Second time's the charm for new leaders at 2017 Women's Championships

By Scott Simon and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

Bonnie Ryan (above) of Price, Utah, and Jillian Schneider of Dayton, Ohio, each made their second United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships appearances special by taking a lead in their respective divisions.

Ryan posted a 1,301 nine-game total at the Raising Cane's River Center to take the lead in Topaz All-Events, and Schneider rolled a 519 set to wrap up her 2017 USBC Women's Championships in the top spot in Amethyst Singles.

Simonne Haas of Mabank, Texas, previously held the lead in Topaz All-Events with 1,264, while Gracie Aiken of Independence, Kansas, held the top spot in Amethyst Singles with 507.

Ryan credited her consistency in helping her make her run up the standings. The 56-year-old right-hander bowled sets of 463 in doubles, 428 in singles and 410 in team to reach her leading score.

"It's unbelievable," said Ryan, who bowls at Gateway Lanes in Helper, Utah. "I'm thrilled because I'm not that great of a bowler and not usually that consistent."

Ryan made her Women's Championships debut at the 2012 event in Reno, Nevada, and felt more confident now that she's been involved with the sport for several years.

"I've only been bowling since 2011, and the first time I was at the tournament, I had only been bowling for a year," Ryan said. "I felt like I could bowl better this year and have better scores."

Ryan jumped on a team as a last-minute substitute for her appearance in 2017, and after finding success at the River Center, she hopes to find a USBC-certified coach to help her further her game and continue competing at the Women's Championships, starting with next year's event at Reno's National Bowling Stadium.

"I've always been athletic, and I'm sure I can get better with lessons," said Ryan, a retired registered nurse. "I definitely will be bowling in Reno in 2018."

0505017-Jillian-Schneider_637After starting with games of 167 and 162, Schneider closed her event with a 190 game to take the Amethyst Singles lead.

The 29-year-old right-hander started her final game with an open frame, but she bounced back with three consecutive strikes. Following a second open in the fifth, Schneider was clean the rest of the way. A strike to start the 10th frame sealed her spot at the top of the standings.

Having never been in the position to take a lead at a national event, Schneider said it never crossed her mind that she was in contention for the lead, especially after sets of 402 in team and 392 during doubles.

"Yesterday was kind of like practice," said Schneider, who finished with a 1,313 all-events total. "The biggest difference today is that I feel more comfortable on the lanes, and I finally got it down."

Schneider was able to share the experience with her mother, Cathy, as they competed together in doubles, along with several close friends. She hopes to continue her tournament career alongside them, too.

"I hope to," said Schneider, who will be getting married next year. "I've got a lot going on, but it'll be great not just to hang out with my mom, but with my best friend, her mom and her sister."

Amethyst Singles includes bowlers with entering averages of 130-144. Topaz All-Events features bowlers with averages of 129 and below.

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