By Matt Cannizzaro and Ronald Kirsh
LAS VEGAS – It’s been a great week for Arizona.
On Sunday, the University of Arizona Wildcats earned the first seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
On Monday afternoon, two Grand Canyon State teams moved up to the top of the Standard Division and Ranked Division standings at the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Open Championshipswhile four other teams battled for the lead in the regular division.
Phoenix’s Luke All Stars (above) raised the bar in the standard team with games of 893, 1,010 and 995 for a total of 2,898, using a clean final picture to sneak into first place. Lightning of Cheyenne, Wyoming previously held the lead with 2,890.
Martin Purnell led the way for Luke All Stars with a streak of 637, and he was followed by Brian Richardson (616), Tracy Dumas (613), Richard Seals (522) and Randy O’Brien (510).
Two lanes away, Witt’s Classified Family Affair, also of Phoenix, posted games of 824, 934 and 923 for a total of 2,681, 21 pins shy of the score that won the ranked team at South Point Bowling Plaza in 2021.
Team captain Gregory Witt was not only responsible for bringing his own team to the USBC Open Championships, he also brought in Luke All Stars.
“Two division leaders, that’s a really good day,” said a smiling Witt, who made his 31st tournament appearance.
Witt also led the way for his team on the slopes, delivering a 671 streak. He was joined by Brian Gilliland (553), Keith Duty (518), Cheryl Jubran (481) and Sal Jubran (458).
Pahrump Nugget Bowl 3 from Pahrump, Nevada entered the day leading the ranked team with 2,557.
All members of Witt’s management teams, with the exception of Gilliland, hail from the Greater Phoenix area.
As Luke All Stars flirted with the second 3,000 in the Standard Division’s short history, three Regular Division teams passed the milestone.
The four-team battle for control of the standings was won by Highland Lanes 1 of Toledo, Ohio with a total of 3,078.
American Family 2 of Lincoln, Nebraska, settled into second place with 3,074, and American Family 1 was close behind with 3,048. Crossway Menifee of Menifee, Calif., just missed the mark and moved up in fifth place with 2,992.
The What’s Left of Texas station in Las Vegas previously held the lead with 2,997.
Monday’s lead changes have not been relegated to team competition, however, as the all-event standard events and ranked doubles also have new leaders.
Naveen Nair, who appeared 16 times at the Open Championships in Southern Pines, North Carolina, posted a career-best 1,836 total sets, including 667 sets in singles, 622 in doubles and 547 in team.
Ronald Reyes Sr. of Mesa, Arizona was the player to beat in Standard All-Events with 1,788, while Daryl Stephens of Gilbert, Arizona is the Standard Singles leader with 705.
The standard division, introduced in 2017, features bowlers with incoming tournament averages of 156-175.
Nicole and Larry Flannigan of Kaneohe, Hawaii improved with each match to top the doubles standings with a total of 1,093. Larry Flannigan led the way with a streak of 569 and Nicole Flannigan added 524.
The performance beat Joseph and John LaSpina of New York, who led with 1,060.
The ranked division includes individual bowlers with tournament entry averages of 155 and under and doubles teams with combined entry averages of 310 and under.
The 2022 Open Championships kicked off on Saturday and will run for 129 consecutive days, ending July 18.
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