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    WIBC tourney makes a rare stop in Florida

    By PHIL GULICK

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 13, 2001


    The 2001 version of the WIBC Championship Tournament opening Tuesday near Fort Lauderdale is only the fourth visit to the state in the event's 85-year history, and the 9,499 team entries come close to the Tampa renewal of 1990.

    Competition is at Sawgrass Lanes in Sunrise and Don Carter's Tamarac Lanes in Tamarac and offers a prize fund of more than $1.5 million.

    The WIBC Queens and Senior Queens events are held within the regular tournament, May 7-11. The Queens annually attracts the nation's best pro and amateur women bowlers. The WIBC tournament first visited Florida with the 1956 Miami renewal and returned there in 1978. It wasn't until 1990 that the event traveled to Oakfield Lanes in Brandon and Regal Lanes in Tampa.

    That event drew 10,544 teams -- 26,648 doubles and 53,296 singles entries -- and more than 54,000 participants. It was the largest WIBC attendance since the 1988 Reno-Carson City, Nev., event and held that distinction until the 1997 event at the then-new National Bowling Stadium in Reno. The figures are down this year from that landmark Tampa showing. Fort Lauderdale drew 9,499 teams, 24,054 doubles and 48,108 singles competitors. Entries are from all the states, Canada, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

    The WIBC has established a tournament Web site, www.bowl.com. Click on WIBC, then on tournament. It offers daily results, directions to the centers, a history of past tourneys, merchandise and an on-line forum.

    END IS NEAR: The long, 30-week season ends this weekend for nearly 200 youngsters in the Countryside Lanes YABA Gold leagues, and shorter leagues will begin this summer.

    Team leaders entering the final rolloffs are In The Bag, Eric's Angels, Team No. 2 of the Olympians, the Fireballs and the Pinheads.

    Kelli McManus and Shawn Ryan lead the Gold Singles competition, and Ryan heads the Elite Scratch Singles.

    The leagues offered scratch and handicap competition to bowlers 8 and under, 9-11 and 12 and over in eight separate leagues. Almost 75 players will compete in the Coca-Cola state tournament May 6 in Winter Haven, and 84 youngsters will battle in the YABA state tournament June 30-July 1 in Melbourne.

    HURRICANES ON TOP: The Palm Harbor University High boys and girls teams hold four of the top six spots in division standings of the Upper Pinellas County High School League. East Lake High is leading the other two.

    Palm Harbor's girls head the scratch division, with Kelly Fecke and Teresa Scanlon the top scorers. East Lake No. 1, Courtney Yeakley and Jillian Pavlak, are the handicap team leaders. Pavlak rolled a league high 262-700 handicap last week, and Yeakley contributed a 246-681.

    High scorers in the scratch division were Jennifer Gross of Countryside No. 1 with a 224 game, Fecke with a 219-588 and Pavlak with a 213-553.

    The Palm Harbor No. 1 boys squad of Josh Guinand, Jon Wilson and Chris Fitzgibbon lead scratch and handicap competition in Division I.

    The Hurricanes' No. 1 team of Chris Fecke, Ryan Ohr and Kevin Hindin are the Division II scratch leaders, and East Lake's No. 2 of Derek Perryman, Lenny Gajewski and Jared Kramer are in front in the handicap competition.

    The league is set up for trios, but many teams are composed of two -- sometimes one -- players.

    YOUTH TOUR: Tampa's Jeffrey Mersch won the AA Scratch Division title and $400 in college scholarship money in the Youth Bowlers Tour event at Tampa's Regal Lanes on April 1. Shawn Ryan of New Port Richey finished second and collected $200.

    Thierry Lechler of Naples won the B Handicap championship and $400. Chris Machen, Pinellas Park, placed fifth. Stephen Bunday and Jason Signarovitz, both of Largo, were seventh and eighth, respectively.

    Casey Tomasiak of Bradenton was the C Handicap winner and earned $400. Stephanie Scanlon, Palm Harbor, finished fifth.

    Only the top four place-winners in each division received money.

    AROUND THE LANES: Honor scores last week -- Bob Williard 803, John Girard 300-684, Jason Scanga 300-779 and Jeff Peterson 300-781 at AMF Kenneth City Lanes; Dennis Slininge 808 and Ken Puchowski 300-753 at Rainbow Lanes; Scott Howard 299-782 at Countryside Lanes; Larry Durso 299-811, Dean Galhouse 300-774 and Rich Peak 300-784 at Seminole Lanes; Keith Korneisel 300 at Sunshine Bowl; Erik Truong 300-604 at Tarpon Lanes; Eric Roth 300-770 at Dunedin Lanes; Tony Madden 300 and Larry Townsend 300-773 at Sunrise Lanes. ... The Florida State Men's Association Championships Tournament begins April 21 at Sarasota and AMF Bradenton lanes.

    -- Phil Gulick can be reached at xerxes6@aol.com or xerxes6@juno.com.

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