High scores continue at 2017 USBC Women's Championships

BATON ROUGE, La. - As the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Queens inches closer, the scores at the USBC Women's Championships continue to grow higher.

Three competitors ascended to the top of the standings Tuesday at the Raising Cane's River Center.

Former Junior Team USA and Team USA member Jennifer King (above) of Irmo, South Carolina, pushed the number in Diamond All-Events for the third consecutive day as she posted a 2,046 total, while Katie Ann Sopp-Schroeder of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, took the Regular Singles lead with a 684 series.

Stephanie Gill of Baltimore used the momentum of strong team and doubles sets to take over the top spot in Ruby All-Events with a 1,785 total.

Megan Kelly of Dayton, Ohio, previously held the lead in Diamond All-Events with 1,987, and Hayley Veitch of Kenner, Louisiana, held the top spot in Diamond Singles with 660. Stephanie David of Chaska, Minnesota, led Ruby All-Events with 1,763.

After helping The Big Ticket 1 of Columbia, South Carolina, to the Diamond Team lead (2,650) Monday with a 741 series, King continued strong in her first USBC Women's Championships appearance, adding sets 654 in doubles and 651 in singles.

King, the 2009-2010 National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association (NCBCA) Most Valuable Player while at Pikeville, worked alongside doubles partner and college teammate Kayla Bandy to navigate doubles and singles, which they bowled separately from the rest of their team.

Bandy is a two-time NCBCA Most Valuable Player, and the two teamed up to help Pikeville claim the women's title at the 2008 Intercollegiate Team Championships.

"Kayla and I communicated quite a bit," said King, the 2006 Junior Gold Championships winner. "We found that the oil was moving and transitioning a lot more than it was yesterday with our team, and we tried to stay on top of the moves. I stayed too far right for a while and had to make a big zone jump. Kayla already had made the move, so I felt confident making the adjustment. That was imperative for me to get back on track."

King, a 31-year-old right-hander, stepped away from the sport for several years after college to raise her son, Graham, but she is ready to get back into it and compete among the best.

"I took some time off to raise my son, but I've been bowling again for the past three years," King said. "I really picked it up the past two years, and this year, I was invited to come and compete here. It feels great, but I never expected it. I just came out here to have fun with my girls, and I'm happy with what we did. Even if the score gets beat, I'm happy with how it went."

051617-Katie-Ann-Sopp-Schroeder_637Sopp-Schroeder, a 28-year-old right-hander, used games of 213, 269 and 202 to take the lead, and she held off several close calls during Tuesday's opening squad. Veitch, who held the lead coming into the day, dropped to seventh place in the Regular Singles standings.

"It's a different energy this week," said Sopp-Schroeder, who made her fifth Women's Championships appearance. "We choose to come right before Queens, since all of the great players are bowling. When you compete in this environment, you compete to the level of people around you."

Sopp-Schroeder hopes the momentum of her performance at the Women's Championships pays dividends at the Queens.

"Last night I bowled OK, but doubles was pretty bad," said Sopp-Schroeder, who added sets of 622 in team and 541 in doubles for a 1,847 all-events total. "I was hoping to salvage a decent set for all-events and threw it much better during singles. I definitely hope the momentum carries over, since you usually feel better about bowling the next tournament after the first one goes well."

Diamond Singles and Diamond All-Events includes bowlers with entering averages of 190 and above.

051617-Stephanie-Gill_637Gill, a 33-year-old right-hander, put herself in a great position to take the Ruby lead after sets of 649 in doubles and 612 in team. Although she slowed down in singles with a 524 total, Gill was excited to take the top spot.

Gill uses the Women's Championships as a chance to spend some time with her mother, Sharon Diehl, and sister, Erin Diehl, and the group has found success on the championship lanes, too, finishing in third place in Ruby Team at the 2013 event in Reno, Nevada. She hopes this run brings the title home to Baltimore.

"We've been bowling together forever, and it's our chance to go on vacation every year and get away for a week without all of the guys," said Gill, who made her eighth tournament appearance. "It'd be awesome to win."

Ruby All-Events includes bowlers with entering averages of 175-189.

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