Colony Park North team wins one for 'Pap' during emotional day at South Hanover Lanes

Greg Elicker and Jen (Elicker) Sparks hold the Mike Elicker Memorial Team Challenge Cup as their Colony Park North No. 3 teammates Alex Ludwig, left, Chad Ruby and Travis Sparks look on.  Judy Elicker, second from right, presented the trophy and Don Smith, right, was the tournament director.
  • The Mike Elicker Memorial Team Challenge was held at South Hanover Lanes.
  • The Colony Park North No. 3 team won the tournament championship.
  • The winning team included Jen Sparks, Greg Elicker, Travis Sparks, Alex Ludwig and Chad Ruby.

After a long, tense and emotionally draining day at South Hanover Lanes, Judy Elicker presented the Mike Elicker Memorial Team Challenge Cup to her granddaughter, Jen (Elicker) Sparks, and her Colony Park North No. 3 teammates — Greg Elicker, Travis Sparks, Alex Ludwig and Chad Ruby.

Colony Park North No. 3 defeated the Suburban Bowlerama No. 1 team of Jimmy Plessinger, Dave Kareis, Kevin Appnel, Eric Smith and Paul Wolfram, 225-216 and 201-197, in the finals to secure the cup. 

"This is the most emotional win of my life," said Jen Sparks, who slammed the door on Suburban's comeback hopes in the second game with a strong 10th frame from her anchor position. "We definitely wanted to win the tournament for 'Pap.' We felt he was with us all day."

"It was a very special win," said grandson Greg Elicker. "I just thought about how happy this would make 'Pap.'"

Mike Elicker, who worked at Lincolnway Lanes for 40 years, died in May 2018 at age 78. 

"Mike would be so proud of Jen and Greg and the rest of the team," said Judy Elicker, his widow. 

Rallying for the win: Colony Park North No. 3 had to rally to win the tournament. The team was fifth after three games of league-style qualifying. The fivesome caught fire in games three through seven of the 12-game Baker format. They reeled off games of 224, 248, 248, 225 and 234 to move into third-place.

In the semifinals, Colony Park North No. 3 defeated the defending champs, Colony Park North No. 2 (Dave Rishel, Justin Mong, Danny Sneddon, Chuck Crone and Joe Mong) in what turned out to be a two-ball roll-off. Justin Mong and Jen Sparks traded strikes and then Danny Sneddon left a 10-pin while Greg Elicker wrapped up the win with a strike.

"Colony Park North No. 3 was great in the clutch in the finals and the semifinals," said Don Smith, the tournament director. "It was a fitting and emotional win for them. There were a lot of misty eyes during the trophy presentation."

 Jen Sparks said: "I felt like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders when we won. Our entire team wanted to win this tournament and make sure the traveling trophy returned to Colony Park North. We all worked together, and it was a great team effort."

The winning team collected $1,800, while the second-place team earned $900. The third-place team pocketed $500.

Reach Barry Sparks at This story was provided through the York Area Bowling Proprietors Association.