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    Bedfords: Youth success to grow with relocation

    By PHIL GULICK
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published July 19, 2002

    Bill and Cheryl Bedford are moving their tournament operations from Clearwater's Countryside Lanes to AMF Clearwater Lanes next month.

    "Palmer Falgren approached us and said that AMF Clearwater wanted the best junior program it could get and had asked Palmer and us to do it," Cheryl said. "He contacted us, and we thought it was a great idea."

    Falgren, a former head coach of Team USA from Sarasota, will have clinics for the youngsters every two weeks and on Saturdays at the center.

    "Elaine (Wilhelm, AMF Clearwater manager) also gave us some attractive coaches' incentives, and we appreciate that these folks are so into kids' competition," Cheryl said.

    For four years, the Bedfords have run one of the largest, most successful youth leagues in the area.

    They started their program at Pasco County's Lane-Glo Bowl and have operated at Countryside Lanes the past two years. More than 200 bowlers competed at Countryside, and most are expected to move with the Bedfords to the AMF Clearwater center.

    "This also gives the lower-county kids a chance to compete with the best," Bill said. "AMF Clearwater is a more central location, and we expect to draw many kids from down county."

    Registration for the new leagues at AMF is scheduled for Aug. 24 and Aug. 31, 9 a.m.-noon. Competition starts 9:30 a.m. Sept. 7. The B.C. Junior Gold League will have a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18. Play begins Aug. 25.

    Several of the Bedfords' players did well in the recent USA Junior Gold National finals in Winter Haven.

    Shawn Ryan reached the semifinals and earned $1,000 as fourth high qualifier. He was awarded by the Florida State YABA delegates another $1,000 for his achievements. Tampa's Jeffrey Mersch left last week for Costa Rica as a member of the 2003 Junior Team USA.

    He and Ryan will enroll next month at the University of Central Florida, where WIBC Hall of Fame member Patty Costello is the bowling coach.

    TEEN MASTERS: Kevin McDonald of West Satellite Beach and Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowage, N.Y., won the tournament's Killer "B' competition at Seminole Lanes last week.

    They are the first players to qualify for a $10,000 college scholarship.

    Seminole's Greg Ickes finished 11th in a scratch field of 53 bowlers from across the nation. Terrance Reeves of Valrico took fourth, Palm Bay's Matthew Stromberg placed sixth, and Jimmy Hutchinson of Brooksville was ninth.

    Ciminelli averaged 215 over 18 games and beat Patrick Eighmy, Erie, Pa., by more than 300 pins with a 3,872 total. After Ciminelli won the 18-game qualifier, the field was cut to the top 32 players, including McDonald, for a one-game, single-elimination format.

    McDonald was the lone competitor standing after five rounds. He and Ciminelli advance to the national finals next year. A $10,000 scholarship goes to the winner.

    Other area bowlers included Eric Martins, Stephen Balogh III, Pablo Lakilak, Danny Lawler, Jon Wilson, Christina Brush, Travis Reichert, Heather Meglino, Joseph Marino and John Parapon.

    The Teen Masters tour makes 14 more stops across the country before the national championships next spring. Tourney director Gary Beck said the tour will return to Seminole Lanes next year.

    YABA: Clearwater's Ashley Galante captured the Florida State Division 2 singles title in Ocala with a 766 handicap series for players with a 160-175 average. Galante also won the division's all-events scratch crown with an 1,890 pinfall and the handicap championship with a 2,205 total. She averaged 210 in the tournament.

    State YABA representative Bill Bedford says singles and all-events scores in all divisions have not been updated on the association's Web site due to filing difficulties.

    JUNIORS: Sean Rash, Anchorage, Alaska, and Olivia Sandham, Boulder, Colo., won the titles in the USA Junior Gold National Championships in Winter Haven.

    The second-seeded Rash, a Junior Team USA and Team USA member, defeated defending Gold champ Mike Remaklus, Florissant, Mo., 191-156 in the boys final.

    Top-seeded Sandham, a Junior Team USA member, downed Team USA bowler Kristal Scott, Painesville, Ohio, 216-171 for the girls crown.

    The championships featured the best 988 competitors (706 boys, 282 girls) in the U.S. and from military zones around the world.

    AROUND THE LANES: Nick Moldovan fired a 299-810 at Dunedin Lanes, and Gordon Kowalezyk shot 299-661. ... The combined associations' workshop, co-sponsored by the Suncoast men's and women's associations, is scheduled for 8 a.m. Aug. 10 at Tarpon Springs Elks Club. All league secretaries, officials and proprietors are invited. ... The Florida Youth Scratch Bowlers Tour will be at Seminole Lanes on July 27-28. The preregistration fee is $45. The cost is $50 for walk-ins. ... St. Petersburg's Bill Killigan, 85, rolled a 255-601 at AMF Kenneth City Lanes during the St. Petersburg Elks Club Fun Day.

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

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