In the Pocket: Kuhlkin’s sensational run comes to an end

Liz Kuhlkin was third in this week’s USBC Queens tournament in Reno, Nevada and earned $6,000.
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Liz Kuhlkin was third in this week’s USBC Queens tournament in Reno, Nevada and earned $6,000.

After a long flight home from Reno, Nevada, Liz Kuhlkin had plenty of time Wednesday to reflect on her disappointing loss in the stepladder finals after an otherwise sensational run during the USBC Queens Championship at the National Bowling Center on Tuesday.

Despite a brilliant week of qualifying and throughout the grueling match-play portion of the major tournament, the 27-year-old former Schalmont High School and Nebraska standout lost to Missy Parkin 223-211 when Parkin struck out to force Kuhlkin to throw a double in the 10th frame. Kuhlkin’s first toss in the 10th sailed wide, leaving a 2-pin, and she came up just 12 pins short of advancing to the final match. Former Nebraska teammate Julia Bond ended up defeating Parkin for her first PWBA crown.

Kuhlkin, the second seed, got off to a fast start with a spare and four consecutive strikes to grab a 31-pin lead, but she left a Greek church split (4-6-7-9-10), and Parkin was suddenly back in the match. Kuhlkin struck in the seventh and eighth frames, but left a solid 10-pin in the ninth frame. Parkin finished with four straight strikes to put the pressure back on Kuhlkin.

“I quite simply didn’t throw my best shot,” Kuhlkin said about the 10th frame. “I had a ringing 10-pin before that. I didn’t want to leave another Greek church, so I overcorrected and missed my target wide.”

Kuhlkin, a two-time PWBA champion, including the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, was making her fourth stepladder finals in a major. She ended up finishing in third place and earned a $6,000 check.

“There was quite a bit of oil still on the lanes,” she said about the 42-foot oil pattern. “I couldn’t open up my angles too much, as the bowlers before me were also playing more left, as well. I still had to keep the ball in front of me and forward-roll it.

“I was using a brand new ball in the stepladder finals, a Radical Incognito Pearl. The idea was to have another asymmetrical pearl piece to keep the ball in front of me so I could have more reaction down lane. I was using a Hammer Obsession Tour earlier in the tournament, and it did pretty much the same thing for me.”

Kuhlkin said the Queens was a bit different than other majors she has competed in.

“No total pins are carried over, and once match play begins, you are pretty much starting all over,” she said. “But I bowled phenomenally all week, and I’m trying to come to terms with how it ended. The environment — with no fans and no TV crew — didn’t bother me too much, but the match moved pretty quickly.”

Kuhlkin, who recently won her third straight NYS Queens Championship and also helped set a one-game team record (since broken) during the USBC Championships, has been on fire of late. She also took the all-events lead in the USBC Championships Diamond Division as her team moved into first place. She still owns the all-time national record for high triple for a female bowler (890) and her sparkling career resume also includes two national championships and three All-America honors while at Nebraska, as well as six medals for Team USA and three more for Junior Team USA. She is also a former Donato Scratch Singles champion.

“I felt I was destined to win this tournament, and I wanted to win it very badly,” Kuhlkin said. “I’ve won the U.S. Open and three straight NYS Queens tournaments. This would have been the bow on top of the wrapper. It hurt that I didn’t get it. I felt I was right there and it slipped through my fingers.

“But I can’t let it ruin the way I’m feeling about the tournament. I was disappointed and very upset [Tuesday] night after the tournament. It was something I wanted so much, because I wanted to win it for my fans back in the 518, but I’ve settled down now and I realize I will learn from this. I still finished third in a major, and I know this will make me better.”

Kuhlkin, known as “Queen B” to her many friends on social media, returns to New York to bowl in the PVL Open in Farmingdale May 27-29 before competing in the Albany Open at Kingpin’s Alley in South Glens Falls June 3-4.

NYS USBC OPEN RECAP

Capital Region bowlers earned their share of titles and cash as the 96th annual NYS USBC Open Championships wrapped up its month-long, 26-squad run last weekend at Boulevard Bowl.

