Junior bowlers challenge their proficiency on the lanes

Competitive bowling is not just for adults.

Junior bowlers have a venue to challenge their game at the highest levels. The Junior Bowling Regional Players Tour is a “scratch only” tour open to any junior bowler that is United States Bowling Congress (USBC) sanctioned and participates in a sanctioned junior bowling program. The tour was founded by Ben Lewis III four years ago. Young bowlers in southwestern Pennsylvania and surrounding areas have participated in these regional events.

The tour schedule consists of regular events, mid-season championship event, and a season-ending Tournament of Champions. This year’s schedule consisted of 14 tournaments. The final regular-season stop was at Emerson Lanes in Parkersburg on Sunday. The tournament established a cash pool of $2,000. This is the highest cash prize compiled for a tournament this year. Several local businesses contributed to this record amount.

A total of 52 bowlers turned out. Two local bowlers worth noting are Lakyn Edwards and Casey Friese. Edwards, a 12-year-old, has rolled a 300 game and bowled in all the tour stops this season and holds on to the top spot in Division II with 1,095 points. Edwards has earned $240 for her accomplishments.

Friese, a 14-year-old bowler, is currently sixth in Division II with 770 points with a total $95 in earnings. The Mid-Ohio Valley is well represented on the Junior Bowling Regional Players Tour. A total of 18 bowlers have accumulated points in the four divisions.

The tour is divided into four divisions based on a bowler’s average. Events are open to any USBC sanctioned bowler that also participates in sanctioned bowling leagues. The JBRPT consists of four divisions based on average. The breakdown is as follows: Division 1: 159 and below average; Division 2: 160-174; Division 3: 175-189; and Division 4: 190 and over.

Bowlers establish a tour average of 30 games and are placed into a division to start the season. If a bowler does not have a tour average they must use their highest sanctioned average from the previous season (21-game average). This includes any averages from summer leagues, travel leagues and high school.

The JBRPT requires a dignified and respectable appearance for all touring players and requires the dress code of a professional appearance. Bowlers must wear collared sport shirts or mock shirts with first and last name or last name on the back. They must wear “docker-style/casual dress” pants with a belt. Any bowler who meets all requirements and has a shirt with their name on back and tucked into casual dress pants with a belt around the waist receives five bonus points called “pro-style” points

.The tournament format is as follows: each bowler will roll a five-game qualifying set moving one pair to the right after each game. After five games, the top five highest bowlers in total pins in each division will advance to the stepladder finals which is single game elimination until a winner in each division is determined. Bowlers will be challenged by different lane patterns each week.

The top five bowlers in each division who advance to the finals will earn points. The top three in each division receives a trophy and scholarship money (deposited into SMART). No cash is handed out.

The JBRPT’s final tournament will be Sunday’s Tournament of Champions at Mt. Lebanon Lanes in Pittsburgh, Pa. The top 10 bowlers in points from each division will compete for a title.

Contact Eddie Thomas at ethomas@newsandsentinel.com