As a math professor at Schenectady Community College for the last 21 years, Ray Ross knows how to crunch numbers and figure out angles.
He also knows how to keep his Royals competitive in a collegiate bowling world dominated by four-year programs.
The SCCC men’s team is ranked 34th in the country overall and No. 1 among junior colleges, according to CollegeBowling.com. The women, not to be outdone, are 49th in the nation overall and second to Erie CC among the two-year programs.
Ross works his magic by grabbing as much local talent as possible and then fine-tuning their games. He’s a master teacher whose job only starts with the recruiting process. As a faculty advisor, he keeps tabs on his bowlers as both athletes and students throughout their careers.
“When I talk to recruits, the first thing I do is discuss what they want to study,” said Ross. “If we have a program they are interested in here at SCCC, then I talk to their parents and invite them in for a tour. My hope is that at the end of their two years, they’ll leave with a two-year degree. Some will get jobs, which is great. But I’m always hoping they will continue at a four-year school. If they are interested, I’ll make all the contacts for them and help them through.”
As usual, this year’s men’s team is loaded with area standouts, like Zach Doty (Columbia), Casey Schoonmaker (Colonie), Tyler Mochrie (Colonie), Jeff Karabin (Scotia-Glenville), Corey Buckley (Colonie), Jake Rivers (Colonie) and Angelo Pacifici (Guilderland).
Doty averages 202.5 overall, which includes all major tournaments on tough USBC conditions, while Schoonmaker is next at 200.5. Mochrie (199.9), Karabin (197.1) and Buckley (195.1) are also having outstanding seasons as the Royals have won 24 of 25 games and are first in the Mountain Valley Collegiate Conference. In MVCC matches, Mochrie is averaging 230.1, followed by Schoonmaker (226.1) and Buckley (225.7).
On the women’s side, Kayla Marois of Ballston Spa, Theresa Shufelt of Watervliet, Brittany Barkley of Schenectady, Stephanie Carson of Albany, Shelby Colegrove of Canajoharie and Brittany Fahd of Albany are all local products. Barkley averages 206.3 in MVCC competition.
“We got very fortunate this year, in terms of our local talent,” said Ross. “Everyone we recruited worked out well. It’s my ultimate goal to send these kids out of here with a chance for a four-year
degree. What they do on the bowling lanes is a bonus.”
Ross, 45, said his most successful SCCC graduate was Danny White Jr., who went on to star at perennial power Nebraska as a two-year starter. “I contacted Nebraska coach Bill Straub about him, and he made their team as walk-on,” Ross said.
Ross knows what he’s looking for in local talent, and he can be seen checking out the area bowling centers for future stars.
“I look for fundamentals and release,” he said. “I can help them out once they get here, but we don’t have room to spare at a two-year school. I don’t mind if they are a little rough, as long as they have talent. I can fine-tune what they’ve got in our practice sessions.”
The Mohonasen High School and SUNY-Buffalo graduate loves to teach, and although his balky back has kept him away from league bowling the last couple of years, he has outstanding credentials that include 43 perfect games, 25 800 triples, including a high of 868, and four Northern Bowlers Association titles.
“I’ve got all types of bowling styles on my team, and I don’t teach just one style,” he said. “I’m always reading about bowling instruction, and I stay on top of all the new equipment. But there is no way I could do what I do here without my two assistant coaches, Lou DeVoe and Will Coons, as well as the complete support of SCCC, including my athletic director, Dave Gonzalez, and Martha J. Asselin, the vice president of student affairs.
“It’s all about the kids here at SCCC. They are the ones who deserve all the recognition.”
HUCK FINN UPDATE
Qualifying for the second annual Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York’s Adult/Junior Tournament continues with in-house qualifying at bowling centers throughout the region, as well as Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl,
March 3 at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Middleburgh Lanes and March 16 at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Spare time East Greenbush. There are two divisions. Division 1 is for a team average of 360 and under, while Division 2 is for bowlers with a team average of 361 and over. Handicap will be 90 percent of 225. One in eight teams will advance to the semifinals, set for March 17 at 12:30 p.m. Entry fee is $25 per team. Format will be three games of qualifying. Re-entry is allowed.
Check with your home center for in-house qualifying reservations. The event is sponsored by Huck Finn, Awards by Walsh and Bob Daubney’s. The TV taping will be March 24 at 3:30 p.m. at Cove Lanes in Great Barrington, Mass.
Qualifying for the next regular Huck Finn scratch event will be Feb. 23 at Green Island Lanes at 3 p.m. and Feb. 24 at Spare Time Latham at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. First place will be worth $750 as the NEBNY has decided to cut the top prize for many of the regular events in the second half of the season. Majors will still offer a $1,000 top prize.
If you don’t want to know the results of the Huck Finn Super Bowl Doubles and the Mixed
Doubles events taped Sunday night at Iroquois Lanes in Canajoharie, stop reading now!
All the matches were outstanding, with most going right down to the 10th frame.
