An all-star field of more than 140 of the top female bowlers in the state will be hoping to wear the tiara this weekend when the 42nd annual New York State Queens Championship is contested Saturday at Town ’N Country Lanes.
Leading a strong local contingent will be 2010 Queens champion Jodi Musto, who will be inducted into the New York State USBC Hall of Fame in June. The Schenectady left-hander is having another banner season, averaging 234 in her highest league. Remarkably, Musto has led the entire nation in scoring average four times. She has 33 perfect games.
One of the intriguing story lines involves another notable local bowler. Debbie Capullo is also a former Queens champion (1995 and 2003). She is averaging 222 in the DV Greco Insurance Women’s Doubles league at Towne Bowling Academy, where her husband, Marty, is the proprietor.
That average is a little low for Capullo, but she has recently revamped her game while working with former PBA touring pro Brian LeClair.
“Last year, I got Lyme disease, and I had muscle fatigue,” Capullo said. “I thought my problems on the lanes were because of that. But I had the privilege of bowling on the same pair with Brian one day in a tournament, and as I talked with him, he gave me a few words of wisdom. I instantly shot a 243 game. My game needed to change, and I guess I was missing the learning curve.”
Capullo has been working with LeClair for eight weeks and loves the results.
“I’ve learned so much,” she said. “Just to watch my ball rotation now, and see how much it has changed, is a thrill. It seems like my game is simpler now, and it’s easier to execute. I’m still on a learning curve, but I’m more encouraged. I love to practice now, and I don’t get as frustrated. Some of my old habits creep in from time to time, but when Brian shows me what I’m doing wrong, I can see it.
“Brian has been working with my push-away and my hand rotation. Seeing the ball snap on the back end and seeing the overall ball movement is great. I’m so excited to work with him and to learn from him.”
Capullo isn’t expecting instant success, but she’s ready for this weekend.
“I’m being realistic. Brian has told me I’ve got to relax and gear down a little. I lock up my body instead of being free. I’m part of my own problem,” she said. “But I’m going to stay positive and try to execute every shot to the best of my ability.
“The Queens is a wonderful tournament, and it’s always a privilege to bowl with the best bowlers in the state.”
Jessica Aiezza, like Musto an outstanding left-hander with plenty of tournament experience, is averaging a whopping 241 in the DV Greco Insurance Women’s Doubles league. She also has led the nation in scoring average, and is comfortable throwing big numbers.
But Aiezza recently had her second child via C-section, and she won’t be at 100 percent.
“I’m a little rusty, and I don’t have extremely high expections,” said Aiezza, who now has a 2-year-old son (Maddox) and a 7-week-old daughter (Lila) to take care of.
“I’m not real strong yet,” she said. “The C-section was an emergency one, so it took a lot out of me. The good thing is that I’m able to bowl. I’ve been back in my league for a couple of weeks now, and I really didn’t want to miss the Queens or the state tournament.”
Other threats from local associations, with entering averages in parentheses, include Albany’s Denise DeCarlo (218), Schenectady’s Pat Buguzski (213), Albany’s Jenean Bailey (218), Albany’s Suzanne Neumann (226), Schenectady’s Bridget Smith (225), Schenectady’s Krystle Auricchio (218), Albany’s Jessica DeVellis (216), Albany’s Danielle Manuli (209), Albany’s Lauren Pulver (211), Schenectady’s Ursula Pasquerella (213), who is a former Queens senior division winner, Schenectady’s Robin Fredenburgh (232), Schenectady’s Kara Stuffolino (201), Schenectady’s Amy Auspelmyer (228), Schenectady’s Kris Impellizzeri (221), Schenectady’s Kylie Pasquerella (202), Schenectady’s Laura Rotter (225), Troy’s Devan Hodlik (214), Albany’s Barbara Newton (228), Albany’s Melissa Bogholtz (215), Kingston’s Patti TeNyenhuis (212), a former Queens titlist, Schenectady’s Carol Crandall (224), also a former Queens champ, Schenectady’s Tina Blake (209), Troy’s Diane Morrell (218), Adirondack’s Helen Waite (230) and Troy’s Kate Messemer (221).
The greater Capital Region is well represented in Queens tournament history. Besides Musto, Capullo, Crandall, the late Barbara Leicht-Bowers won the Queens four times, and Marie Mazone also won the Queens title.
