Bowling: Kessler earns top honor on senior all-city team

A little less powerful, but no less determined – Jerry Kessler is back on top.

For the first time in more than a decade, Kessler, 51, earned bowler of the year status. The two-time Greater Dayton United States Bowling Congress Men’s Bowler of the Year earned the senior distinction for the first time this year.

“I most certainly am not able to throw it well as I used to, and I can’t hook the ball like I used to either, but I’d like to think I’m a smarter bowler now,” Kessler said.

The hall of fame bowler had little trouble posting honor scores during the 2013-14 season. Kessler led all area bowlers with 12 300 games and 12 800 series, including a city-high 859 series – also recorded by Tony Hovan. Kessler also maintained the men’s high city average (249), but it was his Sunday travel league average of 232 that he was most proud of.

“Last year, I was the first one to ever break the 230 mark in the travel league, I had 231,” he said. “I’m much prouder of that.”

In tournament play, Kessler and Mike Haggitt won the city doubles title and he also had a top 10 finish in the city team tournament. But despite all of his success, the senior bowler of the year title came as a surprise to Kessler.

“I had assumed that since I didn’t bowl in the senior tournament, I wouldn’t be in the running,” he said.

The all-city teams and bowler-of-the-year awards are determined by a point system based on tournament finishes, high games, high series and season average. Kessler’s tournament success, honor scores and high average – paired with his age – landed him the senior bowler of the year title.

Age and experience paid off for several senior bowlers as three of the five all-city seniors also made the men’s all-city team with Kessler on the first team and Jerry Owens and Tim Hartley landing on the second team.

While Kessler will continue to spend time on the lanes this season, bowling in three leagues, he will also spend time on the concourse cheering on the Wright State University bowling team. His son Kyle is a first-year bowler on the Raiders squad.

“I’m planning to watch him and the rest of the team and yell at him as much as I can,” Kessler said, smiling.

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