Scores heat up at 2018 USBC Women's Championships

By Tony Contini and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev.
- With the United States Bowling Congress Queens ready to take over the National Bowling Stadium in just a few days, the scores at the 2018 USBC Women's Championships began to heat up, and three divisions saw new leaders at the top of the standings.

Sharon Powers of Lakewood, Colorado, finished strong to take the lead in the Diamond Singles with a 701 series, and her overall effort also pushed her into the lead in Diamond All-Events at the NBS with a 1,955 total.

Cousins Julie Carter of Linthicum, Maryland, and Lisa Henderson of Odenton, Maryland, cruised into the Topaz Doubles lead with a 954 total, and We Da Gals 5 of Clinton, Utah, improved each game to take the lead in Emerald Team with 2,076.

Although Powers failed to mark in her final frame, she already had done enough to sneak into the lead in both events. Nancy Burrow of Conway, Arkansas, previously held the lead in Diamond Singles with 699, and 2017 Diamond Singles champion Taylor Bulthuis of Coral Springs, Florida, previously held the top spot in Diamond All-Events with 1,952.

After a 582 set in her team event, Powers began to find the right look in doubles, finishing with a 253 game for a 672 series. She started singles with eight consecutive strikes on the way to a 254 effort and added games of 234 and 213 to take the lead.

Powers is fresh off a third-place finish at the 2018 USBC Senior Queens, and though she knows she left some pins out there, she also learned from those moments. Going forward, she wants to put more effort into her concentration and aggressiveness on the lanes.

"I'm a little disappointed in myself because I did make a couple of mistakes," said Powers, who made her 43rd consecutive USBC Women's Championships appearance and is the 2014 National Golden Ladies champion. "But, I was more relaxed during this tournament than I have been in a while. I knew when to move, which is something my husband helps with, but I just needed to execute a little better. Your skills from all of the years come into place, and I just love the game. I always have."

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

Julie-Carter-and-Lisa-Henderson_637Henderson and Carter, who admitted to often getting mistaken for sisters, put together nearly identical performances at the NBS on the way to the lead.

Henderson paced the pair with games of 159, 172 and 148 for a 479 total, while Carter added games of 167, 154 and 154 for a 475 set. They bested Stephane Krehbiel of Bonney Lake, Washington, and Shannon Sison of Auburn, Washington, who had taken the lead earlier on Sunday with 897.

Henderson and Carter grew up on the same street, and, as they got older, moved to the same area, but bowling was something they didn't pick up until 2014.

Making their second Women's Championships appearances, the two made the right adjustments after their team event.

"We had to change how we were standing," said Henderson, who added sets of 408 in team and 387 in singles for a 1,274 all-events total. "This is so different from our home lanes."

Carter, who also moved into second place in Topaz All-Events with a 1,357 total, was excited to nearly post her highest career game in singles (197) and credits the pair's positivity in helping them race up the standings.

"We never say one thing about how you should have thrown the ball," said Carter, who added 451 in team and 431 in singles. "Sometimes, you'll be crying and things just won't be going well. I tell myself to take it frame by frame, and that will help clear my head."

Henderson echoed the statement, knowing the sport provides challenges. Being able to share in this performance, however, made any struggle short-lived.

"Everyone has bad games and bad nights at the bowling alley," Henderson said. "It's exciting to do this. Especially when you know you did it with your best bud."

Topaz Doubles includes bowlers with combined entering averages of 259 and below. Topaz All-Events features bowlers with entering averages of 129 and below.

We-Da-Gals-5_637Powered by Connie Paquette's 553 series, We Da Gals 5 used games of 667, 699 and 710 to surpass Split Personalities of Littleton, Colorado, which previously held the lead in Emerald Team with 2,032. Paquette was joined by Jeanne Hamblin (550), Daranee Huncharek (522) and Danette Hamblin (451).

The group competed together at the Women's Championships for the first time this week in Reno, but coming from similar backgrounds helped the team make its way to the top of the standings.

All four players are part of Air Force families and share the same temperament - cheer for each other and never get mad.

"We bowl and support each other," said Jeanne Hamblin, who made her 14th Women's Championships appearance. "If I had a bad game, they'd cover me and vice versa."

In addition to the similarities within their families, bowling also has brought them together.

"If it wasn't for bowling, I wouldn't have the friends I have," said Paquette, who made her ninth tournament appearance. "Utah is not an easy state to make friends when you don't have something going on. But, I've got a good bowling family. I knew we were bowling well, but it didn't seem like we were bowling well enough to take the lead, but we just kept going."

Emerald Team includes four-player groups with combined entering averages of 575-649.

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