A-K Valley high school bowlers score big

Friday, January 10, 2020 | 7:40 PM

Kristin Womeldorf capped 2019 with one of the highest girls averages in all of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Bowling League.

The seasoned Apollo-Ridge senior produced a 211.83 score over 12 games through four weeks of play and upped it to 212.13 Wednesday after a 640 series, including a pair of 235 games, against Freeport.

“She’s dedicated mentally and physically to improving her game,” said Apollo-Ridge coach Michelle Cominos. “If she’s not at school, she’s often at the alley. For her, it’s about tweaking the fundamentals and also concentrating mentally on where the ball should go. Her hard work is showing in her (match) performances.”

Womeldorf is one of several bowlers and teams from the Alle-Kiski Valley making waves as the 2019-20 WPIBL regular season passes the midway point on the way to next month’s league and regional championship tournaments.

Defending WPIBL girls singles champion Mattie Mae White, a senior from Greensburg-Salem, leads the way in girls average at nearly 225 a game. Others locally, including Womeldorf, are keeping pace.

Plum senior Shannon Small, the defending Western Regional singles champion, is second in the WPIBL with a 221.4 average after Wednesday’s match with Gateway.

Burrell sophomore Lydia Flanagan fired a 637 series (216, 210, 211) Wednesday against Redeemer Lutheran and is third overall in average at 212.87.

Julia Cummings, a freshman from Freeport, is fifth with a 196.87 average after recording a 615 series Wednesday against Apollo-Ridge.

On the boys side, Freeport junior Mark Livingston is among the top bowlers with a 224.2 average. He rolled a 661 series against Apollo-Ridge.

He is battling it out for the WPIBL lead with Norwin’s Ethan Dutka (228 average) and Michael Fekete (225.75) and Franklin Regional’s Alex Smith (221.87).

Livingston and Smith again will go head to head when Freeport and Franklin Regional meet Jan. 22.

Others hoping for big things in the second half of the regular season include Valley senior Andrew Russell (212.53 average), St. Joseph senior Bowen Lambermont (204.33), Kiski Area senior Chase McDermott (200.0) and Apollo-Ridge sophomore Connor Mamros (198.6).

“There are some really strong bowlers in the area, and that makes for great competition every week. That’s so nice to see,” said Burrell coach Natalie Flanagan, who hopes her girls team will be able to defend its WPIBL championship in February.

The Bucs and Penn Hills girls are tied for first place in the East Section with 5-0 records. The teams will face off for the first time this season Monday at Nesbits in Plum.

A who’s who of the top WPIBL bowlers, including those from Plum, Freeport, Apollo-Ridge, Kiski Area, St. Joseph and Burrell, got an early taste of championship competition at the annual Penn-Ohio Challenge on Jan. 4 at Hillview Lanes in Greensburg.

With several college coaches in attendance to observe the action, the teams rolled both regular and Baker games (multiple bowlers combining to bowl one game) to arrive at team totals. The Plum boys led the A-K Valley contingent in fifth place, while the Burrell girls finished sixth.

Two games from each individual counted towards the singles title, and Livingston, with a 365 total, placed seventh in the 98-bowler boys field. McDermott followed in 11th (353), and Lambermont took 13th (351).

Deer Lakes freshman Kaylee Lipp, while not eligible for the WPIBL finals because there is not a varsity girls bowling team connected to the school, was able to test her mettle against a loaded girls field of 68, and she won the singles crown with a two-game total of 396 (213-183).

Veronica Flanagan, a seventh grader from Kiski Area, entered the open tournament and placed second (392), while Burrell senior Ashley Smith finished fifth (341).

“It was a good challenge for everybody on a college (oil) pattern,” said Shaler coach Shawn Pilyih, also the secretary for the WPIBL. “If you made spares, you did well. If not, you were in trouble. There weren’t that many strikes.”

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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