Pro-am brings bowlers together
By John Bassetti
Struthers freshman Adam Cifra was decked out in his school bowling uniform with freshman teammates during practice for a high school pro-am at Bell-Wick Bowl Friday night, but, 10 minutes earlier, he was standing at a vending machine — minus shoes.
It was part of the pressure-less, hour-plus session with professionals among the 32 four-person teams as a prelude to this weekend’s PBA Hubbard Open.
Just a few weeks ago, Cifra helped Struthers to a runner-up finish at the state high school tournament in Columbus.
“I was in the third Baker game of the first set and all of the championship matches after that,” Cifra said of his participation against Coldwater and eventual Division II winner Champion.
Friday’s games were a laid-back learning experience for the 15-year-old, who, in a few years, may follow in the footsteps of Corey Bayus and Dan DiLoreto — two other Struthers bowlers to have won state individual titles.
For now, Cifra benefitted from the knowledge of six different pros for an enjoyable evening.
Glenn Karsnak of New Castle and Dennis Briggs of Beaver Falls were two pros introduced prior to the pro-am.
This will be Karsnak’s second Hubbard Open after participating in 2012, when Rhino Page was champion.
Karsnak is a 24-year PBA member with two top-five finishes at the regional level: Cuyahoga Falls and Akron Firestone’s Tournament of Champions, alongside bowlers such as Mark Roth, Pete and Dick Weber and Marshall Holman in the early 1980s.
The 55-year-old Karsnak, who works for Pitt-Ohio Express in Wheatland, now bowls 6-8 regionals a year as well as a few national senior stops.
Karsnak stays active locally as a juniors coach on Saturdays at Colonial Lanes in New Castle.
The 53-year-old Briggs, an auto collision technician, said he’s a late-bloomer as a bowler.
“I’ve been a PBA member for only six years. Three weeks after I turned 50, I bowled in my first national stop in Columbus and shot my first PBA 300 in the qualifying round.”
Of Briggs’ three previous Hubbard Opens, his best was last year when he just missed cashing in the senior division following the eight-game qualifying round.
Although Bell-Wick hasn’t been Briggs’ favorite house, depending on the lane conditions, he hopes to do better this time.
“I’m a right-handed stroker who doesn’t overpower, so the Cheetah pattern is suited for me. Hopefully, it’ll be my day.”