Gateway bowlers make strides to qualify for WPIBL singles championship

Friday, February 14, 2020 | 7:47 PM

Gateway bowling’s regular season wrapped up Feb. 5, and the Gators failed to qualify for last week’s WPIBL team championship, but that wasn’t the end of the story.

Four boys — Cody Beckwith, Liam Brown, Nathan Clark and Mason Servallo — qualified to represent Gateway in the boys singles championship Feb. 19 at Sim’s Bowling Lanes in Beaver Falls. Tiffani Wilkerson made the field in the girls competition, which was set for Feb. 20 at Wildlife Lanes in Lower Burrell.

Bowlers had to compete in 21 or more varsity matches and qualify with a minimum average score to make the singles field. The boys average was 170 or better and the lowest average girls qualifying average was 140.

Brown’s average was comfortable within qualifying range all season. The other three Gateway bowlers had to work hard to reach the standard.

“Mason (Servallo) has been bowling the best out of anyone (as of late),” coach Joseph Bowman said. “He had to average 188 the last two weeks of the season but ended up averaging well over 200 (including 206 the last five games).”

Each of the four boys owned one of the top 15 varsity averages in the East Division. Brown had the best Gateway average (184.2 after week 10) and Cody Beckwith made the cut by just over a pin (171.17), according to the WPIBL’s website.

Wilkerson earned the sixth-best girls’ average in the East (153.97). The next closest Gator was Anna Welling (127.87).

“(Wilkerson) has saved her best for last,” Bowman said of his lone senior girl. “On senior night (Feb. 5 against Redeemer Lutheran), she bowled a 623 series and raised her average by a good five pins at least. She has put it all together.”

“It was time for her to bowl good, and she made sure she went out and did that.”

Wilkerson went over 200 in two of three games during her standout senior night performance, including a season-best game of 235.

She finished 90th in the qualifying round of the WPIBL singles tournament last year but was part of a team as a sophomore in 2017-18 that qualified for states and finished eighth in the WPIBL. Wilkerson was looking to use her experience and bowling knowledge for a better result.

“It’s more of a maturity thing of her game,” Bowman said. “Her knowledge and mental approach have improved, which sort of comes with age.”

No current Gateway boys bowler qualified for the singles championship last year, but all four competed in the team championships, finishing 16th. Servallo led the Gators with a 506 series.

Bowman was hoping all of his bowlers could perform well enough to qualify for the western state regionals, which takes the top 40 scores from the singles championships who have yet to previously clinch a spot.

Robert Scott III is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.


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