Bowling’s future is in the hands, and fingers, of the area’s juniors.
Fortunately, the Capital Region boasts many excellent volunteer instructors who enjoy introducing the youngsters to the game and helping them to improve in junior programs throughout the region every weekend.
The next step is top-notch competition to sharpen their skills for the next level, and that’s where the Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour comes in.
The CDYST’s third season begins Saturday at Spare Time-Latham with a 1 p.m. start. Many of the area’s best young scratch bowlers will get their first real taste of tournament competition, thanks to the work of co-directors Steve Fawcett and Mark Taylor.
Fawcett, a former PBA regional competitor, has been an elite bowling instructor for 20 years, while Taylor, also one of the top area scratch bowlers, won the 1993 National Junior Championship.
“Basically, I wanted to do something for the kids,” said Fawcett, whose son, Chris, rolled 13 perfect games a year ago after learning the game’s finer points from his father. Fawcett’s daughter, Debbie, is also one of the top area keglers.
“For the last couple of years, I’ve watched what happens to the kids when they take their games to college,” he said. “Most of the time, they are totally lost. Initially, I couldn’t get anybody to help me start a program like this, but then somebody mentioned that Mark Taylor might be available, and I talked to him. It’s worked out great for both of us, because I know Mark really appreciates what it’s like for the juniors to compete at a higher level.”
“I just want the junior bowlers to experience what I experienced when I was their age — traveling around the country and competing against the best junior bowlers,” said Taylor, who handles most of the statistics and publicity for the tournaments. “This junior tour is very close to my heart, especially because of the fact that my father passed away a couple of years ago, and he used to watch me bowl in the tournaments. It takes me back.”
Last year, the CDYST gave out just under $11,000 in scholarships, and the organization is hoping for a similar result this season.
But they need bowlers.
“I did a count a couple of years ago, and I think there were about 200 bowlers competing in the [Joey Schmidt] Junior Pro-Scoring league,” said Taylor. “We draw about 15 percent of those top bowlers to our tournaments every week. If we could get at least 20 percent, we would have at least 40 bowlers in our tournaments every week.
“To me, I can’t believe how well we’ve been received by the bowlers, the parents, the bowling centers and our sponsors. We have many sponsors who have been there to help us right from the start. This year, our sponsors include Ebonite, Proforma Lee’s Trophies, Camelot Print & Copy Center and L-Scape Design. All of those sponsors help us keep the price down for the juniors.”
It costs $30 per tournament for members, if paid in advance, and $32 if paid on site. All non-members pay $37. Membership is just $15 per season.
There are many junior programs and tournaments available throughout the area, but most don’t put out the competitive shots that the juniors will need to conquer at the next level.
“I saw my daughter when she first competed at Schenectady County Community College, and many of the other kids were just lost out there,” said Fawcett. “I could get her lined up, but most of the kids struggled when they hit any type of shot that wasn’t the typical house shot.
“What I’m trying to do is to help the kids improve their situation when they go off to college to bowl. They will be better prepared, and hopefully, when the coaches receive our bowlers into their college programs, they will have less work to do in terms of coaching.
“We’ve tried to put down all of the most competitive shots available, depending on what type of house the juniors will be bowling in, whether they are wood or synthetic. We even called Kegel to see if they can recommend the right type of shot. Kegel even named a tournament after our oil pattern.”
Fawcett said he and Taylor enjoy the extra work they put in to make the CDYST successful.
“A lot of people ask me why I still do this, and I tell them it’s because I love the game,” said Fawcett. “I don’t do it for the money. I do it because I love bowling, and I want to see the game continue with our juniors. Hopefully, our tour will give them more of a challenge than what they are used to bowling on every day. A lot of the kids just throw it right and watch the ball come back, but that’s not the way a lot of tournament conditions are set up.
“We hope they appreciate the challenge. If they don’t do well in their first tournament or two, we tell them not to get discouraged. It’s a learning experience for them. We hope they learn a little more each tournament and slowly progress in the game. That’s what we’re all about.”
Each tournament will use a Kegel or Sports Series lane condition, and all participants must follow the CDYST Code of Conduct, which includes appropriate clothing and a collared or mock-collar shirt.
The qualifying round consists of four games (six games for Junior Gold Qualifiers), switching pairs every game. A minimum of one in three bowlers advance to the semifinals. All scores carry over.
The semifinals consist of three head-to-head match games, with bowlers receiving a 30-pin bonus for each win and 15 for a tie. The top four bowlers after seven games advance to the stepladder finals, with the fourth-place qualifier meeting the third-place qualifier and the winner taking on the second-place qualifier. That winner meets the top seed to determine the champion.
