Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., has won his third consecutive Professional Bowlers Association East Region Player of the Year award, and PBA50 Tour competitor Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Township, Mich., has won PBA50 Player of the Year honors in both the PBA Central and Midwest Regions, highlighting the annual PBA Regional Awards announced today by John Weber, Director of PBA Regional and PBA50 Tours.
Two other PBA Regional standouts – E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind., and Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C. – won their second straight Player of the Year awards in the Central and South Regions, respectively. And 35-year-old Yuka Tsuchiya won the first four titles awarded by the new PBA Japan Region – in women only and open tournaments – to become the first Japanese bowler honored as both PBA Japan Player and Rookie of the Year.
In all, 20 different bowlers were recognized for their achievements in the eight PBA regions as recipients of Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and PBA50 Player of the Year awards. Eight additional individuals were selected by PBA’s regional managers as recipients of Pat Patterson Awards for their contributions to their respective regional programs.
In 2015, the PBA Regional awards program will be expanded to include PBA Women’s Regional Players of the Year for the first time.
Regional award winners for 2014 included:
East Region: Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., won three titles in 12 tournament appearances to earn Player of the Year honors for the third straight year. Kevin Donovan of Painted Post, N.Y., was selected as Rookie of the Year after cashing in six of the eight tournaments he entered, advancing to match play five times and recording a top finish of sixth place. Sammy Ventura of Syracuse, N.Y., is the PBA50 Player of the Year after winning once and recording four top-five finishes. Ventura also won the honor in 2012. Pete Bryan of Laurel, Del., was named winner of the East Region Pat Patterson Award for hosting a PBA50 regional event in each of the five years his 14-lane center has been open in Laurel.
South Region: Two-handed player Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C., repeated as South Region Player of the Year after winning one title, posting two second-place finishes and reaching match play in eight of the 10 tournaments he entered. Chris Spoo of Boynton Beach, Fla., was selected as South Rookie of the Year after winning his first title and cashing in six of the nine events he entered. Gary Morgan of Atlanta, Ga., is PBA50 Player of the Year, recording seven top-five finishes including two titles in 11 events. Long-time member and 15-year tournament host Shawn Lavender of Waynesboro, Va., is South Region Pat Patterson Award winner for creating the South Region’s Over/Under Doubles event for standard and “senior” players in 2007, and converting that event into the Waynesboro Trios in 2014. The unique event, featuring teams of one standard member, one PBA50 member and one PBA60 player drew a field of 102 players into a 12-lane center.
Central Region: A year after earning PBA Rookie of the Year honors, E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind., was selected as Central Region Player of the Year for the second year in a row. Tackett won three titles and had seven top-five finishes in 12 events. Former Saginaw Valley State collegiate star Aaron Lorincz of Belleville, Mich., won Rookie of the Year honors based on five top-five finishes in 11 events, including two third-place finishes. Veteran Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Township, Mich., won PBA50 Player of the Year honors after winning four titles in eight events. Sullins, who also won PBA Midwest PBA50 POY honors, previously won the Central and Midwest Region PBA50 awards in 2010. Rick Zakrajsek of Lorain, Ohio, was selected as Central Region Pat Patterson Award winner for not only his role as a tournament host, but for his efforts as co-founder of the Lorain County Kids Fund, a charity that helps more than 300 disadvantaged families. The tournament Zakrajsek hosts at Rebman’s Recreation is one of the charity’s two major fundraisers.
Midwest Region: Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., won the Midwest Region Player of the Year award for the first time, winning one title and adding three third-place finishes. Blake DeMore of Springfield, Mo., won Rookie of the Year honors after winning his first PBA title and adding a second-place finish in only five events. Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Township, Mich., was a three-time PBA50 title-winner in the Midwest to add PBA50 POY honors to his resume. Sullins, who also won the same honor in the Central Region, previously swept both awards in 2010. PBA Tour competitor Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, was named recipient of the Midwest Pat Patterson Award after raising more than $10,000 in support of a regional tournament in Des Moines, resulting in international coverage of the event on Xtra Frame as well as a record entry of 101 players plus a sold-out pro-am field.
Southwest Region: Two-handed competitor Shawn Maldonado of Houston, Texas, had a career-year, winning three titles and posting four other top-five finishes on his way to earning Southwest Region Player of the Year honors. Anthony Simonsen of Mesquite, Texas, won his first two PBA titles and had three additional top-five finishes to earn the Rookie of the Year award. PBA Tour veteran Mike Scroggins made a successful debut into the PBA50 arena, winning two titles and adding two more top-five finishes in the four events he entered to win Southwest PBA50 Player of the Year honors. FireLake Bowling Center general manager Chris Skillings, a big supporter of PBA for years and a key figure in bringing the PBA Tour to the Grand Casino, Resort and Hotel for the 2014 Summer Swing, is the Southwest Region Pat Patterson Award winner. Skillings also hosted a regional event in April, the Grand Casino Resort Southwest Invitational in August, and the inaugural PBA Southwest Region Hall of Fame ceremonies.
West Region: Newly-crowned PBA Scorpion Championship winner Michael Haugen Jr. of Phoenix won West Region Player of the Year honors after winning three titles and recording eight top-five finishes in 13 events entered. Kristin Warzinski of Lincoln, Calif., became the first woman to win the West Region Rookie of the Year award after reaching match play twice and posting a fourth-place finish. Craig Miller of Tracy, Calif., won one title and had nine top-five finishes to sweep PBA50 Player of the Year honors in both the PBA West and Northwest Regions. Lindsay Wong of Sunnydale, Calif., was recipient of the West Region Pat Patterson Award for taking the mantle of the former Don Johnson Memorial fundraiser and converting it to the Tony Reyes Memorial to help raise money for the family of his late friend.
Northwest Region: Dave Wodka of Henderson, Nev., captured the Northwest Player of the Year award after winning three titles and adding a fourth top-five finish in only seven events. Eddy Smith of Stanwood, Wash., was Northwest Rookie of the Year after two third-place finishes in only five tournament appearances. Craig Miller of Tracy, Calif., won one title and had nine top-five finishes to sweep PBA50 Player of the Year honors in both the PBA Northwest and West Regions. Larry Jordan of Lebanon, Ore., was named winner of the Pat Patterson Award for organizing the region’s first “seniors only” tournament in Lebanon, and raising more than $4,000 to add to the tournament prize fund.
Japan Region: Yuka Tsuchiya of Kanagawa-Ken, Japan, won the Japan Region’s Cheetah Women’s and Open Championships, followed by winning the Chameleon Women’s and Open Championships – the first four tournaments conducted by the new region – to earn selection as Japan’s first PBA Regional Player of the Year. She also is Japan’s first Rookie of the Year because the program is new. Japan’s first Pat Patterson Award recipient is DHC Corporation for its sponsorship role in helping create the PBA Region as well as making the DHC PBA Japan Invitational, a PBA title event, possible.
In 2014, the PBA conducted 163 standard and senior regional events in 82 cities in 31 states, plus another seven regionals in Japan. For the first time, each region offered three special Women’s Regional events. The regional season concluded with men’s and women’s regional points leaders advancing to special match play events conducted during GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VI at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, with the top two men and women competing in Regional and Women’s Regional Finals as part of the nationally-televised PBA Challenge special event. The PBA Challenge will air on ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 18, at 3 p.m. ET.