Frederick County Knucklers
Third Annual Marble Collector Show & Festival
Brooke Donald Wins the National Sportsmanship Award
The third annual Frederick County Marble Collector Show & Festival was Held on Saturday, March 28th at e-Ventplex at the Frederick County Fairground. It was our biggest show yet with eighteen vendors and even bigger crowd attending the show than last year. The "Contraption" was back with a new launch assembly. in addition we the club had some great success with show sponsorships.
On April 11th we held our third annual Keepsie marble tournament and we had lots of Marbles….lots of kids….lots of wind! That’s what this year’s Keepsie Marble Tournament was all about. We had 20 youngsters participate and over half of them had never played in a marble tournament before. After about 90 minutes the wind got so bad we had to suspend play so the tournament winners could not be determined but all the kids were happy as they took away lots really great marbles including some hand-made contemporary pieces by Andrew J. Tomafsky and other special marbles provided by well know collectors and from www.LandsofMarbles.comand www.ZacLostHisMarbles.com. We would like to express many thanks to marble collector Scott Creed who came all the way up from Galax, Virginia to help the kids identify their newly acquired marbles.
On Saturday, April 25th, we held our 2015 Middletown Valley Championships and the Roland Nelson Memorial Tournament. Congratulations to James Bongard, Brooke Donald and Tim DeLloyd who representing Middletown at the National Tournament in Wildwood, New Jersey this June. In the Roland Nelson Memorial James and Tim placed first and second in the boy’s division while Brooke and Lauren Young placed first and second in the girl’s division.
On Saturday, May 9th, we held our Frederick Championship and the Unleashed Technology Open marble tournaments. Congratulation to Luke Gaffigan, Eyob Gaffigan, Lauren Young and Katie Gaffigan who won Frederick County championships spots. A special mention is needed here for Anna Gibson who actually qualified with a second place finish in the girl’s division of the FCC tournament but because of a previous commitment was not able to make the trip to Wildwood. In the Unleashed Technology Open Luke Gaffigan won the first place trophy by virtue of 6 marbles over Dominic Rudakevych. Identical 10-1 win/loss records were shared by Luke, Dominic and Eyob Gaffigan. On the girl’s side Brooke Donald came in first with an impressive 6-0 record followed by Lauran Young at 5-1. First, second and third place trophies were also handed to some of the rookie shooters based on total marbles knocked out during their 11 games. Congratulations to Shane, Landon and Joshua….the future of the Frederick County Knucklers is looking pretty good! We had a very special opening ceremony with Tim DeLloyd presenting the invocation and the new Knuckler Band playing the national anthem. The band featured Lauren on flute, Marilyn on keyboard, Brooke with her saxophone and James playing trumpet. It was a real treat. A great big thank you to Megan and Scott Greenwell and Unleashed Technologies for sponsoring our very successful tournament.
Our Saturday, May 30th, we held the 2015 Regional Tournament with a total of 26 boys and girls from Frederick County, MD, Lansdowne, PA and Herndon, VA. Congratulations to Frederick County’s Luke Gaffigan and Lansdowne’s Emily Simkovich who came in first in the boys and girl’s divisions. Dominic Rudakevych from Frederick County took home the sticks trophy and Leila Hadjali of Lansdowne won the award for good Sportsmanship. New this year was the “Coaches” award which went to Elaine Simkovich as her Lansdowne club outscored the competition based on total points scored. Many thanks to Mandy Young and Terri DeLloyd for organizing lunch and to Molly Staus and Teresa Hadjali for keeping score.
At the National tournament the club may not have brought home either of the two big prizes, there is one facilitator along with three adult and three junior coaches who could not have been more proud of a group of youngsters. Brooke Donald and Luke Gaffigan who earned their place in the best of 15 game finals were defeated by Emily Simkovich of Lansdowne, PA and Devon Loewendick of Cumberland, MD. Both Brooke and Luke accepted their runner-up positions with dignity, confident that they did their best. Tim DeLloyd, Lauren Young and Eyob Gaffigan also made it to the fourth day of finals completion. After three days of preliminary competition Tim had the best record of all the Knucklers with 31 wins and only 13 loses. We can’t summarize the 2015 tournament without taking special note of James Bongard’s efforts. After a disappointing first day performance which landed him in 18th place, James did not give up. Instead he shot some terrific marbles on Tuesday and Wednesday with 23 wins against only 7 loses to end up in 9th place, only one win away from playing in the final rounds. It’s that “I’m not giving up” attitude that makes James a very special young man. Katie Gaffigan had 19 wins to earn her a 17th place finish. To top off the week, Brooke Donald was presented the Best Sportsmanship award for the girls division. For everyone that knows Brooke, it was not a total surprise that she was considered for that honor. On Thursday evening our two 2014 Champions, Marilyn Fisher and Dominic Rudakevych were inducted into the Marble Hall of Fame where they joined Marilyn’s brother Cooper, along with several other Frederick County Knuckler past national champions, including coaches Ben Nelson and Emily Martin. All in all everyone had a great time.
