New Emerald, Amethyst leaders emerge at 2018 USBC Women's Championships

By Tony Contini and Ryne Navarro
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev. -
Wendy Mann of South Elgin, Illinois, Vickie Hensley of Mineral Wells, Texas, and Linda Lam of Oak Park, Illinois, each have a different story to tell when it comes to the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships.

They have one important thing in common, however. Each now finds her name at the top of the standings at the 2018 event.

Mann returned to the USBC Women's Championships in 2018 as a defending champion in Emerald Doubles, and she left Reno this year with the lead in Emerald Singles (638) and Emerald All-Events (1,799).

Hensley nearly joined Mann in the winner's circle last year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, finishing fifth in Amethyst All-Events, and she improved on that performance as she rolled to the top spot at the National Bowling Stadium this week with a 1,491 total.

Lam, making her tournament debut, used a pair of strong bookend games to move into the Amethyst Singles lead with 537. Her games were 201, 149 and 187.

Vicky Gahm of Bird Island, Minnesota, previously held the lead in Emerald Singles with 597, while Mary VanderSchaaf of Salmon, Idaho, held the top spot in Emerald All-Events with 1,677.

Kimberly Kennedy of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, was the previous leader in Amethyst All-Events with 1,464, and Robyn Raker of North Pole, Alaska, held the lead in Amethyst Singles with 522.

Last year at the Raising Cane's River Center, Mann teamed with Betty Jean Davis of Herbert, Illinois, to share the top spot in Emerald Doubles with Teresa Bazley and Holly Davis of Jacksonville, Florida. Each pair combined for a 1,098 total.

After receiving her championship trophy Sunday prior to her team event, Mann quickly got to work, firing a 637 series.

Although she fell short of a repeat performance in doubles, finishing with a 524 series and 1,009 total effort with new partner, Jeanne Hester of Arlington, Texas, Mann rebounded in singles with games of 210, 203 and 225.

"This is absolutely crazy," Mann said. "I had success last year, but I was not expecting to do this well in Reno. It's absolutely surreal. When you've tasted success before, you always want to come back and bowl well and try to get back on top."

Mann made her 13th Women's Championships appearance this week, and she says it feels good to start coming out on top after several years of struggling on the championship lanes.

"I am 100 percent in shock," Mann said. "I haven't bowled this well in a tournament in years, and it's a good feeling to know I have a little bit of breathing room as well."

Emerald Singles and Emerald All-Events include bowlers with entering averages of 160-174.

HensleyVickie2018WCForWeb250x140For the second consecutive year, Hensley has relied on a strong doubles set to make her push for her nine-game total. This week, she posted a 565 series in doubles and added 473 in team and 453 in singles.

Her set in doubles included games of 210, 163 and 192.

"I think I jinxed my teammate," said Hensley, who moved into the top 30 in Sapphire Doubles with Valerie Bearden. "We were doing pretty good until I told her how much we needed for the lead. I shouldn't have said anything."

Hensley, making her ninth Women's Championships appearance, performs better when she knows her target. Her finish last year in Baton Rouge helped her visualize her pace and progress.

Despite the success for the second consecutive year, she says luck plays a big part of it, too. What keeps her coming back is the fun she has with her friends.

"I was hoping I would do well," Hensley said. "My teammates don't take bowling as seriously as I do, but they have a good time."

Lam rolled games of 201, 149 and 187 to make her run in singles, and she continued to surprise herself throughout her tournament debut.LamLinda2018WCForWeb250x140

She also made a run at the lead in Amethyst All-Events, settling into third place with 1,459.

Lam bowled as a child, and she and her husband started to compete in leagues about eight years ago. Recently, they took some time away from the sport, but now she's back in the mix of things.

Although some of her tournament performances at the local and state level may not have yielded the results she was looking for, her performance in Reno made up for them.

"I'm not a very good bowler," Lam said. "I don't know what I'm doing, and I just throw the ball. But, I got lucky. That's what happened. It was fun, though. I had never been to Reno."

Amethyst Singles and Amethyst All-Events feature bowlers with entering averages of 130-144.

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