Todd Schaeffer, Amy Rosenberger and Kevin McKenzie, youth bowlers at Hampstead Bowling Center, went to the Baltimore YABA Championship Tournament at Fair Lanes Southdale, to bowl against the best young bowlers in the Baltimore area last month.
Schaeffer and Rosenberger captured first place in the Junior Mixed Doubles event. They dropped 1,266 pins.
Schaeffer, with 2,037 pins, won the Junior Boys All Events title and was just four pins below the winner of the Junior Boys individual division, dropping 711 pins to claim second place.
McKenzie, in the tough Major/Senior Boys division, toppled 664 pins in a three-game set to place sixth, just 31 pins under the winner, Robby Beall.
Ginny Blackowicz, league coordinator and Saturday morning youth coach at Hampstead Lanes, said, "We're proud of all the kids that represented Hampstead at the tournament, every one of them is winner to me."
Schaeffer, a freshman at North Carroll, lives in Hampstead with his older brother Scott and his father, Roland.
Splitting his time between bowling and baseball (he's trying to make the outfield at North Carroll and has survived the first cut), Schaeffer has been bowling for two years.
"I didn't think about bowling in the tournament until Rob [Rosenberger], Amy's brother, mentioned that she needed a partner for the doubles event," Schaeffer said. "If it hadn't been -- for that I probably wouldn't have gone to the tournament."
Throwing a 14-pound Cobra bowling ball without a hook, Schaeffer is holding a 121 average in the Saturday morning youth league at Hampstead Lanes.
Picking just the right time and place, he pounded out his career-high game (213) in the tournament.
"J. B. [Wisner, operator of the pro shop at the center] and Ginny coach me and I guess it's starting to pay off," he said.
Rosenberger turns 14 today, and that makes it 10 years since she first picked up a bowling ball. It was a duckpin ball but four years ago she switched to tenpins.
The eighth-grader at Franklin Middle School carries a 122 average with a high game of 158 and a high set of 403. Both brothers, Adam, 11, and Rob, 14, bowl, and so does her mother, Brenda, who with a 165 average is in a position to do some coaching.
"But I don't really coach the kids," Brenda said. "I let them do it their way. Sometimes I may point a problem but mostly I leave them alone."
McKenzie probably wouldn't have started bowling without the example of his brother, Mike.
The McKenzie family lives in Manchester, and Kevin is a senior at North Carroll.
Using a 16-pound Ebonite bowling ball that he received for Christmas, he has posted a high game of 211 and a high series of 511.
Helping out children
The IOF Foresters Bowling For Miracles fund-raising efforts are in full swing at bowling centers everywhere.
Ginny Blackowicz at Hampstead Bowling Center has made a massive effort to get bowlers to contribute to this cause. You couldn't walk into the center without Blackowicz popping up with one of the red and white paper balloons that people sign when they contribute a dollar.
The goal was to raise $500 for the IOF. The final figure was $548.
The official charity of the Professional Bowlers Association, the IOF Foresters Bowling for Miracles helps hospitalized children in the U.S. and Canada.