By Don Rush
What a spring break Oxford High School Senior Jason Paslean had. Not so much sun and sand of the deep south. Paslean traveled to Allen Park with a bowling ball and shoes in hand to compete in the 2023 USBC / Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Masters Bowling tournament.
He was the youngest of the 390 bowlers who came from around the world to participate in the three-day event, March 31-April 2 at Thunderbowl Lanes.
“It was incredible,” Paslean said. “It was everything I expected it to be and about 10,000 times more. Just being able to be out there on a (pro) tour event – it’s the only open tour event of the season – it’s one of the majors with a $100,000 grand prize. To go out there and compete with some of the best in the world as an 18 year old, just finishing his high school season was crazy.”
He finished 358th of the 390 bowlers, he said.
“Jason decided this was going to be his spring break. It was an experience that will stick with him a lifetime and me, too,” said Oxford High School’s varsity bowling coach, Claude “Jr.” Lafnear. “He was able to compete with the best bowlers in the world and many of his bowling role models. He held his own in the three days of qualifying and beat 30 other bowlers.”
Paslean said he was able to listen into conversations the professional bowlers to learn what they were discussing about how the lanes were playing. He said during the practice day he was also able to bowl with some bowlers he has watched on YouTube Brad Miller and Kyle Sherman, as well as Darren Tang.
According to Lafnear, Paslean had a career average over 200 during his high school career. He was a Captain this year and led the team in spare percentage. He was All Conference for the third straight year and qualified for the state finals individually in 2023.
This past November he signed a letter of intent to bowl at Huntington University in Indiana.
“At the Masters tournament he was able to learn a ton and this will help him at Huntington,” Lafnear siad.
Lafnear said the PBA Masters event is one of the major events on the pro tour, with three days of qualifying and the double elimination match play is one of the toughest to capture. The oil pattern that the PBA uses on the lanes is designed to challenge the best bowlers.
“On Day Two Jason tossed a 269 game which was the highest game for game five in his squad. That’s an amazing feat for a high school senior,” his coach said.