The 2014 Altoona Mirror Bowler of the Year Tournament had the look of two veterans displaying their championships plaques at the end of Thursday night's event at the Pleasant Valley Recreation Center. Their names: Stacy Crum and Artie Fink, Jr.
On the women's side, Crum defended her 2013 title by bowling an 842 series (166-268-191-217) to win it all. For the men, Fink, who admits to not counting how many BOY titles he has won in the past finished with a 934 series (278-201-237-218). The last time he won, according to tourney officials, was when the event was held at Pleasant Valley in 2006.
"And this is the place I probably bowl at less than the other places," said Fink, who believed it's been between 5 and 10 years since he last won the Mirror's BOY title. "At this time of year, I really don't bowl a lot. If it is 80 degrees and sunny out, I'm out playing golf."
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Artie Fink Jr. and Stacy Crum captured titles.
Crum started the night with a 166 and wasn't even among the leaders. Beth Monahan had the lead after one round with a 222. However, Crum, who hails from the Cove, got back into it in a big way with a 268 on her second series.
Her goal coming into the night: "To show up and bowl decent. I think I did that."
And what happened after that first game?
"I started fresh. I started over," she said smiling. "I did well on that first ball and then I took it from there. I stopped thinking about that last game."
After the second round was complete, Crum and Monahan were tied for first at 434 with Lisa Gilbert totaling a 390 score. Gilbert wound up tied with Louise Campbell for second overall behind Crum. Both had scores of 792.
"I think I did the best I could," said Gilbert, who finished with a series of 180-210-171-231. "I think my third game, I wish I could do over. I could have done better picking up my spares in the third game."
Crum said getting a new bowling ball at the outset of 2014 made a difference. She admitted to having a good year this season, but a much better season last year when she won. She did allow herself to soak up the moment of her back-to-back title, too.
"It's kind of cool to win back to back," she said. "I like bowling with all these women. They make me a better bowler."
Campbell had finished sixth in her last BOY tournament. She made no bones about what her expectations were coming into the 2014 version.
"I was thinking about first place. I was hoping for first place, but to get a 200 average, that was awesome," said Campbell, who totaled scores of 201, 184, 206 and 201. "I used to bowl here a long time ago, and I think I did well, but the lanes have changed so much over time. It took me about two games to get me where I needed to be."
The likes of Matt Veckov and B.J. Troutman pushed Fink for most of the night, finishing second and third, respectively. Frank Goss was in the mix early. He was the round-two leader at 480 with Fink at 479 and Veckov at 469.
Fink said he felt good from the beginning of the night.
"When you start with nine strikes, you know you're in the game," he said. "You pay attention a little more."
After the third round, Fink was in the lead at 716 with Veckov close behind at 692. Troutman was at 687.
"I knew Matt was bowling well," Fink said. "I knew if he doubled in the 10th frame, I had to do the same thing to win."
Veckov's series read like this: 280-189-223-237. He knew what hurt him the most.
"The second game, I didn't carry the 9-pin," Veckov said. "I think I left like five 9-pins, three in the last game."
On their final game, Fink bowled a 218 while Troutman went 215, and there was Veckov, gaining with a 237. Troutman's first three games were 225-234-228.
"I wanted to be close the last game, which I was," Veckov said.
Tournament notes: There were 24 men bowling out of a possible 41, while on the ladies side, there were 18 women bowling out of a possible 31. ... A bird got loose in the bowling center during the outset of the second game for all the competitors, but it was gone within 10 minutes as workers got it to fly out a side door of the building. "The first was exciting for a few minutes, but then it was gone," laughed Campbell. ... Last year's defending men's champion, Mike Weicht, finished with an 819 series (204-207-186-222).
Stacy Crum 166-268-191-217: 842; Louise Campbell 201-184-206-201: 792; Lisa Gilbert 180-210-171-231: 792; Beth Monahan 222-188-191-171: 772; Brenda Miller 207-161-199-185: 752; Julie Fox 184-154-226-184: 748; Dena Renney 203-171-203-165: 742; Crystal Bartley 200-170-244-124: 738; Jill Brown 174-138-206-191: 709; Teresa Preston 138-175-179-201: 693; Cheryl Rupp 190-145-189-155: 679; Danielle Wilson 160-174-159-169: 662; Sheila Harvey 140-170-165-180: 655; Brenda Flick 157-148-173-171: 649; Julie Stiffler 153-166-174-152: 645; Ellen Fisher 162-114-162-209: 640;; Patty Swanson 147-162-182-145: 636; Karen Mentzer 192-109-160-157: 618
Artie Fink 278-201-237-218: 934; Matt Veckov 280-189-223-237: 929; B.J. Troutman 225-234-228-215: 902; Adam Hetrick 205-235-216-233: 889; Tom Stetter Jr. 223-224-237-201: 885; Justin Horton 182-255-227-201: 865; Tom Falbo 215-195-226-225: 861; Frank Goss 230-250-204-175: 859; Joe Veckov 215-233-203-203: 854; Paul Charles: 196-214-184-254: 848; John Stiffler 208-204-200-234: 846; John Slowik Jr. 190-181-224-248: 843; Todd Mash: 194-237-194-207: 832; Mark Diehl 198-234-209-190: 831; Mike Harpster 192-222-238-177: 829; Shawn Smith 201-233-166-223: 823; Mike Weicht 204-207-186-222: 819; Roger Podelco 216-179-210-204: 809; Joe Harbula 255-193-180-178: 806; Joe Hite: 204-236-165-195: 800; Greg Lee 226-149-192-219: 786; Gary Deem 150-265-181-170: 766; Jim Moore 193-181-206-178: 758; Tim Batey: 191-236-162-125: 714