Tuesday, April 27, 2021

College Male and Female Bowler of the Year Finalists Announced

IBMA Announces
2021 Sweet Sixteen Finalists for the
Storm Collegiate Bowlers of the Year
The International Bowling Media Association is pleased to announce the sixteen finalists for the 2021 IBMA Collegiate Bowler of the Year, presented by Storm Bowling. The selection committee is comprised of IBMA members who are bowling media and former college coaches and athletes.
The nominees are as follows:
Joshua Imhoff, Oklahoma Christian University
Alec Keplinger, Wichita State University
Jeffery Mann, Marian University
Kevin McCune, Calumet College of St. Joseph
Romeo Patrick-Holmes, Notre Dame College
Michael Rachal, Lincoln Memorial University
Nicholas Sommer, Wichita State University
Nathan Stubler, St. Ambrose University
Ayra Nur Jehan Aminuddin, Mount Mercy University
Lindsay Brown, Martin Methodist College
Kristina Catoe, University of Pikeville
Victoria Giardina, Lawrence Technological University
Hope Gramly, McKendree University
Britni Hosterman, Bowling Green State University
Madison Janack, Wichita State University
Hannah Jaros, St. Ambrose University

The winners will be announced during an online live-streamed announcement to be made at a date to be announced.
The IBMA College Bowler of the Year Award is given each season to the male and female bowlers who excel on the lanes in USBC certified collegiate tournament play. In this pandemic-shortened season, players must have a cumulative 16 games to be considered for the award. Many professional and high-ranking amateur bowlers have received the award which was established in 1987 to honor the sport’s finest collegiate players and bring added media attention to college bowling.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


RENO, Nev. - Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, has continued to put himself in position to become a champion on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, and he broke through in a major way Sunday at the 2021 U.S. Open.

The 29-year-old right-hander claimed the first title of his career and a $30,000 top prize with a dramatic 214-213 victory over Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, at the famed National Bowling Stadium.

The show aired live on FOX Sports' FS1 as part of the 2021 PBA Tour television schedule. The event is one of the five majors on the PBA Tour and was the final one of the 2021 season.

Via became the first No. 1 seed to win the prestigious title and coveted green jacket since 2015, and the title tilt came down to the final delivery of the long week.

Butturff had the opportunity to throw three strikes in his final frame to force a roll-off, but he fell short. He left a 2 pin after delivering two strikes, the second of which featured a messenger taking out the 7 pin.

"I fully expected to be bowling in a roll-off, especially after Jakob's first two shots, but the last one was a little off and didn't strike," said Via, who won a team gold medal with Butturff at the 2017 International Bowling Federation World Championships. "It was more shock at first when he didn't get it, then the realization that I won, and I'm a major champion. To do it at this event, and at the Stadium, the Mecca of bowling, is a dream come true."

The finalists were separated by one pin after seven frames and both working on spares in the eighth frame. Butturff followed with the first errant shot of his two games on the TV show, and a 3-7-9 split gave Via the opportunity to win.

After a fourth consecutive single-pin spare, Via could've put the game out of reach with nine, spare, strike in his final frame. Instead, he left the 2-8 combination on his first offering, spared it and struck on the fill ball to force Butturff to throw three strikes for a tie.

The loss marked the third runner-up finish for Butturff at the U.S. Open, with the first two coming in 2017 and 2018, where he was the top seed by more than 550 pins. He also lost the 2018 event by a single pin, falling 207-206 to England's Dom Barrett. Former Team USA member Rhino Page cruised to the win in 2017.

"If you keep finishing second at one of the most challenging and prestigious events, you're obviously doing something right," said Butturff, who also finished second in the PBA World Championship and Chameleon Championship this year, both part of the recent World Series of Bowling. "In these longer formats, it's about who has the patience and stamina, as well as versatility and the ability to both strike and spare. To keep getting to that level says something, and if I can keep giving myself opportunities to win it, hopefully I can eventually be the one winning by a pin."

The seven-time PBA Tour champion, including the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Masters, entered the stepladder as the second seed, hoping the different perspective, and the recent success of the No. 2 seeds at the U.S. Open, would offer a different fate. It certainly looked like that could be the case as he delivered nine strikes in his first match Sunday.

The 26-year-old left-hander was in complete control in the semifinal and rolled to a 257-203 win over 18-year-old Junior Team USA member Anthony Neuer of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

Neuer, whose father, Andy, is a PBA Tour champion, was looking to become the youngest bowler to win a major title on the PBA Tour.

Though he fell short of that goal, he did add his name to the record book by becoming the fourth bowler in history, and first since 1991, to pick up the 7-10 split on a PBA telecast.

Anthony Simonsen became the PBA Tour's youngest major champion when he won the USBC Masters in 2016. USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke set the overall record when he won his first title in 1983 at 18 years, 345 days old.

