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Kingston 8th-grader heads to national bowling tourney in July
KINGSTON — Kingston native Ryan Gabrielli has a knack for bowling.
His mother Carol Gabrielli said the 13-year-old has always been a kid who excels at whatever he likes.
Apparently, Ryan likes bowling.
The Sylvan Way Christian School upcoming eighth-grader picked up his first bowling ball in September. His first average was a 78 and he rolled gutter ball after gutter ball.
But just seven months after his string of gutter balls Ryan entered his first tournament — the Washington State U.S. Bowling Congress Championship Tournament — in Tacoma. He won the single’s event in his division and after nine games his average bumped by 46 pins to 124.
But the budding bowler didn’t stop there.
He qualified for the State USBC Youth Pepsi Tournament at Hazel Dell Lanes near Vancouver on May 18.
Ryan faced eight opponents and won the state tournament, just eight months after rolling his first gutter ball.
“It was kind of scary. There were so many kids there,” he said. “I wasn’t even thinking about my form or anything I was just throwing it.”
And he’s still got some pins to demolish.
Ryan’s win at state qualified him for the National Pepsi Tournament in Detroit, Mich. July 14-16.
So how did Ryan go from amateur to pro-bowler in a matter of months?
He doesn’t really know.
“I kept on watching everybody and their form and I got some help on how to throw it,” Ryan said. “I just started thinking and keeping track of my form and after a while I suddenly knew I was doing better.”
He has his friend Sean Grocott to thank.
Grocott invited Ryan to bowl with his Kitsap County Bowling Association (KCBA) team.
Ryan accepted, but he was a little scared.
“I didn’t know anybody and I could see everybody getting strike after strike after strike,” Ryan said, “and me, I was getting gutter after gutter after gutter.”
He stuck with it, and only practiced minimally. Gabrielli said practices were hit and miss, whenever they could work it in.
Next he wanted his own, personal bowling ball, as he was using the house equipment.
A few months into his bowling career Ryan got what he asked for: a red, orange and black 12-pound Tornado ball.
“I got really excited,” he said. “It’s my first ball. My only one that I have.”
Things seemed to fall into place for Ryan until the week before the state tournament.
Ryan was messing around with a few friends and one of them did a roundhouse kick aimed perfectly at Ryan’s right hand — his bowling hand. It bothered him that week and a few days before state he went to the doctors and was told it would be OK; it just needed ice. But the morning of the tournament they got a call saying Ryan had a fracture.
“Ryan said ‘I’m going to bowl anyway, I’ll bowl left handed,’” a beaming Gabrielli recalled.
He didn’t have a fracture, but his hand hurt throughout the tournament.
He had an additional obstacle to overcome at the tournament in playing on a modified shark lane. It was another first for Ryan.
A modified shark lane is when a lane is so well oiled it’s hard to throw any type of curve ball and most balls only roll straight.
But the shark lane was no match for Ryan’s skills.
“I just bowled straight and I got a little bit of curve out of the ball after a while to where it went into the pocket,” he said.
At the end of day one Ryan was tied for first and the only KCBA bowler to advance to round two.
His first game of round two was against the young man he was tied with. Ryan won.
He went on to win six more contests and the entire competition.
Although Ryan’s done his share, there’s still lots of work left. A total of $6,400 must be raised to send Ryan, his two coaches, Aaron and Ronada Deutsch, his mother and father Shawn Antig and stepmother Regan Antig to Detroit.
They’ve all been selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts at the Poulsbo and East Bremerton Wal-Marts. They’ll continue their money raising efforts this Friday through Sunday at the Wal-Marts.
So far they’ve sold 11,005 dozen doughnuts and are a half way to $6,400.
Ryan is the first KCBA bowler to qualify for nationals in 19 years. The last KCBA bowler to make the trip is one of his coaches, Ronada.
He’ll compete against two bowlers from each state in Detroit, and have the chance to win some scholarships. A total of $34,000 will be divvied up with the top honors starting at $3,000.
“I just want to win the whole thing, I seriously do,” Ryan said. “And make some new friends from around the USA.”