Local bowlers earn trip to Timmins

There will be a strong mix of veterans and new blood representing Sunset Country at the Northern Ontario five-pin bowling championships coming up Easter weekend in Timmins.
The Sunset Country men’s, women’s and mixed teams were determined at the 20-game zone roll-offs held Saturday and Sunday at Plaza Lanes here.
Ed Bates (Dryden), Darryl Rollins (Dryden), Roger Peterson (Dryden), Ken Dick (Fort Frances), Jamie McKenny (Fort Frances), and Norm Sanders (Dryden) qualified for the men’s team.
Frank Kortz (Kenora), Charlie Alexander (Dryden), and Chris Gadd (Dryden) will be the three men on the mixed squad.
Meanwhile, Shelley Petsnick (Dryden), Dixie McDonald (Fort Frances), Brenda Hanzuk (Fort Frances), Terri Hamilton (Dryden), Carla Hanzuk (Fort Frances), and Terry Delaronde (Dryden) will make up the Sunset Country women’s team in Timmins.
Lori Pattison (Fort Frances), Jackie Miner (Dryden), and Cheryl Stefanik (Kenora) earned the three women’s berths on the mixed team.
The men’s team will be led by Bates—a first-time entrant in the zone roll-off—whose 273 average during the 20-game showdown put him atop the 21-man field.
His performance was even more impressive given he had to overcome some adversity the night prior to the tournament.
“For me it went really well,” Bates said. “I blew a shoe on Friday. I had to borrow a shoe, and it worked out well.”
Among the local bowlers, Dick’s 242 average left him in fourth place overall—just ahead of McKenny, who averaged 238 to finish in fifth.
Dick’s performance also was noteworthy in that it extended his provincial qualifying streak.
“This is my third time trying out and I’ve been successful [in qualifying] three times in a row,” he remarked.
“It’s an endurance contest and as long as you can keep up the endurance and keep throwing good balls, you’ve got a good chance of getting there,” Dick added.
One of the most dramatic battles of the weekend centered around the final male berth on the mixed team.
Heading into the final game late Sunday afternoon, Gadd held a slim lead over no fewer than five bowlers—Andrew Stamarski (Fort Frances), Mike McGinn (Dryden), Ralph Potter (Dryden), Ric Kitzul (Atikokan), and Ernie Matthews (Dryden).
But the five-time provincial qualifier rose to the challenge, bowling a respectable 242 to fend off his fellow competitors.
“Everyone else kind of threw the same as me and I held my own out there,” Gadd said afterwards.
In stark contrast to the men’s division, the top finisher on the women’s side, Petsnick, possesses a wealth of experience at both the provincial and national levels.
Over the past 23 years, Petsnick has failed to qualify for the provincial championships just three times. She also is coming off a year in which she competed in the national championships in Newfoundland.
“It never gets old,” Petsnick said of qualifying for the provincials. “It’s always exciting.
“It’s the people here, they’re just all great people.”
Petsnick narrowly edged out McDonald by 25 pins for top spot in the 14-bowler women’s division.
Clinging to a 31-pin advantage heading into the final game Sunday afternoon, Petsnick only bowled a 212—leaving the door open for McDonald to overtake her.
However, the Fort Frances-based bowler could only muster a 218 herself—giving Petsnick the win.
Despite missing the chance to surpass Petsnick, McDonald was pleased with her performance.
“I was very happy with the way I bowled this weekend,” she said afterwards. “I was extremely consistent and I think that’s how I managed to stay in the top three.
The combination of Petsnick and McDonald—the latter a 12-time national championship competitor in her own right—should provide a solid foundation upon which the Sunset Country women’s team can build in Timmins.
“I think we have a pretty veteran team with me and Shelley on there,” said McDonald. “Both of us are extremely experienced at the provincial and national level.
“We don’t have any rookies on the team this year, so we should all be able to bond together and bowl well.”
Joining Petsnick and McDonald on the women’s team are twin sisters Brenda and Carla Hanzuk. The pair averaged 227 and 214, respectively, to earn a trip to Timmins.
Petsnick, McDonald, and Brenda Hanzuk—because of their top three finish—also will vie in the singles competition at Timmins.
The lone local qualifier on the mixed team that will compete at the provincials was Pattison, who averaged 207 during the two-day competition to earn her berth.
The top six in each division qualified for the men’s and women’s teams while the seventh-ninth finishers earned berths on the mixed team.
The top singles competitor in both the men’s and women’s division, along with the winning team in each of the men’s, women’s, and mixed divisions, will advance to the national roll-offs May 30-June 2 in Sudbury.
Local bowlers who did not qualify for the provincial tournament in the men’s division included Stamarski, who finished in 13th place with a 219 average, Mike Behan in 15th place (217 average), Terry Wilson in 20th place (189 average), and Jason Rousseau in 21st place (188 average).
In the women’s division, Bobbi Jo Morelli finished in 11th place with a 192 average.