Also in the field will be Liz Johnson, who is averaging 240 in the Buffalo area. Johnson spent time on the women’s professional tours but her claim to fame is being the first woman to bowl in a PBA tournament’s televised final.
There will be two different five-game qualifying squads, followed by the match play semifinals at
5 p.m. and the stepladder finals at 7. First place is $1,100.
HUCK FINN UPDATE
It’s been a crazy year for the Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York’s Huck Finn Capital Region Bowling Show, with several highs and a few lows, as well.
Steve Rock recently rolled the first perfect game on the show when it was taped at Middleburgh Lanes, and many of the programs, especially the popular doubles shows, produced exciting finishes.
But there also have been a few snags here and there with production problems and scheduling difficulties.
There will be another major schedule change this month as the Capital Region Bowling Show won’t have its traditional live TV finals for the season-ending Jack Scaccia Memorial.
Instead of featuring a live broadcast April 28 at Alpha Lanes in Troy, the Capital Region Bowling Show will now tape its finale April 21 at 5 p.m. at Boulevard Bowl. The reason is that the show’s producer no longer works for Fox23.
“I don’t think it will affect us that much,” said NEBPNY executive director Carol Judge, who also is the manager at Spare Time Latham.
“We’re going to do the best we can. We’re facing some obstacles that we didn’t anticipate with the sale of the Fox affiliate. We’re just going with the flow. At least they are allowing us to keep our hour and a half format for the finale. Personally, the taped show is just fine for me. I’ve had my share of dealing with the live shows, back when we hosted the PBA national stops on ESPN.”
Qualifying for the Jack Scaccia Memorial begins Saturday at 3 p.m. at Alpha Lanes in Troy.
Last weekend in the scratch vs. handicap show, left-hander Scott Rogers (scratch division) defeated Ryan Puckey (handicap division) of Colonie, 259-232.
This week, the Huck Finn will compete at Burnt Hills with the annual Kenny Hall Tournament of Champions, beginning at 10 a.m. There will be five games of qualifying, with the top four advancing to the stepladder finals. The TV taping for the T of C also will be at Burnt Hills at about 4 p.m. Top prize will be $450, plus a recliner. Entry fee is $55, plus membership if not already paid. Call Jeff Segel at 439-7628 for reservations.
STRIKES AND SPARES
u Although entry deadline is Sunday for the inaugural Daily Gazette Junior Team Championship, set for April 21 at noon at Sportsman’s Bowl, we will accept entries until the middle of next week. Check your local center for entry blanks. Each local center can send as many four-person teams as they wish to compete. Each team consists of four bowlers from the majors, juniors and preps divisions. There must be at least one girl on each team. Most teams will have two majors, one junior and one prep bowler, but coaches can mix up their squads any way they like. Handicap will be 100 percent of 720. Entry fee is just $20 per team. Pizza and soda will be provided. The members of the winning team will receive trophies, and the winning team will also get possession of the permanent trophy, named in honor of the late Hal Buell, for one year. Entries can be sent to Sportsman’s Bowl or The Daily Gazette.
u Along with the Queens event, many of the best women bowlers in the state will be competing in the 77th New York State Women’s Championships, which are under way at Del Lanes for the team event and at Sunset Recreation for the singles and doubles. The tournament runs through May 5.
u Peru’s Jonathan Bowman beat Brandon Boyer of Hudson Falls, 256-230, in the finals of the Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour at Spare Time East Greenbush.
u The 18th annual Blizzard Bowl continues its team event Sunday morning at 11:45 a.m. at Boulevard Bowl. Entry fee is $60 per four-person team. The singles and doubles portion of the event will be held at Burnt Hills Lanes Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
u Wesley Low Jr., 15, became the youngest winner of a PBA regional event when he captured a PBA West regional in Anaheim, Calif., last week.
u The Schenectady USBC Bowling Association’s City Tournament resumes April 23 at Towne Bowling Academy and runs through April 29 with the second Scratch Team Challenge. Entry fee is $22 per event for team, doubles and singles.
u Schalmont product Liz Kuhlkin, bowling for Nebraska, will compete in the National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championships Saturday night at 8 on ESPNU.