May this season never end

Jack Hammil - Guest Columnist

I would imagine that there is a bowler or two that simply does not agree with my headline today and perhaps even a proprietor or so that would just as soon take me over his or her knee. I even doubt my own sanity somewhat for the quote.

The bottom line is however it has been at the very least an interesting season. We are in the process of winding down the high school season with a series of special events this weekend climaxed by the WOHSBC banquet later on this afternoon. We will get a wrap on that banquet a little later this week.

For now we will step away from the WOHSBC, WBL and the OHSAA play and look strictly at what has been happening on the lanes in what can only be called ‘regular action.’

Sue Clay mentioned to me just the other day that even though the merger of our local men’s and women’s associations came with the USBC, through the merger or marriage of the ABC and WIBC the local group is still required to run an event for women only. Now I ask you would we be allowed to run an event for men only?

Our local association has complied and runs a Singles Tournament for ladies only. In essence whatever happens in your league stays in your league. This is clearly an event that every lady that holds an LBA members card should enter. Granted I feel that way about all tournaments but especially this one. It is just to darn easy to get into.

The winner this season was Lisa Behnke. Note that I said not Liz who was mistakenly praised for her victory. All Lisa did to win was pay an extra five dollars on league night and bowl where she is comfortable on night she would have bowled anyway. How is it that not everybody rolls in this tournament?

2nd went to Angie Sanchez (760) of Southgate, 3rd went to Mary Miller (752) of Ada, 4th went to Jeanna Kanorr (738) of Westgate, 5th was a tie with Christiana Patterson (736) of Westgate and Martha Long (736) of Ada. 7th was Margie Reichley (735) of Southgate, 8th Kelley Joseph (713) of Ada, 9th was a tie with Amanda Phillips (707) Westgate and Kelly Kline (707) 20th Century.

We actually get to talk about our league kids some today, granted they also compete in the land of then initial folks that we ran from earlier but for today they are simply the younger version of the LBA.

The junior bowlers who routinely call 20th Century, Westgate, Southgate, Lyn Lee and Norada Lanes home were given the option of roll in this season’s Jessica Sanford Singles tournament. The tournament rotates annually from bowling establishment to establishment and this season was fittingly held at 20th Century under the watchful eye of Chis Sanford and her Riepenhoff family.

One of the elements that makes this a great event is that annually as many as seven youth can claim that they are the Jessica Sanford champion. For the bowling enthusiast it is like watching seven versions of the Lima City Singles.

Six of the seven divisions are based on the age of the participants with the seventh a blend of both age and skill. We must give kudos for the effort of the LBA to find a way to make this very special event work for the kids.

The winners of the tournament this season are a veritable list of future who’s who’s in our bowling community.

The nine and under divisions were captured by the brother and sister duo of Tugg and Lilly Pad Sifrit. Tugg beat Anthony Roberts in his finale while sis took down a future Americas sweetheart in Emma Skinner.

The next division is for youth between the ages of 10 and 14.

Remember these names, Brayden Dalton and Conner Twining. In this case it was Dalton over Twining but I certainly have a feeling that we are going to be hearing the names Dalton and Twining for quite awhile. Clearly they each come from great stock.

Payton Gonzalez defeated AnnMarie Harmon on the young ladies side of things. Their bowling fame is sure to grow as well.

The next division again brought at least one more familiar name into the mix, Julia Riepenhoff. Julia has captured this event before. It is an event that means a great deal to her as it was created to carry the memory of her cousin Jessica, who had a passion for the sport forward. She defeated Morgan Crawford in the final match after a prior victory over yet another cousin Cecilia Riepenhoff. Two other Shawnee teammates, Allie Meeker and Abbey Ambroza rounded out that top five.

Zac Kilburn defeated Alex Freed of Elida in the finals with Isaac Hicks finishing third after a narrow loss in the semi-finals. The only narrower loss on the day was when Cecilia made contact with a ten pin that did not fall in her match with Cousin Julia.

What was interesting when we left was seeing junior board member Abbey Ambroza trying to find a way for a girls scratch division for next season.

Could it be due to the fact that her brother Drew claimed that honor this season winning a tightly contested battle with Allen Boes. It was the second Jessica Sanford title for Ambroza as well as he winds up his junior eligibility for the event. College and adult leagues await him next season.

Circle the date: We will give this a little more of a push later this week in our high school wrap-up but the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Allen County will be holding their big fund raiser on April 1st at Westgate Lanes.

If you do not have your time in place yet, please do so. Clearly this is a program that benefits many in our community. The more money they raise the more fun the “Bigs” can have with their “Littles” clearly individuals who are worthy of times that some of us frequently take for granted.

Jack Hammil

Guest Columnist

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