Plum boys team, Talia Pilyih qualify for bowling states
Plum will be well represented at the state bowling championships this weekend, as the Mustangs boys squad will take part in the team competition Saturday, and freshman Talia Pilyih will bowl in the singles tournament Friday.
The Plum boys will compete at states for the third year in a row after they placed fifth at the Western Regional championships on Saturday at North Versailles Bowl.
The top six teams advanced to states, and spots five through eight were separated by 28 pins.
The Mustangs finished with 3,502 pins.
Eighth-place finisher Penn Hills had a 3,474 pin total.
Plum head coach Cliff Kirchartz said he was happy with the way his boys bowlers worked through some tough situations and bowled some strong games.
Junior Dan Yushinski led the Mustangs with a 579 series. He had a 194 in game one, slipped to a 139 in game two and rebounded with a 246 in game three.
Senior Dalton Novak improved every game, as he tallied a 143, a 174 and a 213 for a 530 series.
Junior Josh Kirchartz had a high game of 202 en route to a 492 series.
Fellow junior Matt Kosmack added a 472 series, and junior Cody Frisco and freshman Josh Christman contributed games to the team score.
“There are some great bowlers throughout western Pennsylvania, and there is normally some extremely high scores,” coach Kirchartz said.
“Usually, you see a lot of 700-plus scores. There were none (Saturday). It was a very tough shot with a changing oil pattern throughout the day.”
Each team bowled three regular games and two Baker-style games, and the scores from the nine games were added up to produce a team's overall score.
McKeesport's Pete Smerecky had the best individual score over the three regular games with a 636 series. He also had the high game of the day with a 275 in game one.
Greensburg Salem won the boys team title with 3,897 pins, exactly 200 pins more than second-place Hempfield.
The Plum girls came up one spot short of a trip to states. They took seventh on Saturday with a 3,029 pin total, 57 pins out of sixth.
Senior Alexa Nicholas led the way with a 492 series, while fellow senior Jocelyn Rubash added a 479 series.
“It was a very tough and frustrating shot, and we came up just a little bit short,” coach Kirchartz said.
“We couldn't string any strikes or marks together when we needed to. But I am extremely proud of the girls. They gave a great effort.”
Western Regional singles
Pilyih was a cool customer at her first Western Regional singles tournament.
She finished ninth in the six-game qualifying round with a 1,065 total. She didn't bowl a game lower than 165, and her best game was a 197.
The top 12 finishers in both the boys and girls singles qualifiers punched tickets to states.
The same 12 also were placed in a bracketed playoff to determine the regional champion. The top four finishers from the qualifier earned byes to the quarterfinals, and head-to-head games were used.
Pilyih, the ninth seed, fell to eighth seed Chelsey Scheiwer of Peters Township, 181-179, in the first round.
The match came down to the final frame, and Pilyih needed three strikes to tie Scheiwer. Pilyih got the first two strikes but left two pins standing on the final roll.
“Talia stayed calm throughout the day,” coach Kirchartz said.
“It was her first time ever bowling a head-to-head stepladder match, and she couldn't have been more nervous to start with. But she bowled fantastic. I couldn't have been more proud of her.”
Rubash finished 16th in her final singles tournament. She tallied a six-game total of 1,042, only 13 pins away from 12th and a trip to states.
“She was bowling well all day, but came up just a little bit short in the final game,” coach Kirchartz said. “The oil pattern changed again, and the adjustments just didn't happen quick enough for us.”
On the boys side, Yushinski was the top Plum finisher in the singles tournament.
He tied for 14th with a six-game score of 1,158, only 14 pins away from a trip to states.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.