SYRACUSE, N.Y. - When an entourage of bowlers from Reno, Nev., arrived at the 2011 USBC Women's Championships this week, they were focused on finding success at the Oncenter Convention Center.
If their efforts are any proof of the talent level of the Reno bowling community, other competitors should take note, since the Women's Championships is headed to The Biggest Little City in the World for an unprecedented four consecutive years starting in 2012.
The 25-woman contingent included Nancy Ferretti and Marla Maley, who rolled into the lead in Ruby Doubles with a 1,235 total Thursday night.
The right-handers were comfortable and relaxed on the tournament lanes, and Ferretti led the way with scores of 202, 170 and 189 for a 561 series, while Maley contributed 145, 198, and 166 for a 509 series and a 1,070 scratch total. An additional 55 pins of handicap per game helped them past Dianna Coykendall of Mount Vernon, Ohio, and Susan Combs of Howard, Ohio, who previously held the lead with 1,209.
Ferretti and Maley already were confident, and both have managed to raise their averages this season, and they were happy to share their secrets.
"I went from a 163 average to a 167 this year," said 67-year-old Ferretti, who moved from California to Sparks a few years ago to retire with her husband. "I just changed the timing of my approach, and things just clicked - and kept on clicking."
Ferretti's home bowling center is at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, where she serves as the secretary/treasurer for her league, the Sierra Seniors. Before she moved to Nevada, she also served as the secretary/treasurer of her California league for 12 years.
Ferretti and Maley, of Winnemucca, met when they both played pickleball together, and that relationship carried over to the bowling lanes. Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis.
Maley, 55, bowls league at Reno's High Sierra Lanes and is familiar with doubles success, having won a state doubles title with Sylvia Woods in 1987.
Recently, however, Maley has suffered with pain in her right arm, which dropped her average after she was forced to switch to a lighter ball. Gradually, during 2011, she moved from a 10-pound ball to 12 pounds then back up to 14. Now she is able to handle the heavier weight, and her average is climbing, too.
"I just kept gradually increasing my stamina, and avoided injuring it further by not going to a heavier ball before I was ready," Maley said. "Things are on track now."
Ferretti and Maley both are pleased with their results in Syracuse this week. With fewer than 10 national appearances between them, they have concentrated on participating more in this decade than in previous ones and plan to take part in the 2012 event close to home in Reno.
"I hope our score sticks, and we take this," Ferretti said. "It's so exciting."
Sponsors for the 2011 USBC Women's Championships sponsors include Turning Stone Resort and Casino, official brackets sponsor, Humana, official registration sponsor, Miller Lite and Molson Canadian, official beer sponsors. Supporting sponsors include Storm Bowling Products, Nationwide Insurance, The Oncenter, Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau, Caz Limo & Tours, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, US Steltronic, official scoring system, and Brunswick, official lane provider.