More than 200 bowlers made their way to Buena Lanes for the 2018 Ventura County Regional bowling competition this past Saturday.
The morning team competition consisted of 17 teams of four bowlers split into six divisions.
The afternoon’s individual competition featured athletes from a number of surrounding Special Olympics Southern California regions, including Kern County, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Northern Santa Barbara. The individual competition featured 15 female divisions and 26 male divisions.
A handful of divisions resulted in close finishes up to the very last frames. In Division F01 on the women’s side, Cassandra Dzibinksi (Kern County) bowled a score of 133 to edge out Althea Barilone-Hayes (Ventura County) by one pin for the gold medal. The men’s Division M11 had a similar result, as Amir Shahin (Simi Valley Alley Cats – Ventura) rolled a combined 369 for the gold and Lauro Ramirez (Kern County) posted a 368 for silver.
Among the tightest margins from gold to bronze, Division M23 was highly competitive. Conejo Champs (Ventura) bowlers Daniel Thompson and Peter Stracke finished 1-2 with scores of 319 and 310, respectively. Gregg Landry (Santa Barbara) was not far behind at 309 to earn the bronze.
Throughout the day, the athletes were happy the bowling season was in full swing.
“I like to get strikes!” said Simi Valley Alley Cats bowler Reese Kaul, 21, who won the gold medal in Division M26 with a score of 486. “I like competing against other teams, making new friends.”
The medals for the event were provided by a $4,000 donation from the Ventura chapter of National Charity League (NCL), a mother-daughter philanthropic organization and longtime Special Olympics Ventura County supporter.
NCL had 24 volunteers present in the morning session and another 24 in the afternoon.
“[The girls] get to know the athletes, and they come here year after year and build relationships,” said Gail Michalak, the organization’s philanthropy chairperson for Special Olympics.
“They love to see the athletes succeed, they love to cheer them on.”
Inside the SOSC is a blog written by staff member Tracy McDannald. It is a more feature-style approach to looking inside what makes Special Olympics Southern California so unique, so special. It is meant to explore the people and their stories. One word at a time.