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Armstrong School Board signs off on high school bowling teams

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Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 1:21 a.m.

The Armstrong Riverhawks high school boys and girls bowling teams will be rolling down the lanes this winter.

The Armstrong School Board approved the teams, which will cater to boys and girls in ninth through 12th grades at Ford City and Kittanning high schools, after a 6-0 vote. They will begin in December. Board members James Rearic, Amy Lhote and D. Royce Smeltzer were absent.

Ford City High School Principal Michael Cominos said the Riverhawks will compete against 47 teams in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Bowling League at no cost to the district. He said the teams received permission to use a bowling alley for practice and tournaments, at no cost, though he did not specify which lanes would host the Riverhawks.

In addition, at least one local business offered to sponsor the teams and provide uniforms, Cominos said.

“They just needed the board to acknowledge their existence, essentially letting the teams use their name,” Cominos said.

“They acknowledged their coach, Tom Shaner, and that he has all the proper clearances.” Shaner, a Ford City resident, plans to volunteer his time, Cominos said.

Shaner's son, Jared Shaner, finished near the middle of the field at the 2013 North Pointe Junior Gold Championships in Detroit before earning a spot at next year's Junior Gold Championships with a 19th-place finish in the Survivor Tournament the week of July 15-21. A high school junior competing in the younger-than-20 division, Shaner bowled a 15-game total of 2,550 — an average of 170 per game — during three days to place 675th out of 1,024 bowlers at the Junior Gold Championships, the U.S. Bowling Congress' most prestigious youth tournament.

The boys and girls teams function independently and do not engage in co-ed competitions, Cominos said. The teams will compete every Wednesday for 10 weeks.

“Bowling is one of the fastest growing sports in interscholastics,” he said. “This is a club sport, and it's very similar to hockey, and teams, as well as individuals, can move on to state championship competitions.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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