John Janawicz Wins 2023 PBA50 Rookie of the Year
Two major titles highlight Janawicz’s season, leading all rookies in points, earnings and average.
John Janawicz, a native of Winter Haven, Fla., joined the PBA this spring after turning 50 last fall.
From the beginning, he had his sights set on the PBA50 Johnny Petraglia BVL Tournament of Champions at the end of the PBA50 Tour season.
But he first needed to win an official PBA title in order to bowl the event, so he entered the PBA50 Earl Anthony Classic, a PBA50 West Regional, in late April.
To the surprise of precisely zero of his contemporaries, he won the tournament.
Six weeks later, the PBA50 Tour began at the USBC Senior Masters. Janawicz won again.
Then this past week, the time finally came for the PBA50 TOC. He won that one, too.
After winning two major titles, Janawicz led all rookies in points, earnings and average en route to earning PBA50 Rookie of the Year honors.
In 10 events, Janawicz earned six top-four finishes and cashed nine times. He ranked second overall on the PBA50 Tour in points, third in earnings, and third in average.
“I’d say it was a very successful year,” Janawicz said. “To win two majors and Rookie of the Year, I'm more than satisfied with how everything turned out.”
Contrary to most recent PBA50 Rookie of the Year winners, Janawicz’s rookie season on the PBA50 Tour was his true PBA rookie season. Prior to turning 50, he had never bowled more than the occasional tournament on the PBA Tour.
He said he considered competing on the tour in the late 1990s when he was 23. However, he said he did not think his body could handle the long tour season as he dealt with back injuries.
Instead, Janawicz embraced his obsession with the nuances of the game and went to work with Kegel.
During his 25 years as a lane technician extraordinaire, which includes time as the PBA’s laneman, Janawicz estimated he’s worked more than 300 tournaments in over 40 countries across five continents.
While Janawicz has spent much of his time, as he says “beyond the foul line,” the 2018 USBC Hall of Fame inductee boasts a tremendous athletic résumé as well.
Janawicz is a 10-time and current Team USA member and has won more than a dozen gold medals in international competition. He also owns three Eagles at the USBC Open Championships.
Despite his extensive history across all aspects of professional bowling, it would be reductive to say Janawicz has seen it all. He would be the first to say there is always more to learn.
“I'm still fascinated, to this day, about the chess match, the transition, all the different variables, trying to figure out the puzzle and how to strike more than everybody else,” Janawicz said.
Janawicz has now etched his name alongside some of the game's all-time greats. Walter Ray Williams Jr., Amleto Monacelli, Pete Weber and Norm Duke are each previous PBA50 Rookie of the Year recipients.
“I just look at history and if you look at a lot of the guys that have won, especially majors, on the senior tour, well a lot of them are the same guys that won majors on the regular tour: Parker, Norm, Pete and Walter Ray,” Janawicz said.
“It’s not a one-to-one comparison, we are all older now,” Janawicz added, “but still, it does create a little bit of validation to me. I think I could have competed with those guys if I did go on tour in my early 20s.
“But I don’t regret the path that I took. I just ended up peaking later in life. That’s the way I look at it.”
Previous PBA50 Rookie of the Year Award Winners
2022 — Dino Castillo
2021 — Tom Hess
2020 — none
2019 — Eugene McCune
2018 — Rolando Sebelen
2017 — Michael Haugen Jr.
2016 — Eddie Graham
2015 — Mike Scroggins
2014 — Norm Duke
2013 — Pete Weber
2012 — Amleto Monacelli
2011 — Ricky Beck
2010 — Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2009 — Brian Voss
2008 — Wayne Webb
2007 — Sam Zurich
2006 — Bob Kelly
2005 — Tom Baker
2004 — David Ozio
2003 — Don Sylvia
2002 — Vince Mazzanti Jr.
2001 — Mark Roth
2000 — Guppy Troup
1999 — Mike Pullin
1998 — Johnny Petraglia
1997 — George Pappas
1996 — Dale Eagle
1995 — Pete Couture
1994 — Larry Laub