---- — In this job, it pays to be on top of things.
That's why I was pretty disappointed when I found out I had missed the annual installment of the area's high school pro-am scholarship bowling tournament.
The 14th annual Best/Strike Pro-Am was held Jan. 20. A total of 41 young keglers from six high schools participated in the event hosted by both Best Bowl in Selinsgrove and Sunbury's Strike Zone Lanes.
Normally held in mid-to-late February, the Pro-Am was scheduled earlier so two co-directors of the tourney, Mark and Denise Derr, could attend their daughter Shelby's bowling matches for St. Francis University. The Red Flash Bowlers, in addition to competing at the Northeast Conference Meet No. 2 held this past weekend in New Jersey, will be travelling to tournaments in the second and third weeks of the month as well.
Either way, I missed it.
But thanks to Denise and pro-am stat guru Kevin Woodruff, I can inform you readers what happened.
For the uninitiated, the pro-am begins with each bowler rolling three qualifying games at one alley (in this case Strike Zone), before they ventured across the river to bowl three more qualifying games at the other house.
The top six bowlers from each division (boys, girls, scratch) then advanced to a single-elimination step-ladder final. The scratch division is new this year, and any bowler (male or female) could enter so long as they had a 190 average or higher.
The top six boys handicap qualifiers were Midd-West's Alex Hackenberg, 2743; Selinsgrove's Trevor Petrich, 2700; Columbia Montour Vo-Tech's Austin Colosimo, 2686; Midd-West's Danny Dugan, 2648; Selinsgrove's Chris Houtz, 2630; and Selinsgrove's Jacob Daniel, 2624.
The top six qualifiers in girls handicap were Midd-West's Beth Longer, 2727; Shikellamy's Kaitlin Swank, 2667; Shikellamy's Justice Heller, 2652; Columbia Montour Vo-Tech's Brianna Olszewski, 2635; Selinsgrove's Chelsea Wildt, 2543; and Selinsgrove's Kaitlyn Pauling, 2532.
And in the scratch division, qualifying for the finals were Shikellamy's Zach Williams, 2672; Shikellamy's Jake Kratzer, 2659; Midd-West's Jenna Yarger, 2658; Lewisburg's Austin Duclos, 2630; Mifflinburg's Austin Miller, 2604; and Lewisburg's Nick Chamberlain, 2565.
Petrich claimed the boys title with a 203-150 win over Hackenberg; while Longer defeated Olszewski for the girls title, 163-137. The scratch title was claimed by Williams over teammate Kratzer by a single pin, 247-246.
Each winner received $400 in scholarship money and a trophy. Not too shabby.
"This year we had many generous businesses and individuals donate to our scholarship fund. We were able to award $750 in each division, with the winner receiving $400, second $200, third $100, fourth $50. Plus, each qualifier received a plaque," said Denise Derr.
DERR STRIKES AGAIN: Speaking of Shelby Derr, she and the rest of the Saint Francis team went 7-2 during the 2nd NEC Meet held in Bradley Beach, N.J. Among the wins on day two was over top-10 team Adelphi, 911-837.
On the first day of the tournament the Red Flash (12-6, 9-5 NEC) went 4-1 and beat No. 5 Fairleigh Dickinson, 881-877.
Derr led her team in baker frame average on day one. She had a 19.73 average with 49 completed frames.
Saint Francis returns to the lanes Feb. 15 for the James Brown Invitational in Baltimore, Md.
Until next time, stay out of the gutters.
n Brian Holtzapple is a correspondent who covers bowling for The Daily Item. Email him at email@example.com.