Youth bowlers from around the region came to Excelsior Springs to participate in the Heart of America Jr Classic (photo Mackenzie Cole).

This weekend, Tiger Bowl hosted one of the largest youth Missouri bowling tournaments, The Heart of America. The tournament had a turnout of 53 bowlers, coming from all over Missouri. At the alley, the competition competed throughout Saturday over eight games. The goal is to get a high enough score to make the top eight in their division.

The Heart of America has three separate divisions. Those groups are the majors, classics, and masters. The major’s division has to hit an average of 160 pins per game, classics an average of 170, and masters 190. Any amount over will get you a positive score. For example, if you shoot 165 in the major’s division, that will get you +5. The tournament, after Saturday, takes the top 8 in every division to the Sunday portion. On Sunday, bowlers do a round-robin style match play. During this portion, each of the top 8 will bowl each other once. The players will be ranked based on their scores during these matches, and the top four will move to a step ladder finals. In the finals, 4th place will bowl 3rd to move on to compete against 2nd. The winner of that game will bowl 2nd place for the chance to bowl first, and the winner will bowl 1st to decide who wins. 

Seven of the kids who bowled in the tournament were from Tiger Bowl. In majors, you had Quinlynn Davis and Averie Bourne bowling to make the top 8 on Saturday. While Averie unfortunately did not make it, taking 17th in her division, Quinlynn tied for 8th place. The tie resulted in a high-stakes tiebreaker, where Quinlynn would end up bowling another game against Alex Beals. Quinlynn ended up barely squeaking out a victory against Beals with a score of 163-157, resulting in her advancement to the Sunday portion of the tournament. 

In Classics, you had Oliva Smith and Brody Hurla trying their best to stay above the competition. While Oliva Smith would place 20th in the division, Brody Hurla took 1st after the first day and was the high qualifier for his division. In masters, you had Logan Fuhr and Andrew Coleman, who made the top 8.

Sunday came early for the bowlers as the next part of the competition started at 8. During the round-robin, scores fluctuated all over the place, with some bowlers staying high like they did the previous day and others not quite able to keep up. Tiger Bowl saw only one of their players, Brody Hurla, make it to the top 4. 

The other bowlers still placed high, with Quinlynn Davis placing 7th out of 18 in Majors, and in Masters, Logan Fuhr placed 7th of 12, and Andrew Coleman, who had a great day and shot his first ever 300, placed 5th out of 12th. 

Brody finished his last three games strongly, starting with his first match against competitor Ethan Deihl. Both bowlers shot great, but the victory would go to Brody, who scored 256 against Ethan’s 202, moving Brody along to the match for 3rd. The next round cut it close, as Brody and his opponent Brayden Ebling stayed even throughout the game, making it come down to the nail-biting 9th and 10th frames. Ebling shot a spare in the 9th, which opened it up for Brody, who was on a 3-strike streak, to get a 4th in the 9th, allowing him to get ahead going into the 10th. The game still wasn’t over as Hurla went to shoot his next shot, resulting in a missed spare, leaving it open for Ebling. Brayden, who got the first strike in the 10th, would unfortunately not be able to get a second and spared out the frame, allowing Brody to move on to the final match for the win against Landon Stoddard.

After the last match, Brody knew where to throw his ball, an advantage he used to beat Landon with a 270-194. Brody would emerge as first place in his home house, winning scholarship money as a prize. 

Overall, the Heart of America would run as a success for the community. It was great for bowlers from all over Missouri to experience Excelsior Springs’s Tiger Bowl, get experience in a PBA (Pro-Bowling Association) style tournament, have fun, and earn scholarship money. 

Brody Hurla, Excelsior Springs Senior, took home the hardware at the Heart of America Jr. Classic (photo Mackenzie Cole).

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