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QV, Sewickley Academy bowling teams open season

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

With most of its top rollers returning, the Quaker Valley boys bowling team is optimistic about returning to the WPIBL championship tournament after qualifying for the first time a year ago.

But some challenges are expected along the way.

The Quakers have moved to the West Division, where they expect stiffer competition. The top two teams will advance to the WPIBL playoffs in February.

Quaker Valley was runner-up to Hopewell in the Northwest Division last season. The Quakers went on to finish 15th in the WPIBL.

“We are in a new division with historically tougher teams,” coach Greg Vecchi said.

The West Division includes North Hills, which under longtime coach Jim Cillo finished sixth at the WPIBL championship last year. Quaker Valley opened the season Wednesday against the Indians. Results were unavailable prior to this edition's deadline.

“We have enough talent to make the playoffs,” Vecchi said. “I think we could possibly have three of four boys qualify for the individual playoffs, as compared to two (Zach Mancuso and Chris Heath) last year.”

Mancuso, a junior, placed 15th at the state singles championship with a six-game score of 1,089, including a high game of 219.

Seniors Troy Gleason and John Duzicky and junior Matt Trapp are other key returners.

Junior Cris Trapp and sophomores Cody Blumling and Danny Charko are vying to make the starting lineup.

“The main goal is to go farther in the playoffs,” said Matt Trapp, 16.

Prospects are not as bright for the Quaker Valley girls team, according to Vecchi, who coaches both squads.

“The girls will improve, but probably not reach the playoffs,” Vecchi said. “They lack experience and big scorers.”

“We have to try harder and work harder if we want to be as good as the boys,” junior Michelle Starke said.

Starke and her twin sister, Sara, are top players on the girls team, which has moved to the West Division after finishing fifth in the Northwest Division a year ago.

Seniors Rachael Skolnekovich and Tegan McRoberts, junior Mary Frank and sophomores Emily Dietrich, Amanda Bemis and Cassie Heath also will compete.

Quaker Valley also opened the season Wednesday against North Hills.

The Sewickley Academy boys and girls teams are rebuilding under first-year coach Antonio Palangio.

Both were last in their divisions a year ago. The two squads kicked off the season Wednesday against Hopewell.

“Right now, what we have is very raw talent,” said Palangio, 21. “You have to build the program with original freshmen.

“Instead of being 0-10, you improve to 5-5 and keep improving until you become good.”

In his second year on the boys team, senior Kohl Lightcap likes having Palangio — a former two-time state singles champion — as coach.

“He really knows what he's doing,” Lightcap said. “He's a great teacher to those who are experienced and beginners alike.”

Senior Arianna Carly and junior Sarah Duplaga are top players on the girls team.

Founded in 1973, the WPIBL has 47 members, league president Angelo Bordogna said.

Quaker Valley joined in 1975, said Vecchi, in his fourth year as Quakers coach.

Sewickley Academy is in its fifth year as a member, according to school athletic director Win Palmer.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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