Saegertown bowlers back in championship contention as members of Cambridge team

By Nick Archacki and Will Phelan, news editor and social media editor

The Cambridge Springs bowling team, which includes bowlers from all three PENNCREST high schools, has dominated the season in the Ven-Craw (Venango and Crawford counties) high school bowling league as the Blue Devils primary team is among the top forces on the Ven-Craw leaderboard for the fourth straight year.

For the past three seasons, Cambridge has fought to secure a spot in the Ven-Craw championship but was denied by Saegertown in 2016 and Cranberry in both 2017 and 2018. With the addition of two Saegertown bowlers, senior Scott Proper and two-time Ven-Craw league champion, junior Nick Archacki, Cambridge is a top competitor in the league and has a great chance to advance to the championship this season.

The Cambridge Springs Blue team has owned the lumber since the start of the season.  The Blue team currently sits tied for second place, 0.5 points behind the Ven-Craw team leader, Conneaut Lake Blue. The Cambridge Black team holds sixth place. Both teams are currently eligible to make the Ven-Craw playoffs with one match left in the season, as the top eight teams earn a playoff spot.

Regarding the individual standings, Cambridge Springs’ Nick Archacki leads the fifty-eight bowlers of Ven-Craw with an average of 222.33 after 15 games. Following Archacki, his teammate, Maplewood’s Issac Heim, has an average of 206.63 while three bowlers from Conneaut Lake round out the top five with averages between 205 and 199.

The final match for Cambridge Springs and the Ven-Craw league for the regular season is this Sunday at Plaza Lanes in Meadville.

Nick Archacki: Reflections on a Panther’s experience at Team USA bowling trials

by Nick Archacki, staff writer

On January 1, I boarded an airplane with my dad and aunt and flew to Las Vegas to compete in the USBC Team USA Trials/ U.S. Amateur Championships for the second consecutive year.

The tournament was held at The Orleans Hotel and Casino where 175 bowlers from around the country competed, attempting to qualify for either Junior Team USA or Team USA. Bowlers who are classified as amateurs or youth are eligible to compete for the U.S. Amateur Championship, and the pros, amateurs, and youth are combined in the overall standings to attempt to win a spot on Team USA and compete at the World Cup. I was bowling for the U.S. Amateur Championship and a spot on Junior Team USA because I am currently sixteen years old and will not meet the age requirement needed for Team USA until I turn 21.

How can bowlers qualify for Junior Team USA? First off, they must finish the event in one of the top four positions in the youth standings, and if they do, they will automatically earn a spot on Junior Team USA. Secondly, the National Selection Committee for the USBC (United States Bowling Congress) will select two more youth bowlers based on their performances at the Team Trials for Junior Team USA. Youth bowlers can also earn additional spots on the junior team based on their performances at the Junior Gold Championships in the U20 division. The bowlers in the U20 division will join the team if they qualify in the top five positions in qualifying along with the highest match play finalist if they meet the age requirements.

Beginning on the first day of the tournament on Jan. 3, I came into the tournament with an open mind not sure what to expect, but I was ready for the challenges. On day one, I bowled on Los Angeles, a 38′ (foot) oil pattern on a sixty-foot lane from the foul line to the front of the pin deck, going -50 for the day, which is fifty pins under a 200 average for the day being an even score, with games of 191, 178, 191, 179, 190, and 221.

On day two, I bowled on London, a 44′ oil pattern, where I shot scores of 172, 182, 165, 204, 247, and 161 to go -69 for the day, my worst day in the event. On day three I bowled on Athens, a 40′ oil pattern, where I shot games of 183, 159, 223, 222, 212, and 177 to go -24 for the day. On day four I bowled on Melbourne, a 37′ oil pattern, and made a big comeback as I shot games of 192, 192, 227, 137, 211, and 243 to go +3 for the day. On day five, the final day of the tournament, I bowled on Rome, a 41′ oil pattern, where I shot games of 220, 196, 170, 206, 199, and 167 to finish out the day -42 as well as the thirty game marathon with a strike.

As I think back on the experience, I feel like this tournament was by far the hardest I’d ever competed in, and that says a lot for the kind of competitive bowler that I am. I’m both proud of and a bit discouraged by my performance because I ended up doing better this year than last year in the event, and I was able to hold my own on very tough oil patterns against some of the best from PBA pros to the best youth bowlers in the country.

My mom, Ann Archacki, said, “I am very proud of Nick. He was out there with amazing bowlers from all over the country. He has learned many things about himself and what needs to be done to improve his game, mentally and physically.” She added: “I hope this leads Nick to choose a college which will help him achieve his goal of being a successful pro bowler.”

Thank you Mom! Once again, it was a great experience and it sparked a fire inside me which has allowed me to have a successful year thus far. I want to thank the community, the Meadville Tribune, my family, friends and fellow Panthers for all of your support and kind words. I greatly appreciate it!

(Contributed photos: In the photo above, Archacki stands next to professional bowler Kyle Troup who ended up winning the Team USA Trials. In the photo below, Archacki bowls his final frame of the event on Jan. 7, with a nine, spare and a strike.)

Nick Archacki