Record team game helps New York team to Diamond lead at 2021 USBC Women's Championships

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RENO, Nev. - The members of Bowl 2 Win of Mechanicville, New York, set one United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships record and nearly broke another on the way to the Diamond Team lead Monday.

The quartet of Robin Orlikowski, Suzanne Morine, Jessica Aiezza and Liz Kuhlkin posted the highest four-player team game since the event switched from five to four players in 2014 (1,003) on the way to a 2,809 total, the second highest team series since the switch.

The team started with 883 before rolling to the 1,003 score and finished with 923 at the National Bowling Stadium to take the lead. Rolling Thunder Lanes of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, previously led Diamond Team with 2,629.

The record performance featured Orlikowski leading the way with 277, and she was followed by Aiezza (269), Kuhlkin (247) and Morine (210).

Kuhlkin led the overall effort with a 752 series, with Orlikowski adding 704, Aiezza rolling 696 and Morine recording 657.

The previous record for the highest team game was a 995 total rolled by Strike Out Diabetes of Double Oak, Texas, at the 2016 USBC Women's Championships in Las Vegas. The four-player team series mark is 2,819 by Bowlieve In A Cure of Arlington, Texas, during the 2014 event held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

The 2021 Women's Championships marked the first time the four players had bowled together, but they quickly found chemistry on and off the lanes.

"Jessica and I have bowled together for a couple of years, and Suzanne is a great bowler from our area," Kuhlkin said. "Jessica bowled with Robin in college at Morehead State, so she called to see if she could join us, and she said yes. Some of us just met for the first time the other day, but we've formed a really great chemistry. We gelled and talked a lot during the team event, and it helped us put together a big score and bowl well."

Even though the members of Bowl 2 Win averaged more than 220 in their opening game Monday, they felt the nerves of competing at the event didn't really let them settle in until the end of the game before setting the stage for their record run.

"Whenever you start a tournament, you want to start strong and throw good shots," said Kuhlkin, a Team USA member. "This is the women's national event, and you want to bowl well, so I think we were all a little bit nervous at first. We were still trying to figure out ball shapes. We threw a couple of fill shots in the 10th, and it looked like we had the right bowling balls in our hands, so we felt like we could start striking. Once things started to flow and the pins started flying, it became easy to have our swings loosen up."

With the USBC Queens coming to the NBS starting May 12, many of the top players in the world are making their way to Reno and swinging by the Women's Championships to make a run at the leads in the Diamond Division.

All teams competing now know the score they'll be shooting for, and the members of Bowl 2 Win will wait and see if their performance is enough to claim a win at the 2021 event.

"It's a really big deal to win at this event, with people coming from all over the country to compete," Kuhlkin said. "I think the way we came together as a team is pretty unique, and it would mean a lot for all us if we ended up winning."

Diamond Team consists of teams with combined entering averages of 665 and above.

The team lead in the Ruby and Emerald Divisions also changed hands this week at the NBS.

051021_HappyCatsIn the Ruby Division, the members of Happy Cats of Elgin, Illinois, used a strong start to move to the top of the leaderboard, posting games of 805, 798 and 680 to finish with a 2,283 total. Friends From Everywhere 1 of Byron Center, Michigan, previously led Ruby Team with 2,228.

Happy Cats was led by Pamela O'Neil, who rolled a 626 series. She was joined by Denise Brabec (607), Kristine Guindon (597) and Dawn Trodler (453).

Ruby Team includes four-player groups with combined entering averages of 600-664.

051021_NoPinIntendedIn the Emerald Division, No Pin Intended of Cheyenne, Wyoming, bowled better throughout its team event, rolling games of 648, 718 and 747 to take the lead with 2,113. Where Here of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had held the lead with 2,062.

Kelly Medley led No Pin Intended with a 542 series. She was joined in Reno by Lisa Herrington (541), Peggy Herrington (533) and Misty Williams (497).

Emerald Team features teams with combined entering averages of 545-599.

051021_DeniseKurekA new leader also emerged in Diamond Singles this week, with Denise Kurek of Jacksonville, North Carolina, saving her best for last at the NBS.

Kurek rolled games of 238, 255 and 268 to take the lead with a 761 series. Jami May-Bruce of Thornton, Colorado, previously led Diamond Singles with