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Hilo Lanes Closure Impacts State Bowling Tourney

May 13, 2014, 4:39 PM HST
* Updated May 14, 12:35 PM
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The fallout of last week’s closure of Hilo Lanes has had an immediate ripple effect on high school bowling, especially in the sport’s biggest event.

The Billy Tees/Hawai`i High School Athletic Association State Bowling Championships was slated to be held at Hilo Lanes this year.

The Big Island Interscholastic Federation is part of a statewide rotation that gets the rights to host the annual bowling championships.

Last year’s event was hosted by the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and held at Oahu’s Hickam Bowling Center.

Christopher Chun, executive director of the HHSAA, told Big Island Now today that he is already going through his list of options for this year’s event.

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“We go to Kona first, because it’s supposed to be on the Big Island, but then I heard the (KBXtreme) lanes only have 16,” said Chun. “We can run it with 16 [lanes], but they are saying some of them might be party lanes and might not be certified so I’ve gotta check that.”

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If no Big Island venue is suitable to host the tournament, which usually brings over 200 bowlers, boys and girls, from across the state, Chun may have to take the tournament to another island. “We may have to skip the Big Island in the rotation or go back to Oahu and follow the rotation next year.”

In order for any of those scenarios to take place, Chun would have to make the recommendation on behalf of the HHSAA to the Hawaii Athletic Directors Association, also known as HIADA, which is an annual conference held over the summer that brings together athletic administrators from across the state to discuss and vote on ideas and proposals for the upcoming athletic year.

“Of course, we’re gonna try to keep it here, no matter what,” said Lyle Crozier, BIIF executive director. “We want to still be on the rotation. We play enough tournaments out in Honolulu.

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“If we’ve gotta go boys and girls different days, whatever we can do. Like the golf tournament, you’ve got the girls first and the boys next.”

Crozier’s other concern is the effect the Hilo Lanes closure will have on participation.

He said that when he received news of the alley’s closure from St. Joseph athletic director Ryan Quesenberry, the league’s bowling coordinator, he immediately sent an e-mail to participating schools reminding them that in order for the league to sponsor a sport, three schools must be onboard.

So far, all schools that have replied to him say that they intend to field a bowling team.

According to Crozier and Quesenberry, St. Joseph, Konawaena, Kealakehe, Hilo, Waiakea, Ka`u, Pahoa, and Kamehameha-Hawai`i sponsor bowling teams. Head-to-head matches hosted by Konawaena or Kealakehe take place at KBXtreme, while other matches, with few exceptions, were played at Hilo Lanes.

The immediate concern would be about where East Hawai`i teams would practice.

Ka`u already practices at Kilauea Military Camp, but league matches have not been held there since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

If other schools were to practice there, it would add extra travel costs to East Hawai`i schools. More travel costs would be incurred to those schools if they have to travel for additional matches.

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