High school bowling could be coming to an alley near you very soon.
In an attempt to increase exposure in this region, organizers brought the state high school bowling championships to Altoona’s Pleasant Valley Recreation Center this weekend.
Hazleton took home the boys team championship, and Penn Hills won the girls title Saturday. On Friday, Woodland Hills’ Antonio Palangio breezed through the field to win the boys singles championship, and Marissa Matassa of Plum eked out a seven-pin win in the girls championship match.
About 150 schools participate in bowling statewide, some at the varsity level and others at the club level. No local schools currently field bowling teams, but organizers are looking to change that as soon as next year.
State championship director Angelo Bordogna said he will be meeting with representatives from five schools in the Philipsburg, DuBois and Clearfield areas about forming teams. He also hopes to have representatives from Altoona and other local schools at the meeting.
“High school bowling is becoming huge,” Bordogna said. “The [United States Bowling Congress] didn’t recognize us 20 years ago. Now it’s all they worry about, because they know it’s where the future is. This sport means just as much to these kids as football, basketball and baseball mean to those kids.”
A big part of the reason the state championships were held in Altoona this year was to attract schools in this region.
‘‘We have teams all over the state, but there’s a big gap in this region that we’re looking to plug,’’ state tournament secretary Mike DiSanto said.
In the boys team championship match, Paul Link bowled a team-high 248 to lead Hazelton past Woodland Hills 1,011-926. Link also led Hazelton with a 243 in the team’s semifinal win over Pennsbury. All five Hazleton bowlers scored 200 or better enroute to a 1,125-983 win. Three topped 200 in the finals.
Sean Henahgan led Woodland Hills to the finals with a team-high 257 in the semis against Cardinal O’Hara but could only manage a 148 against Hazelton. Palangio led Woodland Hills with a 236 in the finals.
Palangio, who bowled a perfect game during the qualifying round, won the singles title a day earlier by an average of 52 pins. He topped Penn Trafford’s Chris Bolam 237-177 in the finals.
Breanna Moree paced Penn Hills with a team-high 201 in the teams’ 879-757 victory over Shikellamy in the girls team championship match. All five Penn Hills bowlers posted a 171 or better in the win.
Sayde Litsko bowled a 236 and Sarah Schrantz posted a 219 in Penn Hills semifinal win over Greensburg Salem.
Shikellamy nipped Hempfield by three pins in the elimination round before ousting perennial powerhouse Wilson in the semfinals to reach the championship match.
In girls singles, Matassa defeated Cocalico’s Samantha Santoro 205-197 in the championship match. Santoro reached the finals by downing Chrissy Benson of Greensburg Salem in a tight semifinal match. Tied at 180, Santoro won a second rolloff 47-29 to advance.
For more information on forming a high school bowling team, contact Disanto at email@example.com.