Big scores continue at 2019 USBC Women's Championships

By Ryne Navarro and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

- The leaderboard at the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships continued to see new names jump to the top Monday at Northrock Lanes.

Katie Thornton of Savannah, Georgia, raised the number in Diamond All-Events for the third consecutive day after finishing with a nine-game total of 2,098, and Renzie Kintzler of Cheyenne, Wyoming, rolled 288 in her final game to take over the lead in Ruby Singles (725 series) and Ruby All-Events (1,824 total).

In addition to the new leaders, Amanda Flood of Brandon, Florida, became the first bowler at the 2019 USBC Women's Championships to roll a perfect game on her way into second place in Diamond Singles (789 series), and USBC Hall of Famer Jeanne Naccarato of Tacoma, Washington, added her name to the list once again to become the first bowler in tournament history with multiple 300s on the championship lanes.

Thornton, a 28-year-old right-hander, rolled sets of 773 in team, 711 in singles and 614 in doubles to surpass USBC Hall of Famer Kendra Gaines of Orlando, Florida, who posted 2,025 on Sunday.

The former collegiate standout at Webber International quickly saw a look she liked Sunday during her team event, rolling games of 251, 268 and 254.

"The key for me was being able to play my A game," said Thornton, who helped the Warriors win the 2010 and 2012 Intercollegiate Team Championships. "That definitely made me comfortable. I had some margin of error to work with and it was easy for me to get to the pocket during practice, so I knew it was going to be a positive for me. Plus, I didn't bowl very well at all last year, so I wanted to bowl better for my teammates."

Her doubles set Sunday didn't start the same way, however. She had four open frames to finish with 146 but was able to find her rhythm the following game and averaged more than 235 for her final five games.

"I think it was a matter of not being in any sort of rhythm whatsoever," said Thornton, who made her second tournament appearance. "Once I was able to settle into a rhythm, I figured things out and was able to make the right adjustments."

Thornton now will have to wait and see as many of the top players in the world have made their way to Wichita for the USBC Queens, which starts Wednesday at Northrock Lanes.

"I can always hope and pray it'll hold up, but I think someone will get to 2,100," said Thornton, the head coach of the men's and women's collegiate bowling programs at Savannah College of Art and Design-Savannah. "But, you never know. I felt the lanes were pretty forgiving for me, but it depends on everyone else's game and how it works out for them. I feel if it holds up after this week, it has a really good chance to hold on the rest of the way."

051319-Renzie-Kintzler_637Kintzler started her singles set Monday with games of 224 and 213 before starting her final game with 10 consecutive strikes. A 10 pin on her 11th delivery halted her run at her first career perfect game.

She added sets of 597 in doubles and 502 in team to get to the lead in all-events.

Annette Miller of Roseville, California, previously led Ruby Singles with 663, and Elainea Myers of Bowie, Maryland, led Ruby All-Events with 1,802.

Through her first five games at Northrock Lanes, Kintzler had recorded a high game of 178 but had the lanes come to her at the end of doubles, where she finished with 254.

"I think the oil began to breakdown towards the end of doubles," said Kintzler, who made her ninth Women's Championships appearance. "When I started to see that, I stuck with the same line and eventually knew it was going to break in."

She admitted to some nerves as she made her run at 300 but was happy with the shots she made in the final frame.

"I kept telling myself to stay humble, throw a good shot and keep it straight," Kintzler said. "I've had 11 in a row before, so I knew I could do it, but I looked down and saw the shadow of my pants start to shake a little bit and that got me a little. But, I put it out there and it was a nice shot. You can't do much about a solid 10 pin."

Kintzler also took over the Ruby All-Events lead at the 2017 event in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before finishing in seventh place. Getting to share in those experiences with her mother, Rhonda Drehobl, made it special for the 36-year-old right-hander.

"It was fantastic," Kintzler said. "I came down with my mom for Mother's Day, and our team included another mother and daughter, so it was exciting go out and have fun with the girls and my mom. It's really exciting."

