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LebCo Bowling: Regular Season Complete, Teams Now Ready for League Championships


With the regular season complete, LebCo Bowlers are now turning their attention towards the postseason. On Tuesday, Northern Lebanon, the Section 4 Champion, competed in the Lancaster Lebanon League Team Championships, losing a close quarterfinals matchup to Penn Manor. Next up is the League Championships, which will be held beginning on Friday. In total, thirteen LebCo athletes have qualified to represent their schools at the event.

On Friday, the Boys Championship will be held at Dutch Lanes. The event will feature several LebCo athletes who have an opportunity to make some noise. Leading the local contingent will be Cedar Crest’s Toby Zombro, a 2023 top-ten finisher. Zombro will enter the tournament looking to win the League Championship, something his older brother Darren did while competing for the Falcons. Zombro is in a decent position to make it happen, as he has been bowling well as of late and finished the season as the 6th ranked bowler in the League.

Zombro will not be alone in terms of top-tier local talent. Teammate Paxton Thomas had one of the best series rolled by an LL bowler this season. ELCO’s Hunter Heinsey, along with Northern Lebanon’s Charlie Albright and Brentin Sherman, will also be worth watching.

The Girls Championship will take place at Clearview Lanes on Monday. Among the competitors will be the defending Lancaster Lebanon League Champion Morgan Kline of ELCO. The Wichita State commit finished with the regular season with the top average among all bowlers in Section 3. Kline will see a tough field of athletes, many of whom were in the running for last year’s title. While Kline will not have it easy, she will rely on her experience and consistency as she battles to repeat last year’s gold medal-winning performance.

The format for Leagues starts with each bowler completing six games. The ten bowlers with the top total scores from those games will be put into a head-to-head ladder. The top two bowlers earn byes, with the #2-ranked bowler competing in the semi-finals and the #1 seed not having to bowl again until the finals. When everything is considered, winning Leagues takes consistency and endurance.

Below is a team-by-team season recap with more information on which local athletes are competing in Leagues.


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     Cedar Crest Falcons 


Lancaster Lebanon Section 1 – 4th place

Record: 27 – 67

Cedar Crest had its highs and lows throughout the season but remained a threat in most matches as senior Toby Zombro and sophomore Paxton Thomas provided a solid 1-2 punch.

Zombro finished the season with a 217 average, ranking him 6th in the Lancaster Lebanon League. The Falcons’ top option boasted a high game of 279 and a 716 high series.

Thomas had one of the LL’s top performances when he rolled a 754 series. For the season, he tallied a 191 average with a 278 high game.

Given their scores, both Zombro and Thomas qualified for the Lancaster Lebanon League Championships.



    ELCO Raiders  


Lancaster Lebanon Section 1 – 3rd place

Record: 59 – 25

ELCO put forth an outstanding effort during the regular season behind a talented foursome that included Morgan Kline, Hunter Heinsey, Bryce Shaud, and Ben Smeltzer.

Leading the way was Kline, the defending Lancaster Lebanon League Girls Champion. The senior broke two ELCO school records, as she finished with a high series of 720 and finished with an average of 222 for the season. In fact, her average was the best among of all of the Lancaster Lebanon League’s Section 3 bowlers. Coach Pam Rittle said of her top bowler, “Morgan’s performance served as an inspiration to the entire team and set a high standard for excellence.”

While Kline finished at the top of the heap, Heinsey was not far behind, finishing with the third-best average in Section 3. Early in the season against Northern Lebanon, he rolled a 724 series with a 258 high game. In early January, during Kline’s trip to Las Vegas to compete in the US Team Trials, Heinsey delivered a 278 high game on his way to a 732 series against Lampeter-Strasburg. He finished the regular season with a 213 average.

Kline and Heinsey have already qualified for Leagues, Districts, and Regionals. However, they will not be alone at Leagues, as they will be joined by Shaud, Smeltzer, and Kiley Deeks.

It is fitting that Leagues will be a team affair, as Coach Rittle pointed out how tightly knit this group has been. She said, “What truly defined our season was the unity and support among teammates. Despite facing challenges in some matches, our team never wavered in their support for one another. Whether it was helping new members improve their averages or rallying together during tough times, the bonds forged within the team were invaluable.”


     Lebanon Cedars


Lancaster Lebanon Section 2 – 5th place

Record: 4 – 87

The season included some excitement for Lebanon Bowling, as six of the team’s thirteen bowlers rolled games of 200+ at least twice. This effort led to the Cedars picking up their first team points since 2020.

On January 4th, the Cedars collected those team points against the Manheim Township Blue Streaks, the defending PIAA State Champions. Leading the effort in that match was Lebanon’s top bowler, Mason Bender, who bowled a 647 series with games of 223-212-212. In the 2nd game of the afternoon, Bender and his teammates knocked down 920 pins to outpace Township by 23 pins. Three weeks later, Lebanon took two points from McCaskey, winning the 2nd game by 22 pins.

Bender was the team’s top bowler, especially after jumping his average from a 137 to 157 with his outstanding series against Manheim Township that earned him a LebCo Male Athlete of the Week nomination. Alexa Lopez served as Lebanon’s #2 bowler, claiming a high game of 205, with her series high being 487. Lopez’s performance qualified her for the LL Singles Tournament for the second straight year.

Other highlights for the Cedars were: Tyson Griffiths (212 game / 540 series); Dakota Folsom-Brasley (222 game / 552 series); Derek Infante (220 game / 558 series); Reinaldo Rivera (217 game); Joshua Perugorria (568 series); Mohamed Marai (526 series).

The roster featured seven seniors, which will be tough to replace. However, as Coach Ryan Schies is able to recruit, he will be able to continue the culture of improvement that the Cedars had on full display this season.



   Northern Lebanon Vikings


Lancaster Lebanon Section 3 Champions

Record: 59 – 39

Northern Lebanon had a fantastic season that ended with the Lancaster Lebanon League Section 4 Championship and a spot in the Lancaster Lebanon League Team Championship Tournament. It took a collective team effort to edge out Columbia for the Section crown, with a sweep at home during the first half of the season being a large part of the eventual six-point difference. After a late season 4-3 loss to Columbia, the Vikings bounced back to sweep Cocalico to wrap up the title. During the season, Northern Lebanon showed how tough they were many times, especially when taking two points in non-league road matches against solid teams from Lampeter-Strasburg and Manheim Central.

Northern Lebanon’s top two bowlers were Charlie Albright and Brentin Sherman. Albright, a Palmyra student bowling as part of the existing co-op, averaged 201 for the season. Sherman was right behind his teammate as he pulled a 192 average. In addition to their top two bowlers, the Vikings qualified three others for the Lancaster Lebanon League Championships: Paxton Horner, Dominick Judkins, and Jayden Minnich.

What was the key to success for the relatively young team of Vikings? Coach Josh Evans pointed to one skill-related item and a key mental aspect of the game: “We worked very hard on converting our spares and not letting ourselves get frustrated over bad frames.”


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