Bowling: Looking for new champs in Saturday’s P-T youth tourneys
By Steve T. Gorches firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-3797 May 7, 2013 11:26PM
P-T youth tournament
2003 — Ryan Lubash
2004 — Ben De St. Jean
2005 — Bart Loe
2006 — Ethan Hansen
2007 — Justin Lesser
2008 — Ethan Hansen
2009 — John Lubarski
2010 — Chris Hernthaisong
2011 — Matt Staninger
2012 — Matt Staninger
2003 — Nicole Ruehl
2004 — Nicole Lewandowski
2005 — Sarah Bane
2006 — Rose Ruschak
2007 — Kaity Galka
2008 — Kelly Galka
2009 — Kaity Galka
2010 — Elly Shields
2011 — Laura LeVander
2012 — Kelsy Toth
On The Web
Find P-T qualifier lists and graph of the Stock Exchange oil pattern at post-trib.suntimes.com/sports. If you have any questions, call tourney director Steve T. Gorches at 314-3797.
Updated: June 9, 2013 6:47AM
The older you get, the more reminiscing becomes routine. It’s a common trait of this sportswriter, who still loves his job and loves sports more than most things in life.
And as I was looking ahead to this Saturday’s 11th annual Post-Tribune Luise Lesser Memorial Youth Scholarship Tournament, I couldn’t help but look back over the first 10 years of youth gatherings at the same time.
I still remember every champion and most of their championship run (hey, the memory is fading, so recalling everything isn’t easy), and we’ve had some good ones since the first P-T youth tourney in 2003, with connections to current qualifiers who should be on hand Saturday.
Ethan Hansen has won twice (2006 and 2008), but his younger brother, Tyler, has yet to win.
Matt Staninger has won the last two P-T boys titles, as well as winning the first P-T Sport Shot Classic youth title in January, 2012. The Highland High School graduate won’t win a third since he’s moved up to the adult ranks.
One of his good friends, Ryan McCoy, has also moved up to adult leagues. But the Griffith grad never won a P-T youth title. He does have a chance to win a P-T men’s title in a couple weeks since he qualified for that event, but his younger brother, Jake, has a chance to win a boys title and do something Ryan wasn’t able to accomplish.
On the girls side, only one has won multiple titles in 10 years, and that was Kaity Galka, who also won the P-T Sport Shot Classic women’s title in September. And only one girl has a chance at winning a second title, and that’s Lake Central sophomore Laura LeVander, who won two years ago as an eighth-grader.
In fact, that might have been the most surprising P-T youth victory of them all. Looking at the lists, all of the boys winners weren’t overly shocking. Chris Hernthaisong’s 2010 victory at Hebron Lanes could be considered a slight surprise, but he earned it by beating some of the best in the stepladder finals.
LeVander shot her first 600 series in the P-T tourney qualifying, then defeated current Calumet College of St. Joseph’s bowler Victoria Borowski in the final.
It’s been four years since an established region high school bowler won the P-T title, and it happened twice in 2009 when Galka and Highland’s John Lubarski both won. I think that will change on Saturday since most of the top contenders in the last couple years who were in their first or second year of college have moved past the youth ranks.
This year, especially on the girls side, the field is stacked with top high school contenders, from Portage’s Nicole Walton and Jackie Rhoda to Lake Central’s Kelly Belzeski, Kierstyn Rush, Caroline Dienes, Allison Sellers and Jamie Zega to Chesterton’s Candice Tovo and Heidi Tucker to Merrillville’s Carly Larson, who won the Indiana High School Bowling girls singles state title a little more than three months ago.
Boys who could contend for a title include Kevin McCune, the eighth-grade son of PBA champion Eugene McCune who has two 300 games this season in league and won the third P-T Sport Shot Classic youth crown in January, Chesterton’s Nate Sipe, who posted a 230-plus average in Westchester Lanes’ youth league, Lake Central senior Nate Maciejewski, who rolled a 300 in the IHSB Collegiate Challenge, or Hobart High teammates Jerry James, Mike Blue and Bobby Kammer, who all compete on sport shots frequently.
Speaking of sport shots, I know many kids have been asking about what lane condition we’ll be using Saturday. And the shot will be … the Kegel 43-foot Stock Exchange that was used during Stardust III’s Spring King of the Hill series. Now this year’s P-T youth tourney is at the other Stardust, so the shot won’t play exactly the same, but you can bet the flat heavy-oil, gutter-to-gutter, front-to-back oil pattern will still play tough.
But hey, unlike many adults, kids love a challenge and that’s what they get every year in the P-T tourney.
Sign-ins start at 10 a.m. on Saturday with three qualifying games of starting at 11 a.m. The cost is $10 for every youth with a new format this season. The top eight boys and girls (separate divisions) advance to a bracket-style finals. There will also be youth scholarship game pots and brackets, as well as raffles for items donated from local entities. Among those who generously provided raffle items are D’s Pro Shop, Up Your Alleys Pro Shop, Galka’s Pro Shop, Kofoid’s Pro Shop, Bill Morton’s Pro Shop, Plaza Lanes and the Calumet College of St. Joseph’s men’s bowling program. There is also provided scholarship prize money and trophies from Sun-Times Media.