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Plum boys take 10th place at states

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Plum varsity boys bowling coach Jerry Yushinski was pleased and impressed with his Mustangs qualifying for the Pa. State Bowling Championships, and he also was impressed with the talented teams that shared the lanes on Saturday at 222 Dutch Lanes in Ephrata.

Plum placed 10th out of 12 teams in the competition that consisted of three regular games and six additional Baker-style games that were shared among each team's five bowlers.

The Mustangs averaged an 880 for the three regular games and then a 179.3 for the six Baker games for a total of 3,716 pins.

“It takes so much just to get to states,” coach Yushinski said.

“It was a great accomplishment. There are more than 100 boys teams in the state and 90 teams wished they could've been in front of us. Looking at that, they have a lot to be proud of.”

Juniors Dan Yushinski and Josh Kirchartz led Plum with a 579 and 573 series, respectively, in the three regular games, and fellow senior Matt Kosmack added a 520 series.

Seniors Dalton Novak and Zach Matthews started for Plum, and junior Cody Frisco and freshman Josh Christman came in after the first game.

Frisco averaged a 188 for games two and three.

The Plum boys bowled at states for the third year in a row, and eight seniors graduated from last year's squad that placed fifth.

“Last year, they had a lot back from the 2011 state-qualifying team,” coach Yushinski said.

“We only had four back this year, and some people counted us as underdogs coming into the season. But the guys used it as motivation. They worked hard and practiced a lot. They did a lot of things right to get to states. They took the coaches' advice and ran with it.”

Plum was 12th after the three regular games, but a strong finish in the Baker games moved them to 10th.

“They were out of the running for fourth and the stepladder playoffs after the three regular games, but they still bowled their hearts out,” coach Yushinski said.

“The team kept a great attitude. They wanted to get the best spot they could. It might not be much to some, but for me, it was a great thing to see.”

The Plum boys captured the Northeast section title this season, and after a ninth-place finish at the WPIBL championships, the Mustangs took fifth at the Western Regional championships.

The top six teams from the Western Regional qualified for states.

On the girls side, freshman Talia Pilyih placed 24th in the singles competition on Friday. She averaged a 151.8 over six games.

“It was a combination of a little bit of inexperience and nerves,” girls coach Cliff Kirchartz said.

“She is only a freshman, and it was a good experience. She's still one of the top 24 bowlers in the state, and that's a great accomplishment. She will have three more opportunities to get to states, and she's only going to get better.”

Pilyih punched her ticket to states with a ninth-place finish at the Western Regional singles tournament March 8 at North Versailles Bowl.

Five of the top six finishers in the qualifying round at states were WPIBL bowlers, including Gateway junior Tori Smith, who placed second.

Hempfield's Justyne Falbo beat Smith, 234-187, in the stepladder champ- ionship match.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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