Poff navigates his way to York Masters bowling title

Barry Sparks
For The York Dispatch

The brutally challenging lane conditions at the 2022 York Masters at Laser Alleys on Sunday were akin to rough seas during a storm.

Jerred Poff, however, had the most success navigating the lane conditions. He defeated Ritchie Wolfe, the 2019 York Masters champ, 209-179, in the finals to capture the championship.

Jerred Poff, right, receives the 2022 York Masters trophy from Terry Brenneman, proprietor of Laser Alleys, on Sunday afternoon.

"It's overwhelming and very satisfying," Poff said immediately following his victory. "The lane conditions were about as hard as they can get. My goal was to keep the ball as close to the pocket as I could and make my spares."

The difficult lane conditions kept scores low all day. Poff and Adam Baer were the only bowlers in a field of 35 to average 200 or higher for five games of qualifying. 

Poff, a right-hander, opened a 21-pin lead against Wolfe, a southpaw, after the first three frames in the final. Poff put together three spares, and Wolfe was hurt by two open frames.

The game tightened when Wolfe struck in frames six, seven and eight. His momentum was halted, however, with a spare in the ninth.

"That spare gave me an opening," said Poff, who collected $790 for the win. "I knew I had to take advantage of it. Whenever Ritchie throws the ball, you expect him to strike. If he struck out, he could have beat me."

Poff stayed focused on his game and struck out in the 10th, while Wolfe posted a strike and a nine-count.

"It's humbling how difficult this game can be," Poff said. "My mental game played a big role today."

While Poff faced some key moments against Wolfe, his biggest clutch shot of the day came in the quarterfinals against Troy Lehigh.

Poff needed to make the 3-10 split in the 10th frame to advance to the semifinals. He converted the baby split and showed some rare emotion.

"I knew what was on the line, and I knew I needed that spare," he said. "Troy bowled well, but when it's your day, it's your day."

Poff finished first in qualifying and received a bye in the first round. He advanced to the finals by defeating Lehigh in two games (total pins), 374-363, and taking down Eric Smith, 256-209, in the semifinals. Wolfe downed Andrew Koicuba, 361-353, and Steve Sneidman, 452-325, in two games (total pins) and Jim Tomek, Jr., 179-163.

Bowlers who advanced to the top 12 and their scores, plus or minus the number of pins over or under 1,000 pins for five games, are listed below.

  1. Poff (+51)
  2. Baer (+11)
  3. Sneidman (-12);
  4. Smith (-15)
  5. Ryan Leader (-27)
  6. Koicuba (-31)
  7. George Kostjal (-33)
  8. Lehigh (-33)
  9. Mark Marshall (-39)
  10. Tomek, Jr. (-61)
  11. Wolfe (-79)
  12. Chuck Crone (-81)