

Boulevard Bowl (3)

Mike Scaccia 235-225-220-258 — 938, Brian Hart 204-257-236-192 — 889, Cory Bennett 158-202-222-195 — 777. Totals: 597-684-678-645 — 2,604.

Downs Roofing (2)

Ryan Karabin 216-184-222-231 — 853, Tony Bianchi 243-268-222-179 — 912, Phil Kilmartin 263-227-212-189 — 891. Totals: 722-679-656-599 — 2,656.

———

D.A. Parisi & Co. (2)

John Mecca 213-185-188-202 — 788, Jeff Williams 268-172-214-199 — 853, Ken Wilkins 217-214-222-185 — 838. Totals: 698-571-624-586 — 2,479.

Kalpro (3)

Keith Lawyer 193-191-256-278 — 918, Kyle Wilkins 245-195-203-247 — 890, Joe Carusone 257-174-191-189 — 811. Totals: 695-560-650-714 — 2,619.

AMSTERDAM MEN’S CITY LEAGUE

Standings

JLD 84-33, Skyview Lounge 73-44, Excellent Autos 68-49, RJ Sheetmetal 67-50, Imperial Lanes 67-50, Team Bryk 57-60, Team Schultz 52-65, Team Mason 52-65, Team Majewski 35-82, Liberatore Electric 30-87.

Leaderboard

A.J. Bryk 278-982, Jon Schultz 257-981, Justin Lansing 267-972, Chuck Rossi 244-933, Mike Miseno 256-921, Mark Majewski 290-903, Bill Mason Jr. 246-899, Tim Grant 257-899, Kyle Kilburn 258-895, Brendan McGillin 279-891.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, Sports

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