Hunter Negri Memorial Scholarship Fund enriches Junior Gold bowling tournament

Steve Brownlee

There’s some extra loot — in the form of scholarships — awaiting the most successful bowlers at the Junior Gold youth tournament to be held Sunday at River Rock Lanes in Ishpeming.

Jim and Wendy Negri of Marquette have pledged $1,000 extra to be awarded in scholarship funds to the winners from the Hunter Negri Memorial Scholarship Fund, named for their late son.

Hunter passed away just a few months ago and was an avid bowler, including for four years on the varsity team at Marquette Senior High School, where he graduated in 2017.

This weekend’s is one of several Junior Gold events held in the Upper Peninsula this season, with another one possible — though not guaranteed — before the national finals to be held in Dallas in July.

With enough entries on Sunday, there can be boys and girls divisions for under 20 years old, which most bowlers bowl in, under 16 and even under 12.

These events take place on tough scoring conditions, meaning accuracy and shotmaking almost always determine the winner, rather than who can get the most “stuff” on the ball.

There’s a six-game qualifier, then the top scorers go on to an old-time TV-style stepladder finals. Cost is $65 for the tourney plus applicable U.S. Bowling Congress youth and Junior Gold memberships.

For more information, call River Rock proprietor Clay Sandberg at 486-8000.

Some of the Negri Memorial Scholarship funds were raised at the inaugural Hunter Negri Memorial 9-Pin Tournament held March 24 at Superior Lanes in Marquette.

Three divisions were held in this no-tap — knock nine pins down on the first ball and it counts as a strike — tournament with 40 teams by my count that entered.

In the Competitive division, which drew about half the teams and was for adult league bowlers, the winning team was Do It 4 Hunter with a score of 3,242 for a nearly 150-pin victory.

Team member Zac Holm was a former teammate of Negri’s at MSHS, and he and Do It 4 Hunter teammate Dominic Gibbons each shot a no-tap 300 game. Gibbons and the team’s third member, Johnny Kositzky, are former Escanaba High School bowlers.

Gibbons also won the optional singles division with a four-game score of 1,047, edging out Josh Larson with 1,041, including a 300, and recent MSHS bowler Liam Robinson with 1,014 as he had a pair of 278s.

The Amateur division, intended for adult bowlers who aren’t regular league members, was won by Team Ellidge of Negaunee with 1,752 for a 99-pin win. That team included Jeff Ellidge, Travis Ellidge and Sabrina Ellidge, who had a no-tap 219 for her team’s top game.

And in the Youth division, where prizes were awarded as scholarship funds, No Spare won by more than 300 pins with 3,186. Megan Wilkins of the Ishpeming-Negaunee high school team was joined by MSHS bowlers Keenan Johnson and Mason Garceau. Johnson had a 297 no-tap game while Wilkins added 276 and 274.

Finally, I received a flier recently about the High School Bowling Boot Camp to be held at Recreation Lanes in Iron Mountain to be held Wednesday evenings from mid-May into early July.

They’re charging just $10 per session and you only pay for and need to attend the sessions you can make it to that start at 7 p.m. EDT.

Coaches will include Pete and Cathy Tomassoni, longtime proprietors at the center, their son Joe Tomassoni, a former member of the national bowling power Saginaw Valley State University team, and recent Iron Mountain High School star Brooke Fornetti, who now bowls at Alma College.

Among the topics they address is how to play the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s standard oiling pattern, both as an individual and as teams, and individual recommendations for the drilling of bowling balls.

For more information or to reserve a spot, call Recreation Lanes at 774-9852 or email

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is