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State schools seek to join in on growing list

By Times Staff
Published April 7, 2006


The New Mexico Activities Association added boys and girls bowling as a varsity activity starting with the 2006-07 academic year.

That makes it state No.17 to offer the sport at the varsity level, "joining Florida" among others, according to the U.S. Bowling Congress.

Well, not quite.

Yes, the Florida High School Athletics Association recognizes bowling and hosts a few of its services to high school bowling - including a one-class championship series - but it has not sanctioned the fastest growing youth sport.

According to a recent survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations, which oversees all 50 states, participation in bowling programs jumped by 14 percent for boys and 13 percent for girls from the 2003-04 to 2004-05 school years - more than any other sport.

Nearly 40,000 students competed on a high school team during the '05 school year.

Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington all bowl, and about 25 other states offer bowling at an interscholastic club level, which would better describe the FHSAA's situation.

Schools must voluntarily and exclusively finance the squad.

Interestingly, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, a charter NFHS member, does not offer it on a varsity level in a state known for eating, breathing and bowling, and the home of the USBC headquarters.

St. Petersburg Catholic, Calvary Christian, Indian Rocks Christian and Tampa Prep all competed in the FHSAA affiliated series in 2005. IRC was district runnerup and earned a trip to the state finals in November under coach Perry Banse and bowlers Brandon Rist and Caitlan Welsh .

Of about 670 FHSAA affiliated schools, 139 (22 percent) will have bowling next year.

For more information contact FHSAA bowling administrator Paul McLaughlin at 352 372-9551 ext. 250, fax (352) 372-9086 or bowling@fhsaa.org via e-mail.

NABI: Plant City's Tim McClamma won $370 after defeating Mark Michel of Lutz 186-170 in Club 570's final match at Countryside Lanes last Sunday.

Rick Gauzza , Sarasota, finished third with a 183 average and won $45. Lori Lloyd of St. Petersburg won $40 for fourth place. Kent Worrall , also of St. Petersburg, had a weekend high average of 190 in sixth place.

Club 577 will be at AMF Venice this weekend. Call (863) 667-4779 or look up centralflorida.bowlnabi.com for more details.

PBA: Patrick Allen (Tarrytown, N.Y.) won his second title of the season and the seventh of his career last week, knocking off Patrick Healey Jr. (Flower Mound, Texas), 259-193, in the title match of the Great Lakes Classic in Wyoming, Mich.

The final event of the season, the Dexter Tournament of Champions, is this week in Uncasville, Conn.

This week's event is the fourth and final major and will award one bowler $100,000 and a two-season Tour exemption. The live ESPN televised finals are Sunday at 1 p.m.

If Walter Ray Williams Jr. wins, he would pass Earl Anthony with a Tour-record 42 career titles and also become just second bowler to complete the Super Slam with wins in five different majors.

The Super Slam consists of wins in the Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open, World Championship, Masters and now-defunct Touring Players Championship.

Williams, who has one TPC, one Masters, two U.S. Opens and three World Championships, would join Mike Aulby as the only bowlers to win all five majors.

COMING UP: Bowlers like Bob Smolka , Walt Coddington Jr. and Justin Veitch have posted scores, and so can everyone else. It's the last weekend to bowl in the St. Petersburg Bowling Association's City Tournament at Seminole Lanes at 6886 Park Boulevard in Seminole. Info and last weekend's scores are posted at SPBAFL.org.

Widmar Vargas leads all singles with an 804 and Brett Bartley is up on all events. Walk-in entries will be accepted up to one hour beforeany squad start.

--Eric Muskatevc can be e-mailed at Emuskatevc@aol.com

[Last modified April 7, 2006, 01:31:16]


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