Illinois bowler leads Standard Singles at 2018 USBC Open Championships

By Matt Cannizzaro and Christine Nichols
USBC Communications

Ted Rybialek of South Elgin, Illinois, had a few things on his mind while approaching the final frame of his 2018 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships campaign, but taking the lead in Standard Singles wasn't one of them.

The 53-year-old right-hander simply was focused on having a good time with his bowling family and friends and making memories with his son, Joe.

Unbeknownst to them, Rybialek and his son simultaneously were racing up the singles and all-events leaderboards in their respective average-based divisions.

As Ted Rybialek stepped up for the final frame of his singles event Friday at the Oncenter Convention Center, he had no idea how significant the moment was, and a late-falling 10 pin on his first offering kept his title hopes alive.

Though his next shot drifted high and left the 3-6-10 combination, Rybialek was able to topple the 6 and 10 pins to secure the top spot in Standard Singles with a 707 series. Rob Pierson of Miles City, Montana, previously held the lead with 706.

It was one of Rybialek's teammates who told him he'd just snuck into the lead by a single pin. Prior to that, Rybialek just knew he'd achieved his goal of rolling a 700 series on the championship lanes.

"I had no idea what I needed going into the 10th, but I knew I needed to shoot a 220 for 700, and that really was my goal," said Rybialek, whose singles effort Friday included games of 215, 263 and 229. "I thought there was no way this could be happening to me. I can't believe what any of this would mean if 707 stays atop the leaderboard. And, to do this with my son, is indescribable."

A victory at the USBC Open Championships would earn Rybialek a coveted Eagle trophy, and his name would be emblazoned on one of the event's signature champion banners, both things he didn't realize until the magnitude of his accomplishment began sinking in.

Rybialek added sets of 548 in doubles and 523 in team, finishing his fifth tournament appearance in sixth place in Standard All-Events with a 1,778 total. Alex Houston of Rochester, Minnesota, leads with 1,855.

While Rybialek was making his run, Joe Rybialek, a first-time tournament participant, was closing in on the leading numbers in Classified Singles and Classified All-Events.

The young right-hander had a solid start to singles, opening with games of 233 and 221, before struggling in the finale on the way to a 140 finish. His 594 singles set is fourth in the standings, while his 1,656 all-events total, including 587 in doubles and 475 in team, is tied for third place.

Jochen Rehbein of Germany leads both categories with 622 and 1,718, respectively.

"It was awesome to have my son bowling with me while I was taking over the lead," said Rybialek, who bowls league at Stardust Bowl in Addison, Illinois. "He wasn't able to see my 300s, but him seeing this means everything to me."

Now, with the 107-day tournament just past its halfway mark, Rybialek will have to play the waiting game to see if his score is enough to hold on for the second Standard Singles title in tournament history.

"At this point, this will be in the back of my mind for the upcoming weeks," Rybialek said. "I definitely will be checking the leaderboard periodically."

The Standard Division, which includes bowlers with entering averages of 181-209, was introduced in 2017. The Classified Division includes bowlers with entering averages of 180 and below.

Visit us on Facebook at the official USBC Open Championships Facebook page.