Plaza Lanes under new ownership, creating hopeful future for local bowling

by Nick Archacki, news editor and avid bowler

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Plaza Lanes in Meadville is under new ownership.

As a high class bowler, I have seen all types of bowling establishments across the United States in my sixteen years of competing in the sport. There are many definitions that can describe the appearance of a bowling center, but three significant words that stand out to me are: uniqueness, attributes, and downfalls. Throughout the years, I have seen centers rise and fall, thrive or fail. Theoretically, the appearance of a bowling alley affects customers’ and bowlers’ attitudes the moment they walk through the door, which can directly affect the bowling center’s profit and popularity.

Unfortunately, Plaza Lanes in Meadville has struggled over the past five years to bring in both revenue and bowlers. Many attribute this to the lack of funding put into maintenance after a fire burnt Plaza Lanes to the ground in April of 2001. Along with the lanes being closed multiple days of the week for two straight summers, the center has struggled with the additional loss of a fully functional restaurant and bar inside the building.

However, a brand new chapter of our community’s history has already begun, and the center’s future looks promising. After finalizing the anticipated sale on Aug. 24, Kurt Baird and Ramon Rodriguez are the new owners of Plaza Lanes. Baird and Rodriguez moved from Miami to Meadville and are excited for their new future as the owners of Plaza Lanes.

We were looking to change our living situation from big city to a small town, and being the new owners of Plaza Lanes is just what we were looking for,” Baird said. “Buying the center fits well into our prior job experiences and this new start to our lives has combined many of our goals together, it’s a dream come true for both of us.” 

Baird and Rodriguez mentioned that they have large shoes to fill with the purchase of Plaza Lanes, but they are ready to handle the new challenges and opportunities that will be presented to them in the upcoming years. “Our priorities are to make the bowling center the best it can be for our league/recreational bowlers and employees by making the building a clean, fun, family environment,” Baird said. “Seeing people having a good time is golden for us and when they thank you back for what you’ve provided for them, it feels great.”

Baird and Rodriguez, along with their family members, have resolved many of  the center’s previous aesthetic issues. “We have pressure washed the outside of the building, acquired brand new bowling pins, rearranged the seating, cleaned the carpets, cut tall grass, trimmed bushes and trees along with building a new restaurant menu,” Baird and Rodriguez said.

The Plaza Sports Den, the restaurant located inside Plaza Lanes, will return with a full food menu, bar, many new beverages, and a new chef to accommodate the rebirth of the restaurant. “We hope to make our restaurant a place for non-bowlers to eat and socialize with friends and family like the Found Lounge at Cambridge Springs’ Lost Lanes.” Additionally, the front parking lot will be repaved and a new, modernist floor has been added in the front entrance.

“We need to meet all of our customers’ requirements and being here every day shows our commitment to the bowling center. We want to keep the center going and improve it,”  Baird and Rodriguez said. They added that they are happy to be part of Meadville’s history with the purchase of this historic location. 

“Moving here was a challenge for us and the local community has been wonderful, supportive, and appreciative to us during this process which we are very thankful for,” Baird and Rodriguez said. “We’re excited to be here. If you haven’t been to Plaza Lanes lately, stop on by and see what’s going on. We would love to meet and talk with you.”

Current hours for Plaza Lanes can be found on their website at plazalanesmeadville.com and don’t forget to like their Facebook page at Plaza Lanes Meadville.

(Nick Archacki has been bowling since he was one and a half years old.)

 

Bowlers hold on to make Ven-Craw playoffs

by Nick Archacki, staff writer

Nick Archacki

Saegertown sophmore Nick Archacki bowling on Jan. 3.

After a rough start to the season, the Saegertown bowling team has advanced to the Ven-Craw quarter-finals by placing sixth of eight teams that could’ve advanced to the first round of playoffs. Saegertown was able to maintain its sixth place position with the help of a fourth place finish in the final regular season match at Buffalo Street Lanes in Franklin.

The teams that have made this years playoffs are Cranberry Maroon (No.1 seed), Conneaut Lake Blue (2), Meadville Red (3), Conneaut Lake Silver (4), Cambridge Springs Blue (5), Saegertown (6), Oil City Blue (7) and Cranberry White (8).

“It’s been a pretty tough year for us I’d say because we lost two seniors that helped us win the last two championships and losing that kind of talent has been hard for us to adjust to,” senior Michael Costello said. “Although, I’m very thankful that our two new bowlers, junior Scott Proper and eighth grader Alex Kightlinger, joined the team to fill our lost spots this year. They’ve both improved greatly from the first day they joined, and they deserve so much credit for being on our team and helping us make the playoffs.”

The Ven-Craw league competed in ten regular season matches between Nov. 2017 and Jan. 2018. The Panthers ended the regular season with a cumulative season total of ninety-five points, earning a spot in the playoffs by over twenty points.

In the individual standings, sophomore Nick Archacki and senior Michael Costello earned first and second of the eighty bowlers in the Ven-Craw league this year. Archacki won high average honors for the fifth consecutive year with a 212.58 average over eighteen individual games while Costello’s average was 208.00.

Moving forward, the Panthers have the opportunity to claim their place in the finals of the Ven-Craw league playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. “I believe we can do it again (win a title),” senior Michael Costello said. “We just have to have fun and psych out our competition. I believe we can three-peat and be the greatest team the Ven-Craw league will ever see.”

The quarter-finals will be held at Seneca Lanes on Feb. 12 at  6 p.m. The Panthers will face the Meadville Red team.

Bowling team finishes strong

By Elizabeth Hasko and Cami Reynolds, staff writers 

Sophomore phenom Kylee Higby bowled in the state finals today at Dutch Lanes in Ephrata, Pa. where she placed eighteenth out of 24 for the girls division. “It was really tough because it was so competitive. Plus, the lane conditions were insane,” said Higby. She shot a 196, 210, 143, 160, 169, and 185.

Higby was the lone Saegertown bowler to qualify for the state tourney, but the team overall enjoyed a very successful season. After Winning the Venango-Crawford district title for the second year, bowlers Ricky Kanline, Michael Costello, Austin Bedow, Kylee Higby, and Nick Archaki moved onto regionals which were held in Pittsburgh at Princess Lanes during the weekend of March 10-11.

Higby shot an average of 189, placing her sixth out of 84 in the individuals. “I am thrilled that we won [the league] for the second time in a row.  I am so proud of everyone,” Higby said.

During regionals, individuals competed at 9 a.m. Friday morning, while the team competed at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Unfortunately, senior Jake Sada could not attend regionals due to other priorities.  

Kanline shot 182, 224, and 256 at regionals. “This year started off a little shaky, but then a few weeks into bowling, it was like all of us became the family that we used to be,” Kanline said. “As the year progressed the bond was back, and we started to win as a team.”

Heading into regionals, the team wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but they remained confident. “You can’t count eggs before they hatch. We just have to go with the flow and keep confident,” Archaki said. “We didn’t do very well [at regions], it was really tough. We bowled against 17 other competitive teams. Unfortunately, the pins didn’t fall very well for us.”

 

 

Rolling into the bowling season

By Elizabeth Hasko, staff writer

After Saegertown’s victory at Seneca Lanes last year to secure the 2016 Championship, the team of five aim to sharpen their techniques and performances for the upcoming season. Members of the bowling team includes seniors Ricky Kanline and Jake Sada, junior Michael Costello, sophomore Austin Bedow, and freshman Nick Archacki.

Sophomore Kylee Higby, a former member of the bowling team, shared some advice for this year’s team: “Encourage each other, but don’t bring each other down. Always stay positive as a team. Stay focused, but most importantly, have fun.”

There are high ambitions for the team to be back to back champions. Kanline said, “This year, our team wants to win the league again.” Their major rival is Cranberry. The last time the two teams met, the Panthers defeated the Superberries 3-2.

Costello made a bold prediction about the team’s chances this year:  “I think our team will go undefeated this season again and win the championship.” Their first match will be in November.

 

 

 

Bowlers fall one pin short at Ven-Craw Championship

By Garrett Johnston, Assistant Features Editor

The Saegertown Bowling team was tied with Cranberry after their championship match on Feb. 11. The two teams headed to sudden death. Saegertown came up short, losing 4-3 and finishing in second place, a repeat of last year’s finish, where they lost to Meadville. They went into the match ranked first while Cranberry was ranked second. They may have not improved their overall finish from last year, but it was still a successful season. “The season went really well. We were in first place by 16 points going into the last match,” said senior Tristan Higby. “I was really happy with the season I had this year, and I am going to miss this a lot.” In addition to Higby, senior CJ Mook also ended his high school career with this final match.