HUBBARD - Edward Zitnik was a co-owner, with his brother Francis, of Bell Wick Bowl in Hubbard and owned Wedgewood Lanes in Austintown before he passed away in December 2007.
The bowling aficionado was a friend to all in the bowling community and all was appreciative of his efforts.
To pay homage to this friend of the sport, the Hubbard Bowling Team came up with the Edward Zitnik Memorial Tournament hosted by the Eagles boys and girls bowling teams. It was called the Holiday Bowling Tournament in the years prior.
The Hubbard boys took second, but the Eagles boys and girls teams both won the Edward Zitnik Memorial Holiday Tournament. The girls team have won their own tournament each year they've hosted it.
"We kind of like bowling at our home center you could say," Carol Kozbial said. "We've been lucky we've bowled well in it every year."
But what made the boys victory so special was Zitnik's son, Eddie, is a senior on the team. The upperclassmen on the team knew his father was always involved in the junior programs.
"To win that tournament and that fact it is in memory of his dad, really meant a lot. That was a great day for him," Hubbard boys coach Ron Killian said. "He grabbed the score sheet when it was all over - the big chart of all the teams. I think that's something he's going to cherish for quite a while."
"I'm sure he had his dad on his mind that whole day," Kozbial said.
It's been a good season for the Hubbard boys.
"We've been pretty blessed this year," Killian said. "Last week, we did something the Hubbard team has never done."
After each team bowls 10 games during a regular match, the teams go into their respective Baker games. The Baker games are where five different bowlers from each team bowl two separate frames.
"Our team had a team 300 game last week (against Niles), which is a very impressive thing to have five bowlers bowl a 300 game," Killian said. "There's not too many bowled in the Baker format because you have five bowlers every individual game."
It was a rarity.
"The Baker game goes very fast," Killian said. "Our anchor man, who bowled the fifth and 10th frame, was anchored by Edward. By the ninth frame, he was prepared. He said, 'I have to go out and bowl a 300.' He was a nervous wreck, but sucked it up and did well. It was wonderful to watch.
"Even your opponents, at any time when your team is doing that, are just as excited when you are. That's one of the greatest events in bowling - seeing someone bowl a 300 or have a team to do that. It's like a perfect game - everyone wants to see it."
As for the girls, they've been improving.
"We're right on schedule, getting better with each match," Kozbial said. "Each of them is taking their turn. One person is not the star of the team. We're coming together and we're right where we should be."
Being part of a team, especially in high school bowling, is important, Killian said.
"People don't realize it is the fastest growing sports in high school athletics," he said. "It's amazing how many participations you have now. It opens a lot of doors for the youth.
"Not everybody is a basketball, baseball or football player. We have a couple of young men on our team who would probably not excel at anything else. They're having a fantastic time doing this and they're part of a team."
As for the boys team, it has been a season to remember.
"Whatever happens the rest of the year, they will have a lot to talk about and look back on," Killian said.