In team competition, the top local squad was FPI Mechanic from Ravena, which captured the Division 1 (1,001 and over team handicap) division with a pinfall of 3,450. Coonrad Four from Waterford was second in the Division 2 (1,000 and under handicap) team division with a pinfall of 2,898. The top scratch team locally was Just The Top from Schenectady in 11th place with 3,141 pins.

Lefty Jessica Aiezza of Mechanicville teamed up with old college buddy Ron Broege of Commack to win the Division 1 doubles crown with a score of 1,440, eight pins ahead of the Ravena tandem of Tony Cacckello and Matt Sherman (1,432) and nine ahead of the Glens Falls duo of Rick Bogholtz with Ray Tennant (1,431). Aiezza and Broege were also the scratch champs.

Schenectady’s Liz Criscuolo, a two-time Schenectady USBC Women’s Singles tournament champion, and partner Sarah Krager of Endwell won the Division 2 doubles division with a 1,408.

In singles, the top local finisher was Clifton Park lefty Pete Dougherty, who was 15th with a 699 scratch total and 19th with a 707 handicap total in Division 1, for bowlers with an average of 201 or higher. In Division 2, Donald DeVoe of Cohoes was third with a 666, and Jacob Billa was seventh with a 653.

The Gloversville tandem of Matt Hart (1,763) and Alan Earley (1,723) were first and fourth, respectively, in the Division 2 all-events division. Nick Harris of Waterford was fourth (2,098), and Anthony Scaccia of Voorheesville was seventh (2,052) in the Division 1 all-events division.

Mike Vincenzi of Mahopac and Matt Spain of Troy won the ball raffle from Motiv. After average verification, checks will be mailed within 30 days. Next year’s NYS Open Championship will be hosted by Spare Time Latham.

Following are the top five in each division:

Division 2 team handicap — JR Logging No. 2 (Rhinebeck) 3,329, Coonrad Four (Waterford) 2,898, Crooked Pines (Pittsford) 2,871, St. Somewhere (Rochester), 2,869, Hornell No. (Campbell), 2,822.

Division 1 team handicap — FPI Mechanic (Ravena) 3,430, El Paso Delay (Rochester), 3,301, Lighthouse Lanes No. 1 (Oswego) 3,331, Lighthouse Lanes No. 3 (Oswego) 3,286, Hooks Pro Shop (Cicero) 3,285.

Team scratch — El Paso Delay (Rochester) 3,341, Hooks Pro Shop (Cicero) 3,285, Team “Good Stiff” (Norwich) 3,282, Burnst Books II (Cicero) 3,274, Lighthouse Lanes No. 1 (3,250).

Division 2 handicap doubles — Liz Criscuolo-Sarah Krager (Endwell) 1,408, Justin Herzberg-Tim Lopez (Orzone Park) 1,263, John Sickles-Tony Cacckello (Ravena) 1,233, Jamie Currie-Jessica Green (Alfred Station) 1,225, Dennis Porter-Melinda Johnson (Waterloo) 1,203.

Division 1 handicap doubles — Jessica Aiezza-Ron Broege (Commack) 1,440, Tony Cacckello-Matt Sherman (Ravena) 1432, Rick Bogholtz-Ray Tennant (Glens Falls) 1,431, Mike Kissel-Noel Ocasio (Glens Falls) 1,431, Patrick Kohanski-Scott Stachnik (Cicero) 1,413.

Doubles scratch — Jessica Aiezza-Ron Broege (Commack) 1,440, Patrick Kohanski-Scott Stachnik (Cicero) 1,413, Sarah Germano-Daniel Vick (Rochester) 1,405, Zac Gentile-David Meyer (Staatsburg) 1,387.

Division 2 singles handicap — Mike Vincenzo (Shrub Oak) 688, Shawn Davis (Rochester) 673, Ron DeVoe (Cohoes) 666, Shannon Rhodes (Newark Valley) 662, Justin Tibbitts (Pittsford) 662.

Division 1 singles handicap — Matt Cleary (Webster) 781, Dave Jecko (Rome) 773, Steven O’Dell (Rochester) 765, Eddie Torres (Stone Ridge) 751, Nick Perrone (Mahopac) 748.

