HAMMOND | Sammy Krucek tweaked his knee during the second game in the 64th semifinal round of the Times/Pepsi Classic Sunday at Olympia Lanes.
The Calumet College of St. Joseph's assistant mens bowling coach was noticeably bothered for the rest of the afternoon. That didn't prevent Krucek from qualifying in the top spot in Class A with a 773 series for a 1,562 total score.
"Second game, third frame I stuck really bad at the approach and something happened. It was just instead pain in my knee," Krucek said. "It's just one of those things you don't expect."
Some work with his shoe and a little stretching and Krucek toughed out the last 17 frames.
"It was a battle," Krucek said. "My goal was to qualify first and I got that."
Krucek is considering passing up a chance at becoming a part of region bowling history and a significant pay day. He's got plans to see a concert in Detroit next weekend and may miss the finals.
"I'm going to see if I can squeeze it in and fly to Detroit in time," he said. "It'll be one of the things I'll have to weigh this week and see what happens."
Shaun Quinn played his way into the finals with a 716 series (1,478 total). The Rippen the Rack pro shop Brunswick pro from Cedar Lake said he took a look at his competition and made a strategic decision.
"I wanted to play the lanes a bit straighter," Quinn said. "When I knew who was going to be on the pair (of lanes I was bowling), I knew they were going to be inside of me so I figured if I play right over everybody I'd have one of the best looks on the pair."
Nick Garreffa, from Whiting, finished second in the top class with a 707 series (1,499 total). Garreffa has hesitated to play in the Classic in the past because of the rollover score format that ironically helped keep him near the top of the standings this year.
Garreffa's grandfather, Brent Kruse, was a Classic winner in 1976.
"It would mean everything to win this," he said. "I'm in it for (my grandfather). I'm just doing this for him."
Angel Mercado was the top finisher in Class B with 1,493. Other bests include Stacey Timmer in WA (1,443), Sarah Voiers in WB (1,307), Tommie Miller in SA (1,452), Ron Coleman in SB (1,471) and Jim Dailey in C (1,446).
The final round will be bowled Sunday at 1 p.m.