As they recalled some of their striking accomplishments, this year’s inductees into the Fulton and Oswego women’s bowling halls of fame took a trip down memory lane.
Whether they posted high scores, had lofty averages, held league or association offices, or simply made their mark on the local bowling scene for a number of years, all the inductees had one thing in common: a love of the game.
The Fulton and Oswego Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Friday, May 1, at RFH’s Hide-A-Way in Phoenix.
The Fulton Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame will welcome new inductees Crystal MacDougall and Brenda Rice.
The Oswego Women’s Hall of Fame will induct Mary Jane Sereno and Kathy Lacey.
Also honored that night will be the Oswego Female Youth Bowler of the Year, Abigail Chamberlain.
A cocktail hour starts at 5 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m., with the ceremony to follow.
Dinner tickets must be purchased in advance by contacting Mary Smith (315-593-7804) or Margie Moore (315-345-0198 or 315-343-5460). The deadline to purchase tickets is Wednesday, April 22.
Here are profiles of this year’s honorees.
Rice started bowling when she was about 16 years old. “I think I averaged about 93,” she said.
After deciding she liked bowling and wanted to improve, she got some pointers from local pro Joe Losurdo and another standout, Mike McCracken.
“They taught me the finer arts of throwing a hook,” Rice said. “There were days I could do it and days that I couldn’t, but I think that made all the difference in the world.”
She bowled in a few leagues including the Oswego City Women’s Classic League, and the Sears League at Pinarama Bowl. After Pinarama closed, Rice bowled in Fulton in the Thursday Night League. She bowled in a mixed league for more than 20 years.
Rice contributed as a league officer both in Oswego and Fulton, and served on the Fulton Women’s Bowling Association Board of Directors for about five years.
Her average climbed as high as 186, and she rolled a high game of 267 and a top triple of 691 along the way.
In the last tournament in which she bowled, Rice and her doubles partner won the city tournament doubles event. Rice placed in the top five in the singles event, and captured the all-events crown by one pin.
A back injury forced her to give up the sport, but her achievements were obviously not forgotten by the hall of fame selection committee.
“I’m flattered,” Rice said of being chosen for induction. “It’s quite a compliment, plus my husband (Dave) is in the Oswego Men’s Bowling Hall of Fame.”
Needing a night out of the house, MacDougall accepted a friend’s invitation to join the Friendly Girls league at Fulton’s Lakeview Lanes.
“I said I never bowled. She said it doesn’t matter,” MacDougall said.
It was the start of a hall of fame career.
MacDougall has bowled in several leagues including Kimball’s Auto at Lakeview, the Monday Night Women’s League and the Monday Night Mixed League at the Recreation Club in Fulton, and the Thursday Night Men’s League at the Rec Club.
“Now it’s a mixed league. When I first joined it, it was just a men’s league and I was the only female. They needed somebody and my husband was in the league,” MacDougall said.
Her scores showed she could compete with anyone. She lists a career-high game of 279, a high series of 652, and a high average of 176. She currently carries a 172 average while bowling with her husband Glenn in the Monday Night Mixed and Thursday Night Mixed leagues, both at the Rec Club.
In last year’s state women’s tournament, MacDougall was part of a team with her daughter, her daughter-in-law, and a friend. The team won its division. She has also taken part in other tourneys like the Lilac Tournament in Rochester, the Irish Rose Tournament in Canandaigua, and several other local events.
MacDougall has held many league offices. She is the president of the Thursday Night Mixed League and secretary-treasurer of the Monday Night Mixed League. She’s also president of the board at the Rec Club.
Even with all these credentials, MacDougall said the hall of fame selection took her by surprise.
“I’m happy, overjoyed,” she said. “It’s something you kind of dream about but you don’t think will ever happen. The other thing that makes it special for me is my husband is in the men’s hall of fame. Now I can needle him back as much as he needles me.”
