Sport bowlers honored

by Bob Johnson 0

Rebekah Diers and Jim Thomas are the 2009-10 USBC Sport Bowling High Average Award winners in the adult divisions, while Brittni Hamilton and Aaron Lorincz took honors in the youth divisions.

Hamilton, 20, of Amherst, N.Y., is a Junior Team USA member who won the 2010 USBC Junior Gold Championships in July. In her Monday Youth PBA Sport Scholarship league at Clover Lanes, she averaged 203 over 48 games to take national honors in the Youth Female division.

“Bowling on Sport shots in tournaments all over the world definitely helped give me an advantage when bowling this summer,” Hamilton said. “It’s such a prestigious award that I am honored to receive. It shows me that all of my hard work paid off, and it’s a great feeling.”

Hamilton, who attends Vanderbilt University, started bowling on Sport conditions when she was 13. She credits her coach, Kelvin Parker, and her ball driller, Dave Werner, saying they “spent countless hours with me this summer” to help her be successful.

In the Youth Male division, Lorincz, 21, of Belleville, Mich., averaged 209 over 48 games in the SU Ottman Jr. PBA league at Sunnybrook Lanes. He started bowling at age 12 and joined his first Sport league in 2008. He said he worked on various techniques, such as hand position and ball speed, so he could adapt to the various Sport conditions.

“It was an award that I certainly strived for all summer,” Lorincz said. “I knew it was within my skill level to achieve, but to perform at this level, throughout the entire season, was very gratifying.”

Diers, 22, of Troy, Ill., was the top performer in the Adult Female division with a 210 average over 57 games in the PBA Experience Trio league at Stars & Strikes Lanes. She started bowling at age 6 and competed on Sport conditions in Junior Gold competition and during her collegiate career at McKendree University. But the PBA Experience Trio  was the first Sport league in which she had competed.

“Throughout my college career I grew as a bowler and learned a lot about the sport,” said Diers, who added she can’t stress enough the importance of quality practice time and coaching. “I think the knowledge I gained during this point in my career really helped me excel on the Sport shots.”

Diers was the 2008 USBC Youth Open All-Events champion and participated in the 2009 Clash of Champions, in which she reached the championship match before falling to PBA champion and USBC spokesperson Chris Barnes. She also was a two-time first-team collegiate All-American, and Most Valuable Player at the 2007 USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships.

The Adult Male winner, Thomas, 36, of Endwell, N.Y., averaged 226 over 75 games in the PBA Experience league at Midway Lanes. He started bowling at age 11 and has bowled in Sport leagues for nearly a decade. He said a key element to his success was his equipment as he was able to match his bowling balls to the conditions “quite well for the majority of the year. It gave me the ability to play parts of the lane that were comfortable to me.”

Thomas has won more than 30 tournaments in addition to many local honors and awards. He has participated in three U.S. Opens, with a high finish of 61st in 2009, and the USBC Masters.

“I would say that this just might be the biggest award I have ever received,” Thomas said. “With the many thousands of participants that compete in such leagues, it doesn’t seem like something that can actually happen. It’s quite a shock.”

To be eligible for the Sport Bowling National High Average Award, competitors must have bowled a minimum of 48 games in a certified Sport Bowling league during the 2009-10 season.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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