At the end of the local tournament season Luke, Eyob & Katie Gaffigan presented the Glade Valley Middletown Food Bank located in Walkersville with the can goods and other food items that were collected as registration fees at our four tournaments held during the 2015 season.
First ever Frederick County Marble Collector Show and Festival was held at the e-Ventplex atthe Frederick County Fairgrounds. Twelve vendors attended and the marble run was introduce and named “The Contraption” by Christine Fisher. As part of the Marble Show the first ever Frederick County Marble was introduced.
The Second annual Roland Nelson Memorial and the 2013 Middletown Valley Championships were held. Cooper Fisher, Dominic Rudakevych and Marilyn Fisher won their way back to Wildwood along with Brooke Donald. Cooper Fisher and Lauren Young won the Roland Nelson Memorial and Amanda Deener earned the award for best Sportsmanship. Dominic and Cooper both only had one stick each, not enough to win the stick trophy
The Knucklers braved the threat of rain and held the 2013 Frederick County Championship and the first ever Unleashed Technology Open. It was a great success with Lauren Young, Luke Gaffigan and Eyob Gaffigan earning their way back to Wildwood. In the Unleashed Technology Open Luke Gaffigan and Lauren Young took home the championship trophies. Luke was awarded the Stick trophy after turning in three sticks and the Sportsmanship honor was awarded to Brooke Donald.
The Knucklers held the first ever Keepsie Tournament and it was a great success! Lots of new players signed up to play. The rookies played on a smaller 4 foot diameter ring to give them some great opportunities to win those marbles. In several games the rookies even beat the more experience Knucklers who had to play the 10 foot circle.
The 2013 National Championship in Wildwood was a great success. Cooper Fisher was crowned the 2013 king of marbles. To win that title Cooper had to beat Luke Gaffigan in a best of 15 series and Luke had to best Dominic Rudakevych in the semi-finals. Cooper, Luke and Dominic were the top three players in the 2013 tournament. On the girl’s side Marilyn Fisher earned a spot in the semi-finals. In addition to those achievements Dominic placed first after the three days of preliminary competition with an overall record of 43 wins and only 5 losses! That includes two perfect days with no losses on Tuesday and Wednesday! If that weren’t enough Luke won the Sticks Trophy with a total of 13 sticks and Dominic followed right behind with 8 sticks. Of the total 24 sticks in the boy’s division, 22 of them were earned by Luke, Dominic and Cooper. At the Hall of Fame ceremonies Marilyn Fisher was awarded the Sportsmanship award.
Acknowledgement of Cooper Fisher's National Championship included a first pitch at the Key's baseball game, mention in Sports Illustrated and Boys Life magazines, presentation of a certificate of achievement from the Middletown and Frederick County Commissioners, a ride in the Middletown Heritage Day Parade and proclamations by the Maryland State House of Delegates and Senate.
Dominic Rudakevych and Brooke Donald presented the Middletown Food Bank with the can goods and other food items that were collected as registration fees at our 2013 tournaments.
TWO National Champions!
Second Annual Marble Collector Show & Festival
First Annual Regional Tournament
We Said Good-By to Coach Scott
After a few years of no marbles in Frederick County Art and Jeff Staus joined forces to revitalize the Knuckler Marble Program. Flyers were posted inviting youngsters to come down to the marble rings and learn how to shoot marbles. After a about 6 weeks of practice a local tournament was conducted to determine the which two boys and two girls would represent Frederick County at the National Tournament in Wildwood, NJ. Cooper Fisher and Dominic Rudakevych beat out several boys for the honor. While Marilyn Fisher won by default being the only girl in the tournament. As expected all three kids struggled during their week in Wildwood but ended the tournament with the determination to return and make their mark.
The Program is Resurrected
Knuckler's Go Back to Wildwood
A National Champion!
First Frederick Marble Collector Show & Festival
Show Marble Introduced
Three New Tournaments Added
2012 was the second year of the revitalization of the Knucklers. Scott Walker and Ben Nelson became involved as coaches while Jeff Staus need to cut back on his involvement due to his work and moving to Baltimore. In an effort to get more kids interested in marbles the year started off with an aggressive outreach throughout the county with numerous demos at Rec Centers and other scouting and after school programs. This year the club gained three new active members. Luke, Eyob and Kate Gaffigan, ages 11, 9 and 5. Luke and Eyob were both accomplished marble players having played for years in their native country, Ethiopia, where marbles is a very popular and competitive sport. Having Luke and Eyob in the club was the incentive to move up the timeline to expand the number of champions from 4 to 8 that the club send to Wildwood. The National Tournament committee accepted the club’s proposal to have two boys and two girls represent Middletown Valley which is defined by the Middletown High School feeder area and two boys and two girls representing the rest of Frederick County.
