Although early attendance figures are down, Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour officials believe they are headed in the right direction for season No. 8.
Compared to two years ago, when entries peaked at between 50 and 55 per tournament, the CDYST is drawing an average of only 31 bowlers in its first two sessions at Spare Time-Latham and East Greenbush Bowling Center, respectively. But Mark Taylor, who runs the tour with co-director Steve Fawcett, points out that most of the premier Capital Region junior bowlers still test their talents in the CDYST. Two new divisions, for youngsters under 15 and under 12, should bolster the numbers as the season progresses.
“We started out with just one division for the boys and the girls. Now, following the lead of the USBC, we have three divisions for each,” Taylor said.
“It’s true that our numbers have declined recently, but a lot of that is because many of our top bowlers have graduated,” Taylor said. “Yes, there are a lot more things for youngsters to do outside of bowling these days, but part of the reason for the decline is a lack of understanding by some youth organizers to push the sport aspect of bowling. It’s sort of like the difference between the league bowler vs. the collegiate competitor. We view the CDYST as the gateway to college bowling. We prepare our juniors to compete at the next level.”
Taylor noted that the CDYST typically is better represented than many other organizations at the annual Junior Gold competition, which draws the best junior bowlers in the nation every summer. “Typically, most organizations in all the divisions might be represented by one in seven at the Junior Gold. Our kids are usually one in four or one in five, and we’ve had many advance to the match play there,” Taylor said.
CDYST graduates such as Rotterdam native Liz Kuhlkin, a former Nebraska standout who is now a member of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association, former champion Zach Doty and current standout Lauren May Piotrowski of Schenectady, have excelled at the Junior Gold after brilliant careers in the CDYST.
Piotrowski, a stalwart on the Schenectady County Community College women’s team, won her first CDYST title last weekend.
“Even though our numbers are down so far, the radius of the areas we draw from has increased,” Taylor said. “We are now getting bowlers from the Plattsburgh and Syracuse areas, as well as from western Massachusetts.”
CDYST members compete for scholarship money. Last season, nearly $25,000 in scholarships was awarded. Bowlers in the U15 and U20 divisions earn Bowler of the Year points at each event and are eligible to compete as a CDYST All Star at the 2018 USBC Youth Open in Dallas.
The rest of the first-half schedule includes Oct. 28 at Kingpin’s Alley in South Glens Falls, Nov. 18 at Del Lanes, Dec. 9 at Imperial Lanes, Dec. 27 at Towne Bowling Academy and Jan. 6 at Uncle Sam Lanes.
For more information, call 518-765-0267, or visit www.cdystbowling.com.
STRIKES & SPARES
Ron “Digger” Gardner of Troy defeated Pete Dougherty of Clifton Park 267-247 in the finals to win the New Era Senior Tour event over the weekend at Uncle Sam Lanes. Gardner earned $430, and Dougherty collected $210.
The next NEST event is Nov. 18 at noon at Playdium, which will close its doors at the end of this season.
Zack Porter won the Scratch Challenge at Towne Bowling Academy last Sunday. Porter defeated Brian Hall in the championship game of the stepladder finals that included Connor LeClair and pros Ryan Shafer and Liz Kuhlkin.
Steve Boomhower recorded his first 700 triple with a 703 in the KAPL Mixed league last week.
The Schenectady USBC Bowling Association will have a board of directors meeting Sunday at 6 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl.