Poss rolls 300, takes lead at 2019 USBC Queens

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- Giselle Poss of Nashville, Tennessee, rolled the first 300 game of the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Queens on Friday to take the overall lead after two rounds of qualifying.

The 24-year-old right-hander fired games of 256, 254, 204 and 266 before finishing with 12 consecutive strikes to post a 1,280 total, a 256 average, at Northrock Lanes to bring her 10-game score to 2,310.

Shannon Sellens of Long Beach, New York, is second with 2,295, while two-time USBC Queens champion Liz Johnson of Palatine, Illinois, is third with 2,293. Josie Barnes of Nashville, Tennessee (2,223), and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York (2,212), also are in the top five.

Qualifying and match play at the 2019 Queens, the first major of the 2019 Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour season, will be livestreamed at BowlTV.com, and the finals will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network on May 21 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Poss was in 34th place after the first round and took advantage of her time on the burn, meaning one squad already had bowled on this week's 39-foot oil pattern.

She had a plan of starting where she finished her block on the fresh Thursday, but a pair of adjustments along the way helped her post the third-highest block in the history of the event.

Singapore's Kristin Quah rolled 1,297 at the 2015 Queens in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and USBC Hall of Famer Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas, posted 1,294 at the 2010 event in El Paso, Texas.

"I kind of started where I finished yesterday but ended up using a weaker ball," said Poss, who finished third at the 2017 PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open during her rookie season. "It looked good for the first two games, but I needed to take two big steps left after Game 3 and change balls. I also got around it a little more to be sure I could carry the 10, since I was having trouble with that in Game 3, and just chased it from there."

Poss, a two-time National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) All-American at Vanderbilt University, has made sure to focus on a few of the physical aspects of her game throughout the first two rounds at Northrock Lanes.

"I'm trying to keep my pre-shot routine and fundamentals the same," Poss said. "I don't want to get too fast with my feet. I want to make sure my timing isn't late, since that's my tendency. I want to make sure I'm pushing the ball away early enough to get into my swing so it doesn't get away from me at the release point."

With one round left of qualifying before match play, Poss will take the opportunity to try a few different things on the fresh during her block Saturday.

"I might try some different equipment on the fresh," Poss said. "I did OK on Thursday, but you need to be matched up for the bracket. I may try to start farther right than I did yesterday, because it seemed like that's where the girls were putting up the best scores today."

Competition will resume Saturday at 9 a.m. Eastern.

The 192-player field will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days to determine the 63 bowlers joining defending champion Shannon O'Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, in match play.

Heading into Saturday's final round, Germany's Birgit Pöppler is in 64th place with 2,039.

O'Keefe, who also is the 2018 PWBA Player of the Year, is 16th after 10 games with a 2,168 total.

She is guaranteed the No. 64 spot in the double-elimination match-play bracket at the 2019 Queens, but bowling qualifying will give her a chance to improve her seeding.

The match-play bracket will feature three-game matches with total pinfall determining who advances. The five players who make their way through the bracket will advance to the stepladder finals and have the chance to take home the top prize of $20,000.