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    Junior championships will be held in Florida

    By PHIL GULICK
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 25, 2002

    Three centers in Lakeland and Winter Haven will play host to the Triple Crown tournaments of the Young American Bowling Alliance, and local youngsters are getting ready.

    The fifth annual USA Junior Gold National Championships are scheduled for July 6-12 at Cypress Lanes in Winter Haven and Lakeland's Interstate Lanes and Orange Bowl. Players will compete for $50,000 in scholarship money, national titles and berths on the 2003 Junior Team USA. The tourney is open to all players who qualify through the Junior Gold programs.

    The Coca-Cola Youth Championships, the premier international event for youngsters, is July 15-17 at Cypress Lanes. More than 200 players are expected to compete for $20,000 in scholarship money and international crowns.

    The second state qualifying session for the Coca-Cola tournament is Feb. 2-8 in Davie. Countryside Lanes will have its Junior Gold qualifier Feb. 24, and other centers have scheduled qualifying sessions. Interested bowlers should contact their coaches for information.

    MERSCH ON TEAM: Tampa's Jeffrey Mersch was named to the Junior Team USA 2002 on Wednesday and will report to the U.S. Olympic training center in Colorado Springs next week.

    Two team members dropped out, and Mersh was selected because he was the highest qualifier not to make the squad in last year's USA Junior Gold Nationals. He competes in the Countryside Lanes youth program.

    LEADERS HANG ON: New Port Richey's Jamie Potter leads the Club Elite girls scratch singles as the youth program moved into its 18th week at Countryside.

    Potter, a history-maker with her 300 game in the state high school tournament last month, shows a 91-28 record -- two points ahead of Shannon Profit.

    T. Reeves heads the B.C. Junior Gold boys. Tony Mario tops the Club Elite boys scratch singles with an 87-32 mark, one point ahead of Mike Marias.

    In team standings, Team No. 6 is the Club Elite front-runner, the Pin Destroyers top the Olympians, the Fire Balls lead the Junior Olympians, and the Alley Cats are the Young Olympians' leaders.

    ABCWIBC UPDATE: The 99th annual ABC Championships Tournament opens Feb. 9 in Billings, Mont., with the fourth largest field in history and the largest outside of the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

    More than 10,000 five-person teams met the entry deadline, surpassing the 2000 event in Albuquerque, N.M. Squads from Canada, Bermuda, Germany, Italy and Switzerland have entered.

    The 83rd annual WIBC Championship Tournament is April 13-June 10 in Milwaukee. The entry deadline is Feb. 15. Reservations may be made by phone, fax, e-mail or mail. Information is available online at www.bowl.com.

    DEMPSEY PREVAILS: Darryl Dempsey, a St. Petersburg Association Hall of Fame member, defeated Keith Glasgow 234-230 in a battle of left-handers to win the Florida Bowlers Club Tournament at Sunshine Bowl last weekend. Dempsey beat Joe Bereczki 245-203 to reach the final. David Suggs stopped Tank Harris 216-190 in the first match, and Bereczki ousted Suggs 211-194 in the second.

    DAVIS HONORED: Dave Davis, an ABC and PBA halls of fame member from Boynton Beach, will be among seven inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame in March.

    Davis was the 1967 PBA Player of the Year, won the 1995-96 Senior Masters and 18 national and three senior tour titles. He currently is a construction consultant for bowling centers across the country.

    CLINIC SET: The Clearwater Women's Association is having a free clinic 1 p.m. Feb. 2 at AMF Clearwater Lanes. All bowlers are welcome. The center will provide shoes and lineage free. Entries are out for the association's annual city tournament, March 2-3 and 9-11 at Rainbow Lanes. The deadline is Feb. 28.

    BRENNAN WINS: Sarasota's Tia Brennan captured her third NABI title and $1,100 at Sunshine Lanes recently, beating St. Petersburg's Norm Terry 197-172.

    St. Petersburg's Heip Nyuyen and Ronda Masanotti finished third and fourth, respectively. Joe Bereczki, St. Petersburg, won the platinum division and $639.

    The NABI players are at Liberty Lanes on Sunday. Club membership is $15 and tournament entry fees are $35 prepaid and $40 on-site.

    AROUND THE LANES: Chris Holly shot a 299-760 at Dunedin Lanes. ... Lenny Riley rolled a 300-712 at Seminole Lanes, and Tom Palmer managed a 300-763. ... Chris Williamson fired a 278-804 at Liberty Lanes, Dave Rissman and Don Macdonald recorded 300 games, and Ron Barnes, 70, logged his first 300 at the center. ... Justin Veitch and Rich Sipple won the eight-pin doubles tournament at Southland Lanes. ... Entries close Monday for the Upper Pinellas Junior Bowling Association's Tournament of Champions, Feb. 9-10 and 16-17 at AMF Clearwater Lanes. ... Registration is open for the ABCBrunswick World Team Challenge, Feb. 9-10 at Seminole Lanes. The fee is $550 per squad.

    -- Phil Gulick can be reached at xerxes8@msn.com.

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