May 25, 2017
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A sweet victory

Sjuggerud wins first Match Game title



This one was as sweet as it gets for a Sjuggerud.

Bowling in the house he grew up learning the sport at, Dave Sjuggerud became the first member of his avid bowling family to claim a Kenosha News Match Game Tournament title, winning the Senior Men’s Division crown in the 54th annual event on Thursday night at Sheridan Lanes.

The 53-year-old said he’s competed in the event just about every year since he was 18 — though a broken wrist prevented him from competing the last time it was at Sheridan in 2014 — and his top finish was a second-place showing in the Men’s Division.

This time, he came out on top on his home lanes.

“This is where I started, Sheridan Lanes,” said Sjuggerud, who appeared to get a bit teary-eyed in his championship acceptance speech. “It’s nice to bowl and win it here.”

When suggested if this was a monkey off his back, Sjuggerud replied quickly.

“You’re not kidding,” he said. “I probably won’t sleep tonight.”

A family affair

Sjuggerud’s mom, Pat, was inducted into the KWBA Hall of Fame in 1995 and was the first woman in Kenosha to roll a sanctioned 300. Dave Sjuggerud said his mom “kind of got me going in bowling.”

“I know she would’ve loved to have been here,” he said.

Sjuggerud himself was elected into the KBA Hall of Fame in 2007, and his father Floyd also helped him get into the sport.

“He had all the older guys down here,” Dave Sjuggerud said.

“They were my cheerleaders tonight, just like every year. They all come down and watch me, so I’m happy I put on a show for them.”

The gist of that show on Thursday could best be characterized by the famous words of late Raiders owner Al Davis: “Just win, baby!”

Sjuggerud did just that by any margin necessary to take over the top spot from Rich Beltoya — the defending champion who entered Thursday with a scant one-point lead on Sjuggerud after Monday’s first night of finals — and not relinquish it.

Sjuggerud went a perfect 8-0 in his matches Thursday, including three wins by a combined seven pins in his fifth, sixth and seventh matches. One of those was a 233-230 defeat of Beltoya in the night’s fifth match.

“You’ve got to win,” Sjuggerud said. “The points are the big thing in this tournament. If you don’t win, you don’t gain a lot of ground.”

He did gain a lot of ground to take over first with games of 299 — he left just the 4-pin standing on his final throw — and 278 in his second and fourth matches.

Over the two days of finals, Sjuggerud went 15-1 to rack up 450 points on match wins alone. With a total pinfall of 3,687 added to that, he finished with 937 points. Bowlers are awarded 30 points for each match win and either gain or lose a point for each pin over or under 200.

Beltoya went 10-5-1 with a pinfall of 3,715 to place second with 830 points. He entered the placement round needing to defeat Sjuggerud by 28 pins to defend his title, but an unfortunate 7-10 split on his first throw put him in a hole, and Sjuggerud won 245-225 to seal it.

“I liked it off my hand, too,” Beltoya said of the 7-10. “I had good rotation. I really threw that ball (well). It’s one of those breaks. It happens. It’s part of the game.”

Don Kirschbaum (9-7 record, 3,652 pins) placed third with 722 points, Mike Bain (10-5-1, 3,584) was fourth with 699 and Gary Wolf (8-5-3, 3,565) finished fifth in the 16-man field with 650.

Another go-round

Both Beltoya and Sjuggerud will be at it again tonight as part of the Men’s Division finals, which begin at 6:30 p.m. at Sheridan and conclude the tournament.

Sjuggerud is in 13th place after Tuesday’s first night of finals, but Beltoya will once again start the night on top of the field. He leads Jacob Boresch by 33 points.

“I think if the shot’s like it played (Thursday night), I’m going to have to move a little more left right out of the gates,” the left-handed Beltoya said. “I was trying to fight it inside a little more and cover a few more boards, and that just wasn’t working. I should’ve moved left right away, and I didn’t jump on that.

“I know it’s going to take a lot more (tonight). I’m going to need a lot more.”


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