Neuer's path to the semifinal was unobstructed, as a pair of open frames from Cristian Azcona of Clermont, Florida, helped the young southpaw pick up his first TV win on the PBA Tour.

The four-time member of Junior Team USA, struck in six of his first eight frames to deny Azcona the ultimate 27th birthday present by a score of 236-200.

Azcona also was looking to become the first bowler from Puerto Rico to win a PBA Tour major. His win at the PBA Xtra Frame Wilmington Open in 2018 made him the first bowler from the island to claim a PBA Tour title of any kind.

The day's opening match was a high-scoring all-urethane battle between Azcona and three-time PBA Tour champion Jason Sterner of Rochester, New York.

Azcona started with four consecutive strikes to build a 13-pin lead, and he delivered three more strikes in his final frame to lock out the 37-year-old right-hander. The final score was 258-256.

Sterner, who finished fourth in last week's USBC Masters and was looking for his first major title, bowled a near-maximum 100 games between the two events, both at the National Bowling Stadium.

All five major winners from this season now will meet in the PBA Super Slam, which will air live on FOX on April 18.

Joining Via in that event will be Kyle Troup (PBA Players Championship), Francois Lavoie (PBA Tournament of Champions) and Tom Daugherty (Guaranteed Rate PBA World Championship) and Thomas Larsen (Masters).

The 2021 U.S. Open started with 108 competitors, all of whom bowled 24 games of qualifying across three oil patterns, before total pinfall determined the 36 bowlers who advanced to Friday morning's Cashers' Round on a fourth lane condition.

The final pattern, a 42-foot condition, was used throughout match play and was featured again on the TV show Sunday.

Following the Cashers' Round, 32-game pinfall totals determined the 24 players for round-robin match play, and their 56-game totals, including 30 bonus pins for each match they won, determined the five bowlers for Sunday's stepladder.

Via entered the Cashers' Round in 24th place and closed with games of 279, 300 and 240 to secure his spot in match play, qualifying 16th. In the rounds that followed, he moved up to 10th, then third, before a position-round win against Butturff earned him the top seed for the show.

The majority of the competitors this week earned direct entry into the event based on their on-lane performances throughout 2020, while 43 bowlers advanced to the 108-player field through last Sunday's eight-game pre-tournament qualifier.

For more information on the U.S. Open, visit BOWL.com/USOpen.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

2021 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Masters Tournament Update

Two legends just retired from regular competition on the National PBA Tour, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Pete Weber didn't bowl this event. I guess Norm Duke just wanted to remind everybody, he's BOWLING. Last game done for Norm today, he's +216 and leading. A and B block still to bowl.  

With the last block of 5 games happening for A and B Squads, the next hours will determine if C block bowlers that have completed their qualifying will benefit from players that are within the cut (around 28 under shown as -28), or bowlers outside the cut (more then 29 under) can create some magic.  

Bowlers within the cut might get too conservative, play too much to not lose, roll a qualifier killer score, even a 150 game, and drop out of the top 64. The players not yet within the cut line (currently –28), must make up for their under 200 games, with 200 plus games to expunge the red ink.  

A surprize just under the cut number. C block bowlers including Jason Belmonte, (Australia) and Jakob Buttruff (Tempe, AZ) tied at –30.  The World Number One, Belmonte waits for the field to shift around above and below him, hoping the cut drops a few pins to include him. Buttruff, as the last USBC Masters Champion is seeded into the top 64, so he is in.  

Other top players including: Osku Palermaa, (Finland) -33, AJ Chapman (Lewisville, TX) -46, Michael Tang (Pickerington, OH) -49, the Legends with double digit titles, Chris Barnes (Double Oak, TX), -51, and Tommy Jones (Simpsonville, SC) -56 even Chicago area member Gerald (Gerry) Marrs –62, right behind the Legends, will have an opportunity to move up in their last 5 games.  

Chicago area bowlers: Nick Kruml (Downer Grove), +129 in 7th, AJ Johnson  (Oswego) +116 in 11th, former Sandburg High School now Ambrose College bowler and amateur Cameron Crowe (Orland Park) +79 in 17th.  will most likely survive the round. 

A Pro that now lives in the area, Kris Prather (Romeoville) +84 is 15th and likely to move on also. Sean Rash (Montgomery) rolled his first block, but illness and an abundance of caution, to protect himself and the other competitors, withdrew with yet undetermined buy hopefully not COVID symptoms. 

A couple other Chicago area bowlers I recognized bubbling around 150th: Joe Lichner an amateur from Warrenville at 147th and –211 was a customer, as a high schooler, of my Revolutions-Wheaton store, inside the now defunct Wheaton Bowl. Matt Kuba (Tinley Park) is 151st and –216, I worked with the current pro early in his bowling career at Revolutions-Tinley Park, inside Centennial Lanes. 

Congratulations to all the bowlers testing themselves in one of the most challenging bowling events on the planet.