ARLINGTON, Texas – Brett Wolfe, who set the United States Bowling Congress Sport Bowling series record in February, showed he was a solid performer throughout the season by capturing the men’s 2011-12 USBC Sport Bowling National High Average Award.
Wolfe, a 36-year-old left-hander from Gilbert, Ariz., averaged 230 over 78 games in the East Valley Open League at Brunswick Mesa Lanes in Mesa, Ariz., including a Sport-record 886 series on Feb. 6.
Darris Ruffner of Exeter, Calif., earned the Adult Female award, averaging 206 over 108 games in the Classic Draft league at Freeway Lanes in Selma, Calif., while Kelly Skalacki, 16, of Coram, N.Y., was the top Youth Female with a 189 average over 51 games in the PJB Youth Sport Shot league at Port Jeff Bowl in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.
For the second consecutive year, Kyle Sherman of O’Fallon, Mo., led all Youth Male Sport bowlers. Sherman, 18, averaged 209 in the PFC Singles Sport Shot League at St. Charles (Mo.) Lanes.
Wolfe, left, posted his Sport-record series in a league that was using the 2011 USBC Open Championships lane condition. The 2002 USBC Masters champion, who won as an amateur, is no stranger to success on the Open Championships lane conditions. He is among the event’s five-year average leaders with a 225.84 average.
Wolfe said he has very defined ideas about how to best bowl on Sport patterns. He said he always has attempted to be a student of the game, and bowling on Sport patterns has taught him how to minimize mistakes, especially limiting open frames.
“If I can turn a 165 into a 185 by leaving one less split or one less multi-pin spare, it’s much easier to recover the next game,” said Wolfe, who bowls on a team with USBC president Andrew Cain and 2011-12 Professional Bowlers Association Rookie of the Year Josh Blanchard. “I think this has done more for my average in Sport Bowling competition than just being able to throw strikes. To average more than 215 on Sport bowling conditions means that you’ve learned how to minimize the damage from a bad shot or a bad game.”
Ruffner has been bowling for more than three decades, and at one time competed on the women’s pro tour. She said bowling on Sport patterns helps her execute and repeat shots, so when she competes in tournaments she feels capable of bowling on any lane condition.
“When I received the notification that I had received this award, I was so surprised and very honored,” Ruffner said. “(This) is such a great accomplishment for me. There are so many women who are great bowlers, and to be among them is a great feeling.”
Sherman averaged 205 to win national honors last year. He bowled in his first Sport league when he was 13.
“To receive the National Youth Sport High Average Award two years in a row is an incredible honor,” Sherman said. “I am extremely grateful to receive this award, especially with all the remarkable youth talent across the nation.”
Skalacki started bowling when she was 9. She made her first trip to the North Pointe Junior Gold Championships in 2012 and was the top qualifier in the U15 division, averaging 195 over 25 games. She credited a trip to the Kegel Training Center for helping her game improve this year.
“My parents surprised me with a trip to the Kegel Training Center for my 16th birthday,” she said. “Since then, I have been so consistent in my release.”
National Standard High Average and High Series Awards
The USBC National Standard High Average and High Series Awards for 2011-12 also have been determined.
In the adult category for Standard High Average, Allan Rice II of Salem, Ala., averaged 254 for 87 games in the Monday Nite Doggs league at Manor Lanes in Hopwood, Pa., to take the men’s honors, while Jessica Aiezza of Mechanicville, N.Y., claimed the women’s title with a 241 average for 112 games in the DV Greco Insurance Women’s Doubles league at Towne Bowling Academy in Schenectady, N.Y.
Josh Johnson, 21, of Callahan, Fla., was the top Youth Male with a 246 average for 66 games in the Keglers league at Bowl America Orange Park. Emily Eckhoff, 18, of Denver, who won the Sport High Series Youth Female honors in 2010-11, topped the Standard High Average Youth Female list with a 222 average for 90 games in the HL-Rollers league at Holiday Lanes.
For Standard High Series Awards, John Martorella Sr., 29, of Greece, N.Y., and Jimmy Schmitzer, 19, of Riverside, Calif., each had a 900 series to tie for the National Adult Male High Series Award. Martorella became the 19th bowler with a perfect series when he rolled 36 consecutive strikes on April 12 in the Knox Amusement scratch league at Domm’s Bowling Center in Rochester, N.Y. Just eight days later, Schmitzer accomplished his 900 series in the Green River Vegas mixed league at Brunswick Classic Lanes in Norco, Calif.
Katie Garcia of Wichita, Kan., had games of 300, 300 and 279 at West Acres Bowl for an 879 series to post the top series for Adult Females. Kyle Mayberry, 18, of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, had an 879 set (300 279, 300) at Goshen Lanes to earn Youth Male honors, and Natasha Bidwell, 17, of Schenectady, N.Y., topped the Youth Female list with games of 299, 276, and 257 for an 832 series at Towne Bowling Academy.
Click here for the list of the National High Series and High Average Awards.
The team awards for National High Game and National High Series awards also have been determined. Click here to find the top team scores for men, women, mixed and youth teams.