Coordinators Pat Scanlon, Ray Durbin and Mike and Linda Pavlak did not know what turnout to expect for the Pinellas County Spring High School League.
Their worries were groundless.
A league-record 24 teams representing 12 schools showed for the first week of action Jan. 14.
"We wanted to give every youngster a chance to compete, and they responded," Scanlon said.
The Pavlaks, Scanlon, Durbin and Scott and Arlene Gross, not involved now, helped organize the league six years ago to compliment the long-established Pinellas County High School League.
Countryside's No. 1 squad led after the second week with 36 points and has not lost a match. The team is comprised of Timothy Reinoehl, Alex Mueller, Cassie Carpenter and Matthew Moenec.
Tarpon Springs No. 3 is second, only two points behind. That squad features Jesse Francis, Andrew Owens and Ashly Galante, a 15-year-old who recently returned from competition at USA Bowling's National Amateur Championships in Reno, Nev. She finished 57th.
After only Week 2 in the prep league, the scores are skyrocketing. James Croy rolled a 300-738, Andrew Owens fired a 278 game and Galante notched a 224-583.
Nearly 100 youngsters are involved and many compete in the other high school season from November-May.
The traveling league bowls every Wednesday at AMF Clearwater, Countryside and Rainbow lanes.
For information, call Scanlon, (727) 787-4466.
WIBC EXTENSION: Registration for the 85th Women's International Bowling Congress Championship Tournament in Wichita, Kan., has been extended to Feb. 13.
The tourney starts April 15 and continues through July 6.
The ABC also extended its championships tournament deadline, to the opening day on Feb. 14. The event at National Bowling Stadium in Reno is played through June 28.
DOCTOR'S IN: Clearwater's Tom Wheeler has come up with a method of diagnosing what ails many players _ correct ball selection.
"With my system, bowlers will greatly reduce their chances of selecting a ball, only to discover they don't like it," Wheeler said. "Now, bowlers can increase the odds that the new ball will become their favorite."
Wheeler's online site, www.BowlingBallDynamics.com, introduces players to the system and offers a survey to help select the right ball. He can be reached at (727) 667-3180.
BAGINSKI WINS: Holiday's Darin Baginski stopped James Lundy of Lutz 211-206 to win the Nick Francis Eliminator and $250 on Sunday at Tarpon Lanes. Baginski fired a 300 game during qualifying.
Dunedin's Ron Vassallo finished third, and Spring Hill's Jim Formisano was fourth.
NABI: Lakeland's Levi Buzzell Jr. won the club's tournament and $265 on Sunday at Southland Lanes.
Buzzell defeated St. Petersburg's Don Vinson 247-244 in a semifinal, then stopped Stacey Kownack of Tampa 214-205 for the title.
AROUND THE LANES: High scorers _ Brian Korcak, 300-823, and Michael Wetherell, 809, at Countryside; John Taft, 300, AMF Kenneth City; youth bowler Jon Brady, 289-815, AMF Clearwater; Rich Lancaster, 300-690, Scotty Gormley, 299-780, Victor Montes, 299-727, Chris Holly, 290-690, and Gary Shibley, 290, Dunedin; Jerry Tippett, 300-753, Darryl Dempsey, 300-748, Keith Glasgow, 299-743, and Lou Alessi, 289-739, Southland; and Russell Stratton, 300-749, Seminole. Mike Russ, Dwayne Koceja, Ken Winkle and Steve Jones won the Almost Midnight team tournament and $1,000 at Liberty. Alessi captured the scratch tourney title and $500 at Southland.
_ Phil Gulick can be reached at xerxes8msn.com.