Team USA member leads two events at OCMatt Cannizzaro
Published April 21, 2013 | Bowl.com
RENO, Nev. - John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, N.Y., is having a memorable year on the lanes and enjoyed more success this weekend as he took the lead in two events at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
The 25-year-old right-hander threw 31 strikes in his final set at the National Bowling Stadium on Sunday to finish with games of 279, 269 and 241 for a 789 series. He moved into the top spot in Regular Singles, and the effort catapulted him into the Regular All-Events lead with a 2,228 total.
Kelly Bonta of Wichita, Kan., who rolled one of this year's nine perfect games, previously held the Regular Singles lead with 776. Two-time USBC Open Championships titlist John Janawicz was the all-events leader with 2,169. Janawicz remains atop the Regular Team standings with his Lodge Lanes Too teammates (3,538).
"I had a pretty good look last night and knew the pattern would be close, even though it's a little bit shorter," said Szczerbinski, who had 777 in team and 662 in doubles. "I came in with a game plan of making quality shots, and that's what happened. When you've got 10 guys around you who are rooting for you and giving you support, it makes it a lot easier to make those quality shots."
Three of Szczerbinski's five Open Championships appearances have come at the NBS, where he has averaged 238.5 for 27 games, including a 299 game and 805 series in singles in 2011. His 800 series was one of a record 16 that year and helped him to a sixth-place singles finish.
Last year in Baton Rouge, La., he helped CareerAthletes.com to a third-place team effort, and turning those close calls into a title or two would be a dream come true. It also would be bittersweet for Szczerbinski, who now is a regular on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour and would become ineligible for the Open Championships if he wins a PBA Tour title or finishes in the top 50 on points list for the 2012-13 season.
"I would never have guessed I'd be in this position right now, and I'm just hoping things pan out the way they're supposed to," said Szczerbinski, who was a member of the New York City WTT KingPins team that recently won the inaugural PBA League Elias Cup. "If I don't happen to win an eagle, at least I put myself in a great position, and I'm happy about that."
Earlier this year, Szczerbinski won the 2013 USBC Team USA Trials to earn his third berth on Team USA and a trip to the 2013 QubicaAMF World Cup. The two-time Junior Team USA member and 2005 Teen Masters champion has found success at every level of the game and drew on those experiences to stay composed Sunday.
"After the first two games of singles, I just told myself to stay in the moment and still make great shots," Szczerbinski said. "I did that for the first six frames but caught a little hiccup. I heard a noise and didn't stop like I should've, and split, but I still told myself to come back and make some good shots. I did that through the rest of the 10th, and I was able to get 241 out of it and put myself in the position I'm in now."
A three-time national champion at Wichita State University, Szczerbinski thrives in the team environment and attributes much of his success Sunday to teamwork and communication. He also was pushed every step of the way by his teammate, Jesse Buss, who also had a chance at singles and all-events success.
Buss shot 783 to help CareerAthletes.com into fourth place in Regular Team with a 3,469 total Saturday and added 741 in singles and 563 in doubles for a 2,087 all-events total. He and Szczerbinski also led their team into seventh place in Team All-Events with 9,921.
They were joined by Chris Drewes (1,968), Casey Slaughter (1,843) and A.J. Demond (1,795). Junior Team USA Support 1 of Mansfield, Texas, leads Team All-Events with 10,247.
Just a few lanes away Sunday, Steve Harman and Jack Laffey of Indianapolis also challenged the lead singles and all-events. Harman settled into fifth place in both categories with 756 and 2,151, respectively, while Laffey is sixth in Regular All-Events with 2,139 and seventh in Regular Singles with 754.
Harman and Laffey's individual success lifted Backhaul Direct - Lumper of Indianapolis into third place in Team All-Events with 10,111. They were joined by 2001 Regular Singles champion Nick Hoagland (1,981), Brain Walker (1,946) and Dylan Murphy (1,894).
Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.