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Franklin Regional bowling teams seek positive results in new section

Michael Love
| Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, 11:45 p.m.
Franklin Regional freshman Kenna Gray, in her first season as a member of the Panthers varsity girls bowling team, studies the pin pattern before making her approach during a practice Dec. 29 at the Export Moose. The FR boys and girls squads were to resume WPIBL competition Wednesday after a one-week holiday break. The Panthers were to bowl against Hempfield at Hillview Lanes in Greensburg, and the matches were to be contested past the deadline for this week’s edition. Franklin Regional is slated to host Penn-Trafford at the Export Moose next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. The FR boys entered 2016 3-1 in Section 1 play, one game behind undefeated Hempfield for the section lead. The Panthers girls team was 1-3 through four section matches and in fifth place behind Norwin (4-0), Hempfield (3-1), Greensburg Salem (2-2) and Penn-Trafford (2-2).
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional freshman Kenna Gray, in her first season as a member of the Panthers varsity girls bowling team, studies the pin pattern before making her approach during a practice Dec. 29 at the Export Moose. The FR boys and girls squads were to resume WPIBL competition Wednesday after a one-week holiday break. The Panthers were to bowl against Hempfield at Hillview Lanes in Greensburg, and the matches were to be contested past the deadline for this week’s edition. Franklin Regional is slated to host Penn-Trafford at the Export Moose next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. The FR boys entered 2016 3-1 in Section 1 play, one game behind undefeated Hempfield for the section lead. The Panthers girls team was 1-3 through four section matches and in fifth place behind Norwin (4-0), Hempfield (3-1), Greensburg Salem (2-2) and Penn-Trafford (2-2).

Changes to each of the sections in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Bowling League put the Franklin Regional boys and girls teams on the move, and they will face new opponents for the 2016-17 season.

The FR boys went 5-5 in Section 1 last year, fourth behind Hempfield, Norwin and Penn-Trafford. The Panthers girls squad was 2-8 (fifth) and scored a pair of victories over Greensburg Central Catholic.

This year, Frankin Regional will take on Verona's Redeemer Lutheran, Plum, Gateway and Woodland Hills in section matches and will face two other teams in nonsection contests.

“The kids are excited about the new section,” assistant coach Gwen Richards said. “It is good for them to see what they can do against new competition. A lot of them are familiar with the houses like Nesbit's (Plum), New Great Valley (Gateway) and Swissvale Arcade (Woodland Hills) for travel leagues.”

Senior Jake Stoken and juniors Kyle Wilkinson and Cruz Fink finished as the top three in averages for the FR boys last year.

Cruz placed 21st out of 127 bowlers with a 564 series at the WPIBL individual championships, while Stoken, the team leader with a 195.36 average during the 10 regular-season matches, took 28th at the Western Regional tournament.

Richards said a group of seven — Cruz, Wilkinson and Stoken, along with senior Doug Rudzinski, junior Preston Hill, sophomore Jack Strobel and freshman Alex Smith — are expected to form the core of the varsity lineup this season.

There are only five bowlers on the girls team, but Richards said senior Collette Fratangelo and sophomore Kenna Gray return and are ready to go.

Gray led last year's team in the regular season with a 153.14 average through 29 games.

“Kenna definitely has improved a lot from last year, including her mental approach to the game,” Richards said. “She learned a lot about the high school game last year. I think she will go in calm, cool and collected to matches.”

Richards said Fratangelo is one of the more easy going bowlers on either team and doesn't get too upset if things don't go her way in a match.

“(The veterans) on both sides are good with helping the younger and less experienced bowlers,” Richards said.

Adam Reabe returns as the team's head coach. Joe Mediate, a second cousin of professional golfer and Greensburg native Rocco Mediate, also is serving as an assistant coach.

Franklin Regional was to open its season Wednesday against Redeemer, past the deadline for this week's edition.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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