051319AmandaFlood_637Flood started her singles set with a 245 game before becoming the 28th bowler in the 100-year history of the Women's Championships to roll a perfect game. She finished her set with 244.

Beverly Gonzalez of Sierra Vista, Arizona, leads Diamond Singles with 798.

The 38-year-old right-hander had rolled nine USBC-certified 300s prior to Monday, and her performance at the world's largest participatory sporting event for women quickly helped move her 10th perfect game to the top of her list.

"This is the best one," said Flood, who made her 13th Women's Championships appearance. "This was more nerve-wracking than my first one. I'm speechless. I was almost in tears after that last shot, but it's exciting to have a shot at it."

Flood struggled to get going during her doubles set Monday, finishing with 551, but she decided to make an adjustment heading into singles.

"I went to a weak ball and moved inside, which seemed to work," said Flood, who also had 637 in team for a 1,977 all-events total. "My carry improved, and I stopped leaving washouts."

After the excitement of the perfect game, Flood had to refocus to make a run at the singles lead. Needing 253 in her final game, she started with four out of five strikes before a 7-10 split in the sixth frame ended her run at the top spot. She delivered strikes on her next five shots to get into second.

"Someone told me I had to shoot 800 to take the lead," Flood said. "Then I left that 7-10. From there, I tried to do my best to strike out and get the highest score possible. It's amazing to feel that you're on top with all the best bowlers in the world, though."

Flood was able to be part of a historic moment in tournament history at the 2011 event in Syracuse, New York, and she always felt she would have her own moment.

At the 2011 event, Flood was able to share the lanes with USBC Hall of Famer Dede Davidson as she rolled an 800 series during her team event and followed the next day with a 300 game in doubles on the way to the Scratch All-Events title.

"I said that's going to be me one day," Flood said. "I wanted to make history and put my name in the record books. Obviously, I fell short of 800, but shooting 300 is amazing."

051319JeanneNaccarato_637Naccarato, a five-time Women's Championships titlist, made history during her final game of team competition Monday after starting her set with games of 211 and 236. Her second career 300 at the event helped her to a 747 series and her team, UCanBowl2 of Newhall, California, into fourth place in Diamond Team with a 2,602 total.

Defending Diamond Team champion Golden Approach Pro Shop of Dayton, Ohio, leads with 2,682.

Naccarato rolled her first 300 at the 2014 Women's Championships in Reno, Nevada, on the way to winning Diamond Doubles with fellow hall of famer Robin Romeo.

Naccarato and Romeo returned as defending doubles champions once again this week after winning the title at Reno's National Bowling Stadium in 2018 with a 1,405 total.

"It's a shock," said Naccarato, a 61-year-old right-hander who won the 2019 USBC Senior Queens in March. "It's great, especially when you consider my age. To be the first bowler to have two 300s is amazing and a nice addition to my credits."

Despite the success she's seen on the lanes in 2019, Naccarato admits it hasn't been the easiest to keep her game as sharp as she'd like it to be.

But for Naccarato, the most important of her experience each year at the Women's Championships is who she's able to compete with on the lanes.

"This year has been hard," said Naccarato, who's also a member of the Professional Women's Bowling Association Hall of Fame. "I've been working a lot at my bowling centers, so I haven't been able to practice a lot. Before the Senior Queens, I tried to get a month of good practice in, and I fortunately came out with the win. Before this event, I got some practice in, but I was more looking forward to bowling with my friends.

"The reason I come is to bowl with Robin, my best friend, Donna (Conners) and Carol (Norman). I love bowling team event, I love bowling doubles. For us to get together and see each other means the world to me. No matter if we bowl bad or bowl great, we're here to enjoy the sport and each other."

Naccarato and Romeo will return to Northrock Lanes to defend their title Tuesday at 8 a.m. Eastern.

Diamond Singles and Diamond All-Events includes bowlers with entering averages of 190 and above, and Ruby Singles and Ruby All-Events features bowlers with averages between 175-189.

Diamond Doubles includes bowlers with combined entering averages of 380 and above.

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