Burrell bowler rolls to top-5 finish in state
Matt Schultz didn't expect to go as far as he did in the high school bowling postseason. But the Burrell senior certainly made the most of his opportunity.
“Originally, I hoped to make it to regionals. Generally, that's the goal for (high school bowlers) around here,” Schultz said. “When my name was called for states, I couldn't believe it.”
Schultz finished fifth in the PA High School State Bowling Championships on March 15 at 222 Dutch Lanes in Ephrata.
“I had never really had a problem being competitive or nervous,” he said. “When I got there, it kind of blew me away.”
Schultz entered the tournament as the seventh qualifier, out of 12, from the WPIBL Championships, which were March 8 at North Versailles Bowl.
Following a six-game round, Schultz entered the five-man ladder tournament as the No. 4 seed with the third-highest total: 1,273. He rolled a high-game 255 in the second.
Schultz averaged 212 in the qualifying games, just shy of his season average.
“My average is about 215, but that day, we were switching between lanes,” Schultz said. “Every single lane was a little different. It took me a little bit to find my line.”
He finished tied with Mack Celmer of Conrad Weiser near Reading. Schultz lost the roll-off, 59-49.
The first round pitted Schultz against Dan Matase from Philadelphia's Father Judge.
“I was really nervous,” Schultz said. “A couple frames into it, I settled down.”
After 10 frames, Shultz fell, 203-198.
Competition is nothing new to Schultz. He has been bowling competitively since about the sixth grade, primarily in his junior league.
His best career series was 800, over a three-game match April 21, for a 267 average.
His career high game of 299 came in November in a Saturday morning junior league at Wildlife Lanes.
Despite familiarity with some of his competition, at the high school level, there is no scouting for competitors on the eastern end of the state.
“I think it's a little bit of a factor. I knew a few of the bowlers, but I didn't know half the field,” Schultz said. “In the end, I guess it comes down to focusing on my game.”
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.