Two former champs, one surprise newcomer lead BowlerMaxx York County Match Play qualifying

BARRY SPARKS
717-505-5403/@ydsports
  • Qualifying for the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship was held this past weekend.
  • The 2016 Match Play champion, Mike Spangler, leads after qualifying, averaging 252.
  • Five-time Match Play champion Adam Baer is second after averaging 251.
  • Newcomer Nick Ryncewicz is third after qualifying with a 246 average.
Mike Spangler

Only 10 pins separate Mike Spangler and Adam Baer after 12 games of qualifying for the BowlerMaxx York County Match Play Championship.

Spangler, the 2016 Match Play champ, set the pace for the 60-bowler field last weekend, averaging 252. Baer, a five-time champ, was close behind, averaging 251.

While Spangler and Baer are familiar names and faces in Match Play competition, that's not the case for newcomer Nick Ryncewicz, a 21-year-old, two-handed bowler from Hanover.

Competing in his first Match Play tournament, Ryncewicz qualified third, averaging 246. As his name consistently appeared on the leader board, fellow bowlers and spectators asked: "Who is that guy?"

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Adam Baer

The slender bowler, nicknamed "Nick The Stick," said: "I mainly entered the tournament to get experience. My expectations weren't very high. My goal was to take one game at a time and not get too excited. My confidence started to grow after getting off to a good start."

Veterans such as Spangler and Baer know a lead is seldom safe in Match Play.

"You can't take anything for granted," Spangler said. "With the Match Play format, you can make up, or lose, ground quickly.  The key is to win your matches and collect the bonus pins."

More:In Central York's first year as PIAA squad, Panthers capture state bowling championship

Nick Ryncewicz

"I'm definitely looking forward to this (coming) weekend," said Baer, who has developed a friendly rivalry with Spangler over the past couple years. "My goal is to bowl well and stay positive."

Ryncewicz is eager to bowl at South Hanover on Saturday and Hanover Bowling Centre on Sunday. 

"I will know what to expect at those centers since I bowl regularly at both of them," he said. "I think I've proven I can compete with the top bowlers."

More:Quest continues after attempt at breaking York County team bowling record falls short again

In the Match Play event, each bowler receives plus or minus the number of pins over or under 200 each game and 30 bonus pins for a win.

Each bowler rolls one game against every other bowler in the field. The final game is a position round, pitting No. 1 vs. No. 2, No. 3 vs. No. 4, No. 5 vs. No. 6 and so forth.

Bowlers start with the number of pins over 2,400 that they tallied in qualifying.

The top 16 bowlers advance to match play.  Bowlers and their beginning scores are: 1. Mike Spangler (629); 2. Adam Baer (619); 3. Nick Ryncewicz (555); 4. George Kostjal (545); 5. Greg Bruff (511); 6. Paul Wolfram (499); 7. Andy Carson (488); 8. Jerred Poff (484); 9. Eric Smith (463); 10. Jen Sparks (441); 11. Ritchie Wolfe (440); 12. Mike Runk (417); 13. Rick Graham (412); 14. Chris Green (392); 15. Jeremy Haines (373); 16. Steve Burkins (372).

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.