A-K Valley bowlers vie for spots in state tournament at regionals

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | 10:11 PM

The Burrell girls bowling team hopes for a performance at Saturday’s Western Regional that matches its WPIBL team title captured three weeks ago.

“Winning that was a real confidence booster for us,” said Bucs junior Ashley Smith, who will join teammates Carlee Hummel, a senior, and Lydia Flanagan, a freshman, at Friday’s regional singles tournament.

Both events are at North Versailles Bowl. The start time is 9 a.m. each day.

“We know we can do this if we keep our heads and keep each other in the game,” Smith said.

The Alle-Kiski Valley will be well represented at regionals with four teams — Burrell and Plum girls and Plum and Kiski Area boys — along with 22 boys and girls in the singles competitions.

The top 12 individuals and top six teams advance to the state championships March 15-16 at Dutch Lanes in Ephrata.

The Burrell girls, who tied for this year’s Northeast section title with a 9-1 record, placed 10th at regionals last year and ninth in 2017.

“Everybody’s been working really hard in the practices since the (WPIBL) championships,” Hummel said. “There’s been so much improvement throughout the season, especially the freshmen.”

Plum hopes to return to states for the fifth year in a row. The Mustangs placed third at regionals last year and in 2017 after runner-up finishes in ‘15 and ‘16.

Plum captured the 2016 state championship.

Flanagan recorded the top area finish at the WPIBL girls singles tournament at Sims Lanes in Beaver Falls. She tallied a 553 series and a 234 high game in the qualifying round before landing in fifth after the stepladder finals.

“I am really excited for regionals,” she said. “It will be nice to bowl there with Carlee and Ashley. Hopefully, all three of us can make it to states together and also with the team.”

Hummel hopes to return to states after taking sixth there last year.

Plum junior Shannon Small experienced that winning feeling at the 2018 regional singles tournament as she was first after both the qualifying round and the stepladder finals.

Other AK Valley bowlers set for the girls regional singles tournament are Plum seniors Brianna Pilyih and Nicole Abrams, Apollo-Ridge junior Kristin Womeldorf, Freeport junior Jackie Clark, Kiski Area sophomore Kara Fouse, Kiski junior Ashley Debich and Freeport sophomore Amber Cepec. Clark and Pilyih tied for sixth at WPIBL singles, and Debich finished ninth.

On the boys side, Plum is making its ninth straight trip to the regional tournament. The Mustangs have qualified for states six of the previous eight seasons.

Plum, the East section champion with a 10-0 record, is led by senior Matt Brown; juniors Ty Kirkpatrick, Vincent Cocca and Owen Cirelli; and sophomore Ethan Grainy. All five also qualified for regional singles. Cocca bowled at states last year.

The Kiski Area boys, runners-up to undefeated Armstrong in the Northeast section, return to regionals after placing 13th last year. The Cavaliers are fueled by regional singles qualifiers in senior Justin Choltco and juniors William Perroz and Chase McDermott.

Perroz led the area with a 15th-place finish at last week’s WPIBL boys singles tournament at Wildlife Lanes in Lower Burrell.

Also hoping for big things at regional singles Friday is St. Joseph junior Bowen Lambermont, this year’s Northeast section leader in average (207.89). Last year, Lambermont tied for 12th at regionals and grabbed the final spot to states by winning a ninth- and 10th-frame roll-off.

At states, he took 18th in the field of 24.

Joining Lambermont and the bowlers from Plum and Kiski at regional singles are Burrell senior Colin Flanagan and Freeport sophomore Mark Livingston.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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