This year was the first of what the club hopes to be many for the Roland Nelson Memorial Tournament which is sponsored by the Nelson family. Roland Nelson was a strong supporter of the program in the 1990.s when Coach Ben was a player.
At the national championship the program entered 4 boys and 2 girl champs. They were Cooper Fisher, Dominic Rudakevych, and Marilyn Fisher who represented Middletown Valley and Luke Gaffigan, Eyob Gaffigan and Lauren Young who represented Frederick County. Cooper and Luke made it to the semi-finals where both came close to an opportunity be in the final match.
The year closed out with the club repainting three of the rings including stripping away 20 years of old paint.
The Program Doubles in Size
Knuckler's Make an Impression in Wildwood
Rings Are Repainted
The second annual Frederick County Marble Collector Show & Festival was Held on Saturday, March 22nd at e-Ventplex at the Frederick County Fairground. Twelve vendors participated and we saw a bigger crowd attending the show than last year. The "Contraption was back with a paint job and more features. Many thanks to James Bongard and Tim DeLloyd for organizing the runs throughout the day. This year the club solicited show sponsorships and while lessons were learned it was a success and will be used more extensively for the 2015 show
On April 19th we held our second annual Keepsie marble tournament. The weather was great and the kids had a good time. We did not have a many kids has we had hoped, probably because a certain Facilitator scheduled it for the day before Easter. Congratulations to Cooper and Marilyn Fisher who won the two prized German Swirl marbles. Hats off to all the Knucklers for allowing the “newbies” some special set ups that allowed them to win their share of games and collect some marbles.
The third annual Roland Nelson Memorial and the 2014 Middletown Valley Championships were held on May 3rd. Cooper Fisher, Dominic Rudakevych, Marilyn Fisher and Brooke Donald earned their way back to Wildwood and will be joined this year by James Bongard. Cooper & Marilyn Fisher won the Roland Nelson Memorial and Brooke Donald earned the award for best Sportsmanship. It was a great day for everyone, both young and old.
The UTO Tournament and Frederick County Championships were played On Saturday, May 10th and while the Frederick County Knucklers knew that Mother nature loves playing marbles and has never forced a postponement of any of our tournaments and while she let us play today she did let us know we were pushing our luck as the last few games were played in the pouring rain and the awards were given out under the cover of the pavilion. Congratulations to Lauren, Katie, Luke and Eyob who won the right to represent Frederick County at the National Championships in Wildwood. Luke came in first in the Unleashed Technology Tournament and won the sticks trophy while his brother Eyob was awarded the sportsmanship award. Marilyn Fisher earned the UTO championship trophy in the girls division. Many thanks to Megan and Scott Greenwell for their generosity which allowed the kids to enjoy this fun day of marbles.
On Sunday, May 31st the Knuckler’s held their final tournament of 2014 and we could not have hoped for a better event! There was great weather and lots of kids having fun playing marbles. Players from Lansdowne and Ambler PA were in attendance. See the photos for comments about the day during which over 180 games were played. Play was close in both the boys and girls divisions with second and third place win/loss ties determined by the total number of marbles.
What a week the Knucklers had at the National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood! Marilyn Fisher and Dominic Rudakevych were crowned the Queen and King of Marbles for 2014. Marilyn came out on top of a very tough best of 15 game championship match with Kelsey Baran of Alleghany County, PA. Dominic went up against our own Luke Gaffigan in an 8 to 6 game championship match which featured some excellent shooting by both boys including several sticks. In addition to a National championship, Dominic also placed first during the preliminary competition with 38 wins and only 2 losses and shared the prize for the most sticks with Luke as both boys had 5 sticks each. Luke placed second with a likewise impressive record of 37 wins and 3 losses. Lauren Young and Brooke Donald also made the top 8 semi-finals on Thursday by placing 4th and 7th. Eyob Gaffigan and James Bongard both missed the final rounds of play by only a few win/loss percentage points. Katie Gaffigan came in a respectable 22nd place in her first of what is sure to be many trips to the Wildwood tournament. We were all glad to see club member Tim DeLloyd attend and join in the fun.
2014 - The Year of Marilyn Fisher and Dominic Rudakevych! During the course of the 12 months when Marilyn and Dominic are the reigning National Marble Champions they are been acknowledged on several venues including the Middletown Heritage Day Parade, recognition in Sports Illustrated, first pitch at the Frederick Key's baseball game and proclamations by the Middletown and Frederick County Commissioners.
A sad note to the year was saying farewell to Coach Scott who decided to move his family to North Carolina. However it was not good-by, for we expect to see him many times in the future at Wildwood as a friend and as the coach of a competing club.