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HEIDELBERG, Germany — Four teens participating in the 2007 U.S. Bowling Congress Eurozone Youth Championships on Thursday earned a chance to shuffle off to Buffalo.

“I’m quite pleased with the result,” said boys scratch champion Jacob Chapman, 16, one of two winners from RAF Fairford, England. “I bowled a 195 average over 23 games.”

Fairford’s Cora Nickel, 13, topped the girls handicap division, and Spangdahlem’s Amber Zgonina, 17, won the girls scratch category. Robert Seaberry, 14, of Mannheim is the boys handicap champion.

All four were in line for a trip to the USBC national youth championships in July in Buffalo, N.Y., but at least one of them won’t go.

Zgonina averaged 161.57 over 21 games here, but carries a 154 average overall, too low to qualify for the nationals. Stephana Robinson of Ramstein, who carries a 175 average and was the scratch runner-up during the tournament, will take her place at the nationals.

“I’m a little bit disappointed, but I am glad I won,” said Zgonina, whose 13-year-old sister, Kristen, was the top qualifier for the four-bowler round-robin finals here before finishing third.

“I was fourth last year, but I was more stressed out this year.”

In addition to the four representatives going to the nationals, the top finishers in each category received scholarship money ranging from $195 to $525.

Winning at Heidelberg Bowl, according to the elder Zgonina, a Bitburg High School senior, and Chapman, a student at Swindon College, England, required mastering nerves and a challenging lane set-up called “sports conditioning.”

Chapman, here for the fourth time, said sports-conditioned lanes, which go from dry to oily between rounds, posed a problem.

“The lanes were very hard to read, very complex,” he said after knocking down 4,265 pins in 23 games. “You had to be so consistent and avoid splits.”

That was the point, Bruce Shattuc, youth bowling director for Installation Management Command-Europe, told the bowlers.

“If you think you didn’t bowl well this week, go back and add 15 to 20 pins to what you averaged here,” he said.

“That’s what you would have bowled on ordinary lanes. We used sports conditioning to challenge you mentally as well as physically.”

Girls handicap champion Nickel found her game elevated by the lane treatment.

“I bowled way over my average,” said Nickel, who was more than 33 pins over her normal score during 23 games in the tournament. “Our lanes (at Fairford) are really dry.”

Seaberry also obliterated his pre-tournament average.

Seaberry, who brought a 128 average into this event, averaged a scratch 160 in topping the 59-bowler handicap field on his way to the finals. He finished more than 100 pins ahead of the runner-up in the finals.


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