Singles scratch — Dave Jecko (Rome) 773, Eddie Torres (Stone Ridge) 751, Nicholas Perrone (Mahopac) 748, Matt Cleary (Webster) 741, Ron Broege (Commack) 738, Nick Wells (Staatsburg) 738.

Division 2 All-Events — Matt Hart (Gloversville) 1,763, Dennis Lockwood (Westbury) 1,748, Mike Vincenzi (Shrub Oak) 1,726, Alan Earley (Gloversville) 1,723, Tony Cacckello (Ravena) 1,717.

Division 1 All-Events — Daniel Vick (Rochester) 2,120, Ron Broege (Commack) 2,103 ,Mike Kissel (Commack) 2,100, Nick Harris (Waterford) 2,098, Robert Hoefer (Oswego) 2,074.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Speaking of the NYS USBC Open Championship, I must commend the Boulevard Bowl staff, led by proprietor Mike Scaccia and general manager Craig Smith, as well as Ryan Karabin, Larry Belak, B.J. Smith, Terry Prendergast, Zach Mecca and Tony Bianchi, who were all generous with their time during the long event. A big thumbs-up as well for Spark Derenzo and his crew in the restaurant, as well as all the waitresses who wore out the carpets serving their customers. They did a fabulous job all month long.

Putting on a huge event like this is not easy. Along with the NYS USBC, the host Schenectady USBC gave the tournament much-needed support for running the brackets, distributing the numerous fund-raising raffles, selling shirts, mugs, glasses and bag tags, as well as helping to correct scores and report lane problems. Three cheers for Schenectady USBC president Bill Nolan, association manager Lloyd Denny, former president and current treasurer Steve Renzi and board members Sharon Sager — my pick for staff MVP — Chet Ciembroniewicz, Brant Insero, Matt Swiatocha, Kim Swiatocha, Ron Zadrozny, Kristen Zadrozny, Marianne Hogle, Jeanne McCartney, Jackie Oliveira and Anne Torak, as well as former board member John Mecca and several helpful youngsters. Many of these volunteers spent 10-12 hours or more at Boulevard Bowl every shift they worked.

STRIKES & SPARES

Regional pro Don Herrington of Ballston Lake finished sixth in the PBA50 Central Region Baldo Campana Memorial in Lorain, Ohio.

Albany’s James Brown defeated Michael Pierce of Wynantskill 240-198 to win the Season Ending Spring Handicap Tournament Sunday at Uncle Sam Lanes.

Zach Bogholtz, from Columbia High School, won the Ripping The Rack Grand Prix Junior Division title in Cranston, Rhode Island.

In the final event of the season, Brandon Vallone captured his fifth Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour crown at East Greenbush Bowling Center with a six-game block of 1,224.

Colonie High School grad Amanda Chrzanowski, a senior at Fairleigh Dickinson, was once again named an honorable mention All-America by the National Tenpin Coaches Association.

Town & Country Lanes will host the TNC Summer Series every Thursday night through July 15 at 6 p.m. Each night will be a separate tournament. Entry fee will be $20, plus a $5 membership fee. There will be four games of qualifying across four pairs, with the top four bowlers advancing to a seeded single-elimination bracket. Call 518-456-1113 for more information.

Sportsman’s Bowl’s Baker Trio league runs for 10 weeks every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The cost is $20 per week. First place will be $1,800, based on 16 teams. Each team bowls six games on the same pair each night, and each bowler will bowl two of the six 10th frames. Call 518-355-4330 for more information.

Sportsman’s PBA Experience League runs every Thursday for 10 weeks at 7 p.m. Cost is $12 a week. Three-person teams bowl four games per night and five different sport patterns will be used.

The Electric City 600 Club is hosting the NYS Women’s 600 Bowling Club Tournament June 11-12 at Boulevard Bowl. The association’s annual meeting will be held June 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the Rotterdam Elks. This is the first time in the 53-year history of the event that it is being hosted by Schenectady.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].

Categories: Sports

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