Check out On the Lanes with Shannon and Bryan O'Keefe
BATON ROUGE, La. - Eight-time Team USA member Shannon O'Keefe of Arlington, Texas, is the epitome of a team player and always manages to deliver in even the most pressure-packed situations.
The three-time world champion stepped up big again at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships when she rolled the 10th perfect game of the 2012 event and helped Cambridge 1 to the highest team game at the Baton Rouge River Center this year.
O'Keefe found her stride halfway through her second game and closed the night with 19 consecutive strikes for games of 217, 238 and 300 for a 755 series. The effort helped Cambridge 1 to second place in Regular Team on games of 979, 1,103 and 1,237 for a 3,319 total. Nicholas J's Pro Shop 2 of La Crosse, Wis., leads with 3,401.
"It feels awesome," said O'Keefe, who became the eighth woman to roll a 300 at the USBC Open Championships. "The goal was to just knock down as many pins as we could as a team. We made them pretty nice that last game, so I wasn't even thinking about how many I had in a row. I just wanted to keep knocking down pins for our team. When I finally got to that 11th one, I said, 'oh my gosh.' What a cool place to do it."
The 33-year-old right-hander made her fourth tournament appearance and shared the lanes with her husband, Team USA assistant coach Bryan O'Keefe (632), and talented teammates Ron Nelson Jr. (679), Bill Webb (637) and Chris Viale (616).
Since the five members of Cambridge 1 hail from four different states, practicing together prior to arriving in Baton Rouge was not an option. The teammates spent some time at the nearby Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC on Thursday to get loose and then got together on the Showcase Lanes at the River Center for a practice session Friday afternoon.
"Bowling with this team has been amazing," Shannon O'Keefe said. "This is our third year together, and we've bowled great all three years. It's nice when you bowl with a team that has confidence in you, and we have confidence in each other. We bowled on the Showcase Lanes today, and that helped a lot. We had a game plan, we stuck to it and we made the lanes really nice. To be able to bowl with this group of individuals, who have accomplished so much, is great."
Growing up, O'Keefe enjoyed success as a high-level softball player and continues to enjoy the team atmosphere on the lanes as a member of Team USA and at events like the Open and Women's Championships.
In 2011, she rolled a perfect game on the way to the trios gold medal at the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Women's Championships and later went on to help the United States to team gold for the first time since 1987. Her year also included a Scratch Team title at the USBC Women's Championships in Syracuse, N.Y.
"I would prefer to win something or finish high in the team event," said O'Keefe, who competed at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for softball as a 15-year-old. "I would prefer to do that over an individual award any day. I grew up as a softball player, and the team atmosphere is what I know. It's where I'm most comfortable. If you have someone who is struggling, having a teammate there to pick them up is comforting. Tonight is right up there. This is pretty awesome."
Sponsors for the 2012 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno. Other sponsors include the Belle of Baton Rouge, official brackets sponsor; Kegel, official lane maintenance provider; Humana, official registration sponsor; Bud Light and Budweiser, official beer sponsors; The Advocate, official publication sponsor; Brunswick, official lane provider; Steltronic, official scoring system; Storm Bowling Products and Nationwide Insurance.