The bowling lanes were oiled and the pins were standing at attention as the second annual Edward G. Elias Scholarship Bowling Tournament commenced this weekend in the Student Union game room.
“I thought it’d be a really good way to represent the Bowling Club because I’m on the team,” said second-place winner Carissa Signore, a senior. “I love bowling, so anywhere I can bowl I want to do it.”
Ninety-six participants in total were divided into three sessions, each bowling three games. The top 16 men and women advanced to the finals, where they bowled an additional three games in the hopes of winning scholarship money and a trophy.
Matt Blake took top honors in the men’s division with a 630 series. Thomas Minnick followed in second place with a 589 series, and Andrew Hatfield finished with a 562 series, good enough for third place.
Shaina Pearlman led the women with a 521 series, earning herself a first place trophy. Signore’s 488 series was enough for second place, and Monica Metts was close behind in third with a 482 series.
Signore was happy with second place, especially after her slow start.
“Judging from my bad games in the first session, I bounced back really well,” Signore said. “I think I did really well to finish it out in the finals.”
The tournament reached its maximum level of participants, everyone having various degrees of experience. Signore herself only became serious about bowling in February of this year.
“We had several bowlers that are currently on the Akron Bowling Club and several that are beginners and many that fall everywhere in between,” said Mitch Cassidy, assistant manager of the game room.
While both novice and experienced bowlers were drawn to the tournament, a change in format made it a better match for those more familiar with the sport. Last year’s tournament was based on a set target score, while this year’s winners were determined by overall high score.
“This change was made because it allows the skill and talent of dedicated bowlers to show, whereas in the old format, anyone could get lucky and attain their target score, no matter how low it was, and win,” Cassidy said.
Although finalist Michael Mastcko hadn’t bowled in a couple years, he felt the prize was a good incentive to pick up a ball again.
“I’m 23 and I’ve been bowling since I was three,” said sophomore Mastcko. “I hadn’t bowled in two years so I figured, ‘Why not?’ It gave me a nice shot at winning some scholarship money to help pay for my books.”
Technical lane difficulties caused the finals to take longer than expected, but the level of sportsmanship among the participants, many of whom had only just met their competition, made the time go fast and helped the bowlers feel more at ease.
Mastcko even found a friend on the lanes who this semester is rushing the same fraternity he is already a member of. He was hoping they would each take home a trophy to bring recognition to their house.
Cassidy said they expect to hold this tournament every year for as long as they can.
The Edward G. Elias Scholarship Bowling Tournament was established last year by Peggy Elias in honor of her husband, founder of the Professional Bowlers Association and a graduate of the University of Akron.
Elias was in attendance to congratulate the winners and thank the audience for their support.
For those wishing to participate in next year’s bowling tournament, check updates for official tournament posted on the game room’s website or email Cassidy at [email protected] for more information.