By PHIL GULICK
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 21, 2000
Cedric Roberts took his 147 average, steadfast determination and mother's advice to the Florida State Coca-Cola Championships in Pensacola last April and beat a field of 525 competitors for his first major tournament championship.
"My mother (Judy) kept track of who was the leader each weekend and I practiced to beat that score," Cedric recalled. "Then, at the tournament, she kept urging me on, telling me what the leaders were doing so I knew what I had to bowl for each game."
Roberts, 13, toppled 1,425 pins over six games to win the 12- to 21-year-old boys handicap title and advance to the national tournament beginning July 26 in Las Vegas.
Ashley Kuczma of Panama City won the girls handicap title, Stephanie Polk of Homestead captured the girls scratch crown and Matthew Stromberg of Palm Bay won the boys scratch title. All will represent Florida in Las Vegas.
The field of 276 competitors rolls three, four-game blocks. The top 32 in the scratch divisions and the top 16 in the handicap divisions will advance. Pin totals are dropped and the survivors roll a single-game, double-elimination format.
The top four finishers in each of the divisions will earn college scholarship money and medals. The tournament ends July 29.
TEAM USA STATE FINALS: Thirty men and eight women will compete in the Florida state Team USA2000 finals this weekend at Seminole Lanes with the winner advancing to the national championship in Reno, Nev., in December.
The field qualified for state through local leagues and tournaments, but non-qualifiers can buy a berth in the state competition for $100. State winners earn expenses-paid trips to the nationals.
Local players competing will be Darryl Dempsey, Frank Czarnecki, Mike Lamont, Bobby Atha, Brent Dewar and Matt Correa. The first four qualified at the St. Petersburg men's city tournament while Dewar and Correa made the grade in the National Classic Bowlers Association league.
Lucy Giovinco-Sandelin, the first American woman to win the AMF World Cup and a longtime Team USA competitor, also is entered. Giovinco-Sandelin returned to Tampa, her former home, after living in Norcross, Ga., the last four years.
State Team USA2000 director Bill Zuben of Largo said bowlers are invited to the sweepers today for the $50 entry fee.
NEW SENIOR EVENT: The St. Petersburg Association, during its board meeting Saturday, revealed it will stage a men's senior city tournament Nov. 3-Dec. 3 at Seminole Lanes. Although the tournament will be sanctioned through the ABCWIBC, unsanctioned bowlers are invited, provided they purchase an unattached ABC sanction card for $16.
Other details have yet to be finalized.
In other business, the association was visited by ABC southern field representative Ed Gakley, who was checking on the status of the association after the ABC received a negative letter about its most recent elections.
First vice president Carol O'Brien ran for president, but was defeated by new president, Ron Paige, on a floor nomination. Gakley apparently was satisfied that all results were legal.
He commended the association for its struggle to maintain membership, now at 4,075, and for its conversion to the new ABCWIBC computer programs.
The association also indicated it would seek financial assistance from the St. Petersburg Bowling Council to buy a new tape-measurement machine. The apparatus measures the depth and spread of lane dressing during the lane-sanctioning process. The new machine costs between $1,000 and $1,600.
The association office is manned Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. The office is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
NO LUCK FOR LOCALS: Bill and Cheryl Bedford traveled to Las Vegas last week with 11 youngsters from their Junior Scratch Classic League to compete in the third annual USA Junior Olympic Gold national championships.
"The lane conditions were very tough and our kids just couldn't handle them," Judy said, noting that Stephan Rodriguez finished 140th, the highest of her charges.
Christopher Loschetter of Melbourne finished second at 9,841, 19 pins behind winner Nathan Bohr of Austin, Texas. Shannon Pluhowsky of Phoenix repeated her 1999 victory by taking the girls title.
Jamie Potter of Team No. 8 in the Scratch Classic shot a 298 game last week at Countryside Lanes. The week before, Jesse Francis of Team No. 22, carrying a 188 average, rolled a 290 game. The league ends play on Aug. 9.
AROUND THE LANES: Carl Howe, 49, a longtime friend and competitor to area bowlers and owner of four 300 games, died June 30 in St. Petersburg. Howe was disabled in a 1995 industrial accident. ... Pat Trudeau rolled a 300-805 on the heels of a 300-821 the week before. Bobby Redmond fired a 300-803, John Smith nailed a 300-669 and Ken Wiley shot an 804 series at Liberty Lanes. ... Joe Chapko fired a 300-650 at Largo Lanes. ... The Pinellas High School League's organizational meeting is slated for July 27 at 3:30 p.m. at Seminole Lanes and all coaches, center representatives and interested parties are invited.
-- Phil Gulick can be reached at Xerxes6@aol.com or Xerxes6@Juno.com