State HS Bowling Tournament Remains on Big Island
When Hilo Lanes closed down its bowling operation back in May, bowlers of all ages, clubs, and leagues were left to scramble to continue to play.
The Hawai`i High School Athletic Association was included in that group. Hilo Lanes was scheduled to host this year’s Billy Tees/HHSAA State Bowling Championships, since the Big Island Interscholastic Federation was having its turn in the host rotation.
The BIIF won’t have to give it up, as KBXtreme in Kona will be the host site for the high school bowling event. The tournament will be held starting Thursday, Oct. 30 and run until Saturday, Nov. 1.
Keeping the championships on the Big Island was no easy task for BIIF Executive Director Lyle Crozier, who had to convince the state’s athletic directors during this summer’s Hawaii Athletic Directors Association meetings that a suitable venue could be found.
“Of course, when they found out that Hilo (Lanes) closed down, there was a push to have it in Honolulu and keep us off of the rotation this year,” Crozier said. “I asked (HHSAA Executive Director) Chris Chun and Naomi Martin, the bowling coordinator. They came over and met with the manager there. They have 16 lanes, and we’ve had a three-day tournament there before.”
“They came and they met and worked out where we can host it again,” Crozier explained. “Our kids miss so much class time when they go to Oahu, and our parents deserve to watch their kids participate in bowling.”
Participation by schools in East Hawaii remains to be determined as they deal with finding practice facilities and other fallout from the closing of Hilo Lanes.
Along with the changed venue comes a change in format. More individual bowlers now qualify for the state championships. Both the boys and girls individual tournaments will feature 100 bowlers from across the state.
Konawaena head coach Clyde Takafuji, named BIIF Coach of the Year last year, said that all 16 lanes at the Kona entertainment facility are certified for competitive bowling competition. The lanes were used last year for a Professional Bowling Association regional event.
The Big Island will also host the David S. Ishii Foundation/HHSAA Boys and Girls Golf Championships during the spring season. The venue and dates for the tournaments have not been decided.
The BIIF is also part of the regional format in both girls soccer and boys volleyball. Unlike last year’s trial run, which affected the girls basketball and boys volleyball tournaments, this year’s format will be considered a double-regional format, in which regional sites will host the first two rounds of games, regardless of who plays in the games.
Last year, first-round games in neighbor island brackets featuring Oahu schools were held on the same island, with the winner flying the next day to play either the BIIF or Maui Interscholastic League champion.