A minimum of one in five entrants earn a scholarship prize.
The rest of the first-half schedule: Oct. 20, 2 p.m., at Towne Bowling Academy; Nov. 10, 1 p.m., at Hometown Lanes; Dec. 1, 1 p.m., at Del Lanes; a special Junior Gold Qualifier Dec. 15, 1:30 p.m., at Sportsman’s Bowl and the CDYST Holiday Open Dec. 27-28, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Towne Bowling Academy.
For more information, call 393-8296 or visit www.cdystbowling.com.
When the Sportsman’s Bowl Eliminator begins its first week of finals Oct. 15 at 9 p.m., there will be a few changes from last year’s inaugural season.
Cost will be $15 per entry when qualifying during league play and $20 when qualifying outside of league play or during specified qualifying squads. You can qualify as often as you like.
There will be qualifying squads every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and every Tuesday at 9:15 p.m., plus any times that lanes can be reserved.
To qualify, you can use your league scores or bowl three games. All you need to do is shoot 650, with handicap. Handicap is based on 80 percent of 240. All finalists return the following Monday at 9:15. Averages used will be last year’s book average, unless 10 pins higher this year.
In the first round of the finals, bowlers roll two games on a drawn pair of lanes, with the top bowler from each pair, plus the next four highest scores, advancing.
In the final round of the finals, bowlers roll two more games across two different pairs, with payouts to follow. Payout will be one in four. Maximum handicap is 50 pins per game.
Call Sportsman’s Bowl at 355-4330 for more information.
STRIKES AND SPARES
u Towne Bowling Academy’s Scratch Challenge, the first major tournament for the area’s top bowlers this season, will be held Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m. Entry fee is $50, and it includes jackpots. First place will be $800, based on 60 entries. The format will be a five-game sweeper, changing lanes after each game. The PBA Shark oil pattern will be used. The field will be limited to the first 60 entries. Cash prizes will be awarded on a 1-in-5 ratio, based on total pins. For more information, call Towne Bowling Academy at 355-3939.
u The Huck Finn Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York’s Capital Region Bowling schedule kicks off Oct. 13-14 with qualifiers at 3 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Alpha Lanes and two more Oct. 14 at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Uncle Sam Lanes. Call Jeff Segel at 439-7628 for reservations.
u The Northern Bowlers Association Stockade Open, set for Nov. 25 at Boulevard Bowl, will offer a top prize of $1,000, based on 75 entries.
u Chris Wiseman recorded his first career 700 triple with a 254-704 in the Glenville Bowlers Club league.
u ESPN “World Series of Poker” co-host Lon McEachern, who made his debut in the Professional Bowlers Association broadcast booth as play-by-play announcer for the 2012 PBA Summer Shootout series, will join PBA Hall of Famer Randy Pedersen as the PBA’s telecast team at the start of the new ESPN television season which begins in December.
u Team USA’s Chris Barnes and Kelly Kulick earned gold medals Tuesday in the inaugural World Tenpin Bowling Association World Singles Championships in Limassol, Cyprus. Kulick earned the title with a dramatic 228-226 win over Latvia’s Diana Zavjalova, while Barnes took down teammate Tommy Jones, 212-198, to win the men’s title.
u The Rolling Greens Glenville Bowlers Club needs a four-man team for its Wednesday night men’s handicap league. If interested, call Gary at 791-6535.
u The Daily Gazette league, which bowls Tuesdays at noon at Sportsman’s Bowl, still needs several bowlers. It’s a 100 percent handicap league, with three bowlers to a team. Dues are $14 per week. Call Bob Weiner at 395-3147 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
u The New York State Women’s Bowling 700 Club Tournament will be held Oct. 13 at 2:30 p.m. at Boulevard Bowl. The tournament format will be doubles, and there is a $55 entry fee. One team partic-ipant must be a 700 Club member. The prize fund will be distributed by the teams based on the division in which they qualify: Division A (400 average or higher), Division B (370-398), Division C (368 and under) and Senior Division (60 years of age and older). The 700 Club members also will be competing in their appropriate qualifying divisions for prize money donated by the 700 Club. Entries and new members will be accepted up to the time of bowling. For more information, or an entry blank, contact Diane McGroty at 356-2282.
u The Menagerie league, which bowls at 6:15 p.m. on Fridays, now has six openings. Call Boulevard Bowl for more information.