Singles scores soar at 2017 USBC Women's Championships

By Ryne Navarro and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

While bowlers travel to the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships to have fun with their teammates, several competitors added individual success to the mix Sunday as singles leaders in three divisions emerged at the Raising Cane's River Center.

Memorial Pritchett of LaGrange, Georgia, Ashley Guzman (above) of Waukegan, Illinois, and Melanie Prough of Woodbine, Georgia, each recorded personal bests on the championship lanes to secure the top spots in the Sapphire, Amethyst and Emerald Divisions, respectively.

050717-Memorial-Pritchett_637Pritchett made her 15th USBC Women's Championships this week and flew past the leading total with games of 235, 211 and 198 for a 644 series. Pam Neil of Newport News, Virginia, previously held the lead in Sapphire Singles with 572.

Pritchett, a 62-year-old right-hander, was feeling under the weather in Baton Rouge, but she improved each set as she headed into singles, finding some momentum at the right time. Pritchett added 470 in doubles and 417 in team for a 1,531 total, which moved her into fourth place in Sapphire All-Events. Tara Long of Kenton, Ohio, leads with 1,616.

"Nothing was feeling good today since I was sick, but I had two really good games to start," said Pritchett, who made her tournament debut at the 1995 event in Tucson, Arizona. "The last game, I just tried to keep the ball on the lane and make it work."

Pritchett's previous high series at the event happened during doubles at the 1997 tournament in Reno, Nevada, where she rolled a 557 series. She's happy that her dedication to the event has paid off, and she is excited to see if her total will hold on.

"It feels good to be in the lead, especially after bowling for so many years," Pritchett said. "It's worth it, and maybe it will pay off."

Sapphire Singles and All-Events features bowlers with entering averages of 145-159.

Guzman wanted to make sure she had a good time while competing in her second Women's Championships, but she also had a goal of recording a 200 game at the River Center.

The 32-year-old right-hander did just that to start her singles event, rolling a 203.

"I wanted to come here and have fun, but I definitely wanted to bowl a 200 game," said Guzman, who made her Women's Championships debut last year in Las Vegas. "That was my goal, and I can't believe I did it."

Guzman continued strong, finishing with games of 160 and 167 for a 530 series and the top spot in the standings. Jillian Schneider of Dayton, Ohio, previously held the Amethyst Singles lead with 519.

Amethyst Singles features bowlers with entering averages of 130-144.

MPrough_260A strong start and finish helped push Prough into the Emerald Singles lead. She rolled games of 242, 153 and 213 for a 608 series to sneak past Loretta Tollin of St. Paul, Minnesota, who held the top spot in Emerald Singles with 603.

Coming from a bowling family, Prough knew she couldn't let a sub-par 433 performance in her team event hinder the rest of her tournament. She bounced back with 493 in doubles and finished with a 1,534 all-events total.

"I had a rough day yesterday, but today I was more relaxed," said Prough, who made her third Women's Championships appearance. "I felt really good today."

Emerald Singles consists of bowlers with entering averages of 160-174.

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