Alumni Cup Tournament Results
* * Former Lincoln High “Class of ’98” nucleus claims Alumni Cup * *
Bolstered by former members of the powerhouse 1997-98 Lincoln High Links club team, the first winners of the NHSBF Alumni Cup prove you “can go home again.”
With former Lincoln junior standouts Bhee Jay Arroyo and Scott Cunning (class of ’88), Scott Boltz (’89), and more recent grads Chris Amory (’02, Milford) and Stephen Amory (’06), the Links proved that teamwork and chemistry can last beyond the days of high school bowling in winning the initial Cup, held on December 20 at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln.
Considered one of the favorites to win the initial Alumni Cup, the LHS “Anchors” stood third with 2116 after the two-game team format on the strength of Arroyo (480) and Chris Amory (472)…then rolled 1069 in the five Baker games to move into the second seed leading into the eight-team best two-of-three elimination bracket.
Leading the event was Hastings, who behind Jason Price (483) rolled to a tourney-best 2260, then 1036 in the Bakers for a leading score of 3296. The LHS “Links” used a strong performance by Pat Bryan (532) and a stronger Baker round (a tourney-best 1097) to slip past the Lincoln Northeast “Studs” for third and fourth seeds, respectively. Rounding out the top eight were LHS (via LTB), Grand Island “Ladies,” Lincoln Southeast “Masters,” and Elkhorn.
The “second flight” teams were (in order of position): Lincoln Southeast, LNE “Next Generation,” York, Waverly, LNE “Retro Rockets,” Leigh, and LNE “Ladies.”
In the Cup bracket, the LHS “Anchors” dropped their initial Baker game to the LSE “Masters,” 214-170. From there, it was a workmanlike effort in disposing of all opposition: 264-175, 224-179; then vs. LHS “Links,” 227-180, 268-218; and for the championship vs. Hastings, 216-185, 200-151.
Runnerup Hastings consisted of Trent Burge (’08), Travis Billesbach (’91), Darren Price (’93), Dale Price (’84) and Jason Price (’95).
The biggest drama of the event played out in the second flight bracket, where York and Lincoln Southeast advanced to the final. After LSE notched a win in the opener, 202-158, York’s anchor bowler Trent McGraw doubled in the tenth frame to seize game two for York, 183-179…and then did it again in game three, using a late carry of the 10-pin to finish off the Knights, 218-214, in a great finale to the tournament.
LSE lineup: Kelsey Dunkle (’08), Alicia Dunke (’02), Christy Snelling Magorian (’01), Kevin Dunkle (’75) and Joe Younglove (’99).
York lineup: Chet Reed (’89), Trent McGraw (’09), Josh York (’08), Ian McBicker (’08), and Chris Reynolds (’02).
The flight winners eached received $250, with an additional $250 also marked toward their school’s club team, while runnersup received $125. The balance of the money collected, minus expenses, will be used toward offsetting the televised expense of this year’s NHSBF State Tournament.
Bowling balls donated by and winners: Tom Kelley’s Pro Shop (Jon Bahns, Leigh), Let’s Talk Bowling (Mark Parson, LNE), and Sun Valley Pro Shop (Jennifer Huenink, LNE). 50/50 raffle ($120) won by Mark Parson.
The response from bowlers was overwhelmingly positive for the event, which gave participants a unique opportunity to bowl in a format mirroring the top-tier high school events, while helping out a worthy cause. The name of the winning school will be forever etched on the Cup trophy, who will retain possession of the Cup until the next scheduled event.
Tournament tidbits: Pat Bryan (LHS “Links”) and Tony Vondra (LNE “Studs”) led individual scoring with 532, Vondra rolled the high game of 279. The event attracted both young and old, and for some was a chance to relive past efforts with former high school teammates. Elkhorn High School fielded the youngest team (all bowlers class of ’05 or later), while the LNE “Retro Rockets” had the most “experience,” from Twila Sperry (’48) to “youngster” anchor bowler Jerry Schilke (’87). Two “all-female” lineups featured: Grand Island (with most recent grads Candy and Amy Glover) and LNE “Ladies” (including ’06 Lincoln All-City Youth captain Sami Marr Fox).
Teams who traveled near or in excess of 100 miles to participate: Grand Island, Hastings, Leigh. The purpose of the event was severalfold: To allow adult bowlers to experience the NHSBF “atmosphere”; to give bowlers a direct way to support the NHSBF and help draw more interest to the organization; give bowlers (both pre- and post-NHSBF) a chance to “bowl for their school” and take that concept in whatever direction they desired. From the positive comments received, I’d say we likely succeeded in our mission. As word gets out how much fun this year’s event was to participate in, next year’s Alumni Cup is expected to be bigger and better.
(Co-organizer of event with Dwyane Damoude, John Losito and Les Amory)