In the Super Bowl Doubles, Joe Mazuryk and Mike Drexel edged Mark James and Nick Galusha,
235-222, in one semifinal, while Steve Wagoner and Nick Miseno slipped by Brian LeClair and his son, Connor, 212-208, in the other semifinal. Wagoner and Miseno then took control in the sixth frame and beat Mazuryk and Drexel, 248-214, in the finals to win $1,000 apiece.
In the Mixed Doubles, Seth Adams and Jayme Nieckarz topped Scott Rogers and Jill Frankowski, 235-196, in one semifinal, while Bill Neumann and daughter Suzie Neumann rallied to beat Rick Mochrie Jr. and Kristen Koenig, 247-244, in the other semifinal when Neumann struck out in the 10th.
In the finals, Adams and Nieckarz held off the Neumanns, 216-215, when Bill Neumann left a split in the 10th frame. A nine-count would have tied the match, and a strike would have won. Adams and Nieckarz took home $700 each.
By the way, Jim Petronis and Laura Rotter rolled 300 games during qualifying at Sportsman’s Bowl, while Tim Banta fired an 814 triple.
STRIKES AND SPARES
* Qualifying for the 11th annual Joe Donato’s Scratch Singles begins Feb. 23 with a schedule change. Instead of 3 p.m. at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy, the opening qualifier will be at 2 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl ($50 entry fee). Qualifying continues at various centers until the finals are held at Sportsman’s Bowl March 17 at 9:30 a.m. and noon.
* Former Shenendehowa High School bowling team captain Francesca Brown is competing for the University at Albany men’s club team. Last weekend, she rolled a 670 to finish eighth in the men’s division. If she had competed in the women’s division, she would have won the last three tournaments UAlbany competed in.
* Former local bowling standout Rit Rogers passed away recently. Rogers once shot a 736 triple at the now-defunct Mont Pleasant Lanes, which was one of the highest triples ever bowled there at the time. He was also an excellent scholastic football and baseball player at Mont Pleasant and competed in fast-pitch softball at Sportsman’s Park.
* Justin Carl of Albany defeated Christopher Hanson of Ballston Lake, 223-210, to win the Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour tournament at Sunset Lanes Saturday. Carl earned a $200 scholarship, while Hanson won a $125 scholarship. Other scholarship winners were Chad Sutliff of Valatie ($90), Lawrence Lang of Rhinebeck ($65), Mike Hartmann of Earlton ($40) and Chris Radliff of Schenectady ($30). The next tournament will be March 16 at Uncle Sam Lanes.
* The PBA Tour and PBA League continue this week on ESPN at 3 p.m., with the Mark Roth Classic and the Mark Roth round of the PBA League competition. The Mark Roth Classic is named after the PBA Hall of Famer who ranks fifth all-time in victories with 34. The four-time PBA Player of the Year was one of the guest speakers, along with Johnny Petraglia, at last spring’s SBA Awards Dinner.
* The next Schenectady/Scotia Women’s 500 Club tournament will be a Mixed Doubles March 3 at 3 p.m. at Boulevard Bowl. Both bowlers must be USBC certified. One of the bowlers must be a member of the 500 Club. There will be a buffet following the tournament for an additional fee. Extra forms will be left at the bowling centers. For an entry form, contact Marie Moorhead on 399-3063 or Marianne Hogle on 393-8907.
* Playdium Bowling Center will host the Bowl for Our Veterans
3-6-9 Tournament March 2 at noon and 2 p.m. Entry fee is $12. Proceeds help provide recreational and entertainment services to hospitalized veterans in VA Medical Centers. Food, baked goods and raffles will be available. Call Kathy Nucci at 458-7639 for more information.
* The third annual Iroquois Lanes Youth Challenge will be held Sunday with squads at noon and 2:30 p.m. The finals will follow immediately. Entry fee is $20. Bowlers will be divided into two average groups: 150 and above; and 149 and below. Both will receive 100 percent handicap to 220. All competitors roll three games, with the top five in each group advancing to the stepladder finals. Call Millard Snell at 993-2965 or Ken Smith Jr. at (607) 264-3164 for reservations.
* Towne Bowling Academy’s Open Double Scratch Challenge will hold qualifiers Saturday at 2:30 p.m., and Sunday at both 9 a.m. and noon. The finals will start 3 p.m. First place will be $2,000, and second place will be $1,000. Entry fee is $130. Teams will bowl four games, skipping pairs after each game. One in five teams advance to the semifinals. The top eight teams move on to the bracket finals, with the top team off each squad receiving an automatic berth into the bracket finals. The semifinals will have a two-game format, with five teams advancing. A sport pattern will be used. Call Towne at 355-3939 for reservations or more information.
* The Troy Bowling Association’s annual 700 Tournament will be held at Hi-Way Recreation in Wynantskill Saturday.
* Many of the top female bowlers in the Capital Region will compete in the 43rd annual Women’s Doubles Invitational Feb. 23 at Boulevard Bowl. For information, contact Kathy Nucci at 458-7639.
* The annual Electric City 600 Club Tournament will be at Sportsman’s Bowl Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. Entry forms have been delivered to the lanes and labeled with the names of the bowlers that have bowled a 600 series. All entry forms must be turned in before Thursday. Contact Marianne Hogle at 393-8907 if you need a form.