Hempfield bowling teams again contenders for WPIBL titles
With playoff berths likely, the Hempfield boys and girls bowling teams have begun focusing on the postseason, where they are optimistic about sweeping WPIBL titles for the second time in three years.
Early in the second half of the season, each squad was 6-0 in the WPIBL East Division. A match at second-place Greensburg Salem on Jan. 30 was expected to determine the division boys champion. Results were not available before this edition's deadline.
The top two teams from each division will advance to the WPIBL playoffs, to be held this month (Feb. 21-22).
“We'll be fine-tuning some things, with a bigger emphasis on Baker (format), which we'll see in the playoffs,” said Dave Montell, head coach of the Hempfield boys and girls teams.
Baker is a form of team play in which all five players bowl together but alternate each frame.
Competing individually, Hempfield boys and girls dominate lists of top rollers in the division.
Among girls, senior Justyne Falbo ranks first with a 202.94 average.
Senior Jen Zyvith (199.94) is second in average and first in high game (279) and high series (727).
Juniors Cortney Weirs (186.93) and Natalie Herman (183.29) and sophomore Kelsie Hendrick (177.69) also rank among the division's top girls in average.
Junior Alysia Dube and senior Kaille Gasparovic have excelled as reserves.
In two games each, Dube has a 181.50 average and Gasparovic, 174.50.
Rachel Inks (169) and Madisyn Kush (151) have been one-game standouts.
The girls swept WPIBL, regional and state titles a year ago. It was the second time in four years they were state champion. They have been WPIBL champion the last five years and regional champion the last three.
On the boys team, sophomore Javon Trout tops the division with a 224.13 average.
Seniors Justin Logan (216.06) and Anthony Santoro (212.63), as well as junior Jonathan Henderson (211.67), also rank high.
Senior Nick Vukovich, who averages 202.69 in 16 games, rounds out the Spartans who have earned the most rolling time.
Senior Dalton Boord (216.67 average in three games) and junior Michael Sarsfield (196.83 in six) provide depth.
In one game, Paul Sarp bowled 203.
Sophomores Matt Wineman (170) and Ben Carr (165) also competed once.
With victories coming easily to both teams, more boys and girls have been able to compete, said Montell, in his third year as head coach.
After winning the previous two seasons, the boys slipped to third at last year's state championship.
They also finished third in the WPIBL, and were runner-up to Greensburg Salem at the regional playoffs.
Vukovich, 18, said he and his teammates won't be satisfied unless they reclaim the state title.
“Winning states again is the goal,” agreed Santoro, 17.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.