Mary Jane Sereno
Many in the area know the name of the late Nick Sereno, a hall of fame bowler who, along with Bob Hoefer, owned Lighthouse Lanes in Oswego.
But his wife, Mary Jane Sereno, has carved out her own hall of fame bowling career. She credits Nick for starting her long association with the sport.
“I was dating Nick, and almost every Friday night of our five years of dating was spent at the Pinarama because he was in the Classic League out there. That’s just what you did.”
She said she was about 20 years old when she began bowling with Nick in the Friendship League, a mixed couples league.
Sereno has been in several leagues, including the Monday Night League for about 30 years. She bowled “second shift” at Pinarama in a three-bowler women’s league, and was part of the Elks Couples League for a long time. Currently, she bowls in the Wednesday Night League.
Sereno’s highest triple is a 556, and her best single game is a 240. She said her highest average has been about a 160.
Her tournament participation was confined to some city tourneys and a few events at the Recreation Club in Fulton.
She said she was honored to be chosen for induction into the hall of fame.
“It’s something I never expected. I don’t have any 600s or anything close to a 300,” Sereno said. “I feel like they’re honoring me more because of my longevity in the sport. The only time I didn’t bowl in the last 35 years or so was when Pinarama closed for a few years.”
She said she’s happy to join her husband as a hall of famer.
“I’m very proud. Nick was in both halls of fame, Fulton and Oswego,” she said. “I’m pretty sure wherever he is up there he’s probably going ‘Oh my God.’ This is totally unexpected.”
A native of Camillus, Lacey recalled her first taste of bowling.
“My parents took me to the Marcellus bowling alley when I was 10. I was horrible, but it was fun,” she said.
She began her league bowling career in her early 20s in Eastwood, and served as a league secretary. When she got married and moved to this area, Lacey starting bowling at Pinarama Bowl and later at Lighthouse Lanes.
She mentioned that she bowled in a lot of leagues, some with another of this year’s inductees, Mary Jane Sereno.
“I took a lot of pointers from Nick Sereno, Al Hare, and Dave Jermyn. They taught me how to bowl,” Lacey said.
They obviously taught her well. Lacey’s achievements include a high triple of 672 and a top game of 278. Both of those occurred on the same night while she was bowling against another hall of famer, Courtney Radick.
“The strikes just kept happening. I am not a strike bowler. I’m a spare bowler. So it was like, what is happening?” she said of that night. “I couldn’t believe it.”
As if bowling isn’t challenging enough, for the past eight or so years Lacey has contended with an additional challenge, a neurological disorder called dystonia.
“I have a rare form of it. What happens is certain triggers will make my eyes close,” she said. “By the time I get to the line, my eyes are closed. It’s all muscle memory. I don’t even see where the ball is going.
“Once in a while it will go right in the gutter. It’s very hard to maintain any kind of a decent average with that, but the people have been great.”
Lacey said she was stunned about the news of her hall of fame selection.
“I had no clue that I had been nominated. I’m just extremely surprised. I was happily amazed,” she said.
A senior at Oswego High School, Chamberlain contributed to the success of the Buccaneers’ varsity bowling team for the past couple of years.
“I joined the team two years ago because one of my friends was joining, and I just thought it was fun. I played two other sports in the fall and the spring and I didn’t have a winter sport, so I just decided to bowl. It turned out to be a lot more than just something to do,” Chamberlain said.
The daughter of Christina and Jeff Chamberlain, Abigail helped the Bucs qualify for the sectionals this year. She has rolled a high game of 238 and a high triple of 534. She averaged about 140 for the season.
She thanked her parents, along with Coach Kristen Maxon and Bob Hoefer for their help with her bowling game.
She plans to attend SUNY Oswego to study to become an elementary school teacher. She said she might join the club bowling program at SUNY Oswego, and adult league bowling is in her future.
“I have been subbing for the women’s league recently and I hope to join a team next year,” she said.
Regarding the Youth Bowler of the Year recognition, Chamberlain said, “I was very surprised and very honored to be recognized.