---- — Prior to the formation of the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference, whenever two bowling teams finished the season tied, there would automatically be a roll-off.
That's the way things were handled when the Susquehanna Valley Conference was in existence.
So imagine the disappointment when Shikellamy High coach Bill Snyder was told that his Braves wouldn't get a chance at a roll-off after they finished the season tied with Milton at 22-6.
But since the Black Panthers beat the Braves 3-1 in their head-to-head matchup on the year, the title goes to Milton.
"I feel bad for the guys that got themselves into the position for a roll-off. Everyone expected a roll-off to happen," said Snyder. "Coaches from other teams were wishing us luck and asking when it was taking place. It was not easy telling the guys that the title was already decided based on their loss during the season to Milton.
"In the 40-plus years of high school bowling there has always been a roll-off when a tie existed. Not this year!"
Apparently, PHAC President Dan Bonomo and the athletic director in charge of bowling, Shikellamy's own Joe Robsock, decided not to institute a roll-off when they made conference's new by-laws.
"They have made the decision for no roll-off. Everyone was expecting one, and a date for the roll-off, if needed, was even on the schedule (for Feb. 14)," said Snyder. "Most sports have a home and away match. We only bowl each school once. There is an advantage to bowling at home, I will not deny this. Unfortunately the conference title is based on that match at Milton."
Snyder has already expressed his desire to change the by-laws and re-establish the roll-off, but to no avail.
"Since it did not happen, I still consider the boys co-champs," said Snyder. "That is how I am looking at it, and that is how I told them to feel about the title."
So on this Presidents' Day, get on the horn with the PHAC's president and chairperson and voice your displeasure with how things are being run.
That's the only way changes get made.
BIG WIN AT HAC INVITE: The HAC Invitational was held this past Saturday at Best Bowl in Selinsgrove, and while Milton claimed the girls title as expected, when Lewisburg took the boys title it was a surprise to say the least.
Lewisburg finished the regular season in a tie for fifth place at 13-15, just two games out of fourth and a berth in the Eastern Regional tournament that's held in a couple of weeks.
However, the Green Dragons put their best match together to beat the runner-up Black Panthers by 150 pins.
Four bowlers rolled more than a 600 series for Lewisburg at the invite, led by a 639 from Dominic Cozza, the fifth-best series on the day, and the Green Dragons got the invite's best game, a 265, from Andrew Hans.
"The boys finally left loose and had fun as a team. This is what assistant coach (Jeff) Myers and myself felt could happen all year," said Lewisburg head coach Ray Krout. "They bowled very well as a team and cheered each other on. We have four of these boys going to regionals, and maybe this can carry on there."
In addition to Hans, Lewisburg's other representatives at regionals include Austin Duclos, Nick Chamberlain and Colin Broadwell.
Until next time, stay out of the gutters.
n Brian Holtzapple is a correspondent who covers bowling for The Daily Item. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.