Kauai bowlers headed to nationals

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    The special Vance Akiyama memorial set up at the first Vance Akiyama Memorial Doubles Bowling Tournament at Kauai Bowl.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kauai Blazing Bowlers Trestyn Reis and Kahanu Weaver-Manaku entice bidding on premium items, Saturday during the first Vance Akiyama Memorial Doubles Bowling Tournament benefiting the junior bowlers.

  • Callum Meredith/Contributed photo

    Curtis Matsumura and Linda Alfiler show off the perpetual Vance Akiyama Memorial Doubles Bowling trophy after winning the doubles tournament, Saturday at the Kauai Bowl.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Alvin Reis and Callum Meredith, two of the Kauai Blazing Bowlers heading to the Juniors national tournament, talk about their achievements while volunteering at the first Vance Akiyama Memorial Doubles Bowling Tournament, Saturday at the Kauai Bowl. Missing is Dana Murata.

LIHUE — Alvin Reis III, a senior at Kauai High School, was so excited, he hit his ankle with the bowling ball.

“But I’m alright,” said Reis, one of three Kauai Junior Blazing Bowler qualifying for the Junior Gold Bowling Championships in Dallas. “I can still bowl. This is only my first time I’ve reached this level, and I was nervous — so nervous that I hit my ankle. I can’t believe it. I was in one of the qualifying tournaments and in third place. Ian Luis, a 2017 Junior Golf Qualifier, was in first, and Dana Murata, whose mother is bowling in this tournament, was in second. But, I ended up winning, and qualifying.”

Reis, Murata, and Callum Meredith, a freshman at Kapaa High School, will be leaving Thursday for the Junior Gold tournament that starts July 14 in Dallas.

They were among the 15 Kauai Blazing Bowlers that were helping Todd Ozaki with the inaugural Vance Akiyama Memorial Doubles Bowling Tournament whose proceeds help the Kauai Blazing Bowlers with some of the travel expenses involved with off-island tournaments like the upcoming 2018 Junior Gold. The tournament was held Saturday at the Kauai Bowl in the Rice Shopping Center.

Among the Kauai Blazing Bowler volunteers, Ozaki pointed out Bradley Stark, a 2017 8 Under Pepsi State Champion, Brendson Stark, a 2018 12 Under State Runner Up, and Luis, who qualified for the 2017 Junior Golf in Cleveland and at 20 years old, is in his final season as a junior bowler.

“Callum 0nly started bowling for less than a year,” Ozaki said. “And he qualified for the Junior Gold! These qualifiers will get some help from what we made from this tournament.”

Ozaki said the Kauai Blazing Bowlers thank the Kauai’s bowling, and community, for its support for the tournament, and the Kauai Junior Bowling program.

“We consider the event to be a success,” Ozaki said. “We looked at getting 25 teams for this first tournament, but ended up with 37 teams that included 74 of our league bowlers, many who were meeting for the first time because they all bowl on different days of the week. Some were there for competition, some for the $1,000 first place prize, some for Vance, but all were there in support of the kids as we surpassed our fundraising goal.”

Curtis Matsumura and Linda Alfiler topped the team of Marvin Mikasa and Verna Yamase for the Aces title during the final Baker Match.

The pair emerged following three qualifying games where five of the 37 teams advanced to the playoffs. Matsumura and Alfiler earned top seeding and had a bye to the finals while the second through fifth seeds competed in a one-game Baker Roll-off where teammates alternate frames.

Following the excitement, Scott Taba and Putsie Almarza settled into third place over Glenn and Diane Sato who finished fourth, and the team of Leonard Sabala and Rommy Cayaban getting the fifth place.

Ozaki said this was the first doubles event in years at the Kauai Bowl.

“Vance is a former Lihue Lanes junior bowler, and a friend to many of Kauai’s active bowlers as well as a Professional Bowlers Association member,” Ozaki said. “We all laughed as stories were shared about Vance’s crazy antics, and there were tears as Darryl Izumo paid tribute to him. Our Vance memorial included pictures of him along with one of his old bowling shirts, a Storm bowling ball that he helped design (the Ace), my bowling shoes that Vance and I would spray paint to be different (we painted his, as well), and the perpetual Vance Akiyama Memorial trophy. Darryl’s message to all was that it may seem like they’re playing a small role in the event, but together, we are all making a ‘significant difference,’ a phrase he shared for years with Vance.”

Akiyama, who was born on April 22, 1981, died in an auto accident in Ogden, Utah on Dec. 18, 2004.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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