Northwest Indiana Junior Tournament
Belzeski Survives Championship Round, Captures First
NWIJTPA Title in Dramatic Fashion
Lake Central Senior leads Qualifying, then edges Michigan's Samantha
Gainor 138-137 in title match
Lake Central senior Kelly Belzeski earned her first victory the old fashioned way, she worked
hard and grinded it out. The 2013 Valparaiso Open Champion bested a field of 33 girls during
the qualifying segment with a 1,253 total edging Fort Wayne's Sydney Brummett by 11 pins to
earn the top seed heading into the 6 person eliminator round. In round 1, Michigan bowlers
Samantha Gainor (#3 seed) and Nicole Mikaelian (#4 seed) were joined by Aurora Illinois native
Jordan Newham and Portage junior Jackie Rhoda. Newham's 206 earned the top spot while
Gainor's 191 grabbed the final advancing spot to round 2 where the pair would be joined by the
WIchita State bound Brummett. This was the first of two matches that pitted superstars from
Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana against each other, and it provided the highest scores of the
Penn High School Senior Dustin Zehner qualified in the fifth position in a field of 26 boys, then
battled through four elimination rounds to earn his first NWIJTPA title and the coveted banner
that accompanies the victory, but it was anything but easy. In the first round, he would have
to battle the 2013 NWIJTPA Tour Championships Champion Bobby Kammer, Indiana High
School Bowling 2012-13 First Team All Stater from Avon Nick Corbin, and Lowell High School
sensation Nick Marlett who advanced to the eliminator round by defeating Chesterton's Mark
Childress in a electric 2-frame rolloff. When the dust settled, it was Zehner (211) and Marlett
(178) advancing. The pair was then joined by the #2 seed Jacob Santos who was only one of
two boys to average over 200 during qualifying. Santos however had no look and quickly fell
behind the two who seemed to carry a high level of momentum into the match, momentum that
elimination rounds as all three girls were determined not to be the one eliminated. In the end, Gainor managed to pull away near the end finishing
with a strong 216 for the top spot while Brummett (200) forced Newham (205) to strike out in the tenth to secure the second advancing spot.
Enter top seed Belzeski into the semi-final match - giving Indiana another opportunity to defend it's turf against the visiting Newham and Gainor.
Both Belzeski (210) and Gainor (212) found early success and the pair pulled away from Newham (170), who was unable to make up the ground
during the latter half of the match, setting up the final between Belzeski and Gainor. The title match saw Gainor jump out to a commanding lead
after five frames but Belzeski never gave up and mistakes by Gainor in the second half allowed Belzeski to comeback for a 138-137 victory.
Junior Gold spots were secured by Heidi Tucker and Kasey Stewart while Megan Heflin earned a U15 spot for the girls.
South Bend's Dustin Zehner Avoids Elimination to Earn
First NWIJTPA Title
Penn Senior Qualifies 5th, Survives 4 Eliminator Rounds, defeats
Lowell's Nick Marlett in title match 191-152
entered the match averaging 212 on the difficult Women's NCAA Pattern #3. Marlett led the trio with a 191 while Zehner stormed back and filled 20
early lead that Marlett could not answer, ultimately coasting to a 191-152 victory.
Junior Gold spots were earned by Jacob Yankauskas and Mike Blue while Austin Trent secured a U15 spot for the boys.
The next event will be December 1st at Hebron Lanes with a 10am start time. Check in begins at 9am. The field is limited to 56 bowlers so please
send in you entries early to secure your opportunity at the Porter County Open title.
The Valparaiso Open was the tour's largest event in three years with 59 entries. This would not have occurred had it not been for the support of
Coach Nantais and MJMA's Jerry Tarabek. Also, a big thanks to Holezenballz Pro Shop for helping add $250 to the scholarship fund.