By Angie Colip
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Professional bowlers arrived in Anderson this weekend for the first time to compete in the PBA Central Region Hoosier Park Racing and Casino Open.
Saturday featured 82 bowlers rolling eight games with the 16 highest total pin falls advancing to Sunday’s finals. Consisting of professionals, qualifying amateurs and invited guests, it was a day of ups and downs with scores varying from lane to lane.
Locals Austin Mefford and Tim Jarvis had a roller-coaster day with the tough sport pattern but were grateful to be competing with the best of the best. Finishing out of the running for Sunday’s finals, both were disappointed with their scores, but enjoyed the day bowling in a professional tournament.
Sunday’s cut of the top 16 started the day with the freshly oiled Scorpion Sport Pattern. This made for multiple movements in the standings after every game in the 11-game match play. After eight games on Saturday and 11 games on Sunday, the 20th game was a position round. This round led for some excitement as Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, moved up two positions to fourth place, which knocked Zachary Wilkins of Urbana, Ohio, out of the step-ladder finals.
Nick Kokenos of Lake Shore, Mich., began Sunday in the lead with a 131-pin advantage. Kokenos was unable to hold onto the lead, and finished out of the step ladder of five, just missing the cut in 6th place.
Chris Loschetter started the step-ladder finals by defeating fifth place qualifier Patrick Girard of Canada 195-189. Loschetter then faced off with third-place qualifier Patrick Dombrowski of Parma, Ohio. Loschetter started off with eight strikes in a row to defeat Dombrowski 266-211.
Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., stayed consistent for most of the day moving from his start of second place down to sixth, and finishing the qualifying in second place. Russell defeated Loschetter in the step ladder 203-158 to move into the final match against first-place qualifier Craig Nidiffer of Trenton, Mich. The final match of the day between Nidiffer and Russell started out as a championship match as expected with both competitors staying consistent with spares and strikes. The turning point came as Russell rolled a beautiful shot in the seventh frame only to be left with a pocket 7-10 split. Nidiffer took advantage of Russell’s misfortune with a strike in the same frame and went on to win the match 243-215. With this win, Nidiffer had won the tournament.
Professional bowler Brett Spangler, an Anderson University graduate and co-sponsor of this PBA Central Region Open, started the day sitting in third place. Being the only left-handed bowler in Sunday’s lineup proved to be a struggle. With no one to help break down his side of the lanes, Spangler was plagued by splits. He dropped in the standings to finish 14th.