28th NYS Masters Championshiip -- RESULTS
Kristina Szczerbinski Becomes First Woman to Claim Title
MARCH 4, 2018 – Kristina Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, the 2017 NYS Women's Championships all-events winner, defeated Professional Bowlers Association standout Brad Angelo of Lockport, 444-422, Saturday night to capture the 28th NYS Masters Championship at Allie Brandt Lanes in Lockport
With a strike on her first ball in the 10th frame – which prompted a jubilant cry of "Yes!" – Szczerbinski became the first woman to win the scratch singles tournament and pocketed the $2,000 first prize and free entry to the 2019 USBC Masters.
CLICK HERE for qualifiers and match play results.
The 28-year-old left-hander took a seven-pin lead into the second game of the two-game title match, but Angelo, a two-time PBA titlist, rallied with four strikes to start game two and after six frames the bowlers were tied.
Szczerbinski doubled in the seventh and eighth frames to regain the edge, however, and held on as Angelo, a 48-year-old right-hander, was unable to strike in the last three frames.
The final match scores were 218-226 for Szczerbinski and 211-211 for Angelo, who earned $1,000.
Szczerbinski reached the final round with a 408-394 win over Stephano Cirrito of Niagara Falls, while Angelo advanced with a 488-406 victory over fellow PBA star Ryan Ciminelli of Clarence. Cirrito and Ciminelli won $500 each.
Ciminelli was the high qualifier off the first squad with a sparkling 1,234 for five games (246 average) while Alex Cavagnaro of Long Island was the high qualifier off the second squad with 1,114 (222 average).
The tournament drew 110 entrants – 39 on the 9 a.m. squad and 71 on the 12:30 p.m. squad -- who bowled five games in the qualifying before the top 23 advanced to the two-game match play finals. The top nine received a one-round bye.
The event was contested on a special 40-foot "Sport" condition.
Szczerbinski opened match play with a 444-329 win over Jacob Rivers of Albany, but then survived three straight close matches – 380-378 over four-time NYS Queens champion Shannon Sellens of Long Island, 452-447 over Brett Cunningham of Clay – who had just rolled 275-278-299-246 in his previous four games – and the match against Cirrito.
"Being able to stay very present in the moment was one of the keys for me today (as) a lot of matches came down to some big shots," she said. "Also, a big key for me was having balls in my hand that had a lot of surface on them. I was literally changing balls in 10th frames because I needed to and it actually worked out."
Ironically, she said that things she learned while attending Angelo's Bowl U instructional program played a role in her Masters' victory.
"It takes a lot of practice ... on conditions like this. When bowling in tournaments like this, even if you don't bowl well, you're still getting experience," she said.
"And things like Bowl U with Brad Angelo. That's a big thing that has helped me see things differently. Going to surface today – that's a big ball motion thing, which is something I have learned from Brad and my husband, John (who also is on the PBA Tour). Those are key components to being successful."
Szczerbinski competed on the PWBA last year, but said her work schedule – she is the assistant comptroller at U&S Services, a building automation company in Tonawanda – may limit participation this year.
Angelo gave Szczerbinski a lot of credit – "she bowled great when she had to, coming through every single time," he said – and was pleased that he was able to continue a hot streak in New York State tournament action.
"I've kind of been riding this wave for the last year-and-a-half," Angelo said, noting that he has won tournaments in Waverly, Syracuse, Newark, Rochester and Fulton as well as capturing an Eagle for taking the All-Events crown at the 2017 USBC Championships.
He said he got a "fortunate break" in the Round of 8 to reach the semifinals, rallying from a 62-pin deficit to edge 2014 NYS Masters champion Cavagnaro, 432-427.
"Alex bowled a great match ... he's one of the stars in the Northeast," said Angelo, who posted a 247 in the second game -- tripping a 4-pin for a match-clinching strike in the 10th frame.
Angelo, who owns Brad Angelo Lanes on Transit Road in Lockport, said it was great to come back and bowl at Allie Brandt Lanes, where "I rolled my first 200 game on lanes 5-6 and my first 600 series on 3-4. This is where I learned to cut my teeth.
The NYS USBC would like to thank the management and staff of Allie Brandt Lanes for hosting the tournament and Irene Miller, a Lockport USBC director, for her assistance during the event.
The 2019 NYS Masters is tentatively scheduled for March 2 at Dixie Lanes in Elmira.