Utah team rolls into top spot at 2014 Women's Championships

By Aaron Smith and Wishelle Banks
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev. - Rolling into the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships, the members of Oneida County Hospital of Garland, Utah, weren't necessarily looking to take the lead, they simply were focused on having fun on the lanes at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

They walked away with much more than they expected Sunday after using games of 581, 601 and 688 to help them to the top of the Sapphire Team standings with a 1,850 total. KRB Ranches of Sandia, Texas, previously held the lead with 1,825.

Julie Green led the way for Oneida County Hospital with games of 202, 172 and 226 for a 600 series, and she was joined by Tami Williams (444), Melanie Bowcutt (409) and Cindy Gibbs (397).

"Two of the ladies on our team - Julie and Tami - bowled exceptionally well and carried the others," said Bowcutt, a nurse who made her eighth USBC Women's Championships appearance. "Julie actually had two games over 200, which was great. I'm proud of her."

The team was excited to hear about its place in the standings in The Biggest Little City in the World.

"We were very surprised," Bowcutt said. "We hadn't looked at the scoreboard prior to going in, so we had no idea what we needed. When we walked out and saw our names, we didn't expect it."

In returning to the 44-lane venue for doubles and singles, Williams found individual success, posting the highest game of her bowling career, 210, to start doubles. It was the first time she has eclipsed the 200 mark, and the game included six strikes in a row.

"It was just awesome," said Williams, who made her 11th tournament appearance. "Six strikes in a row felt just awesome!"

The group now is eager to see if its score will hold until the conclusion of the 2014 Women's Championships, which runs daily through June 30.

"It feels great to take the lead," Bowcutt said. "I hope we can keep the lead. It'll be fun to watch and see. We bowl in a tiny bowling center with wooden lanes and still have to keep score by hand. It would be great to take it back to our hometown."

Teams competing in the Sapphire Division have combined entering averages of 574 and below.

Visit us on Facebook at the official USBC Open/Women's Championships page.

Presenting sponsors for the 2014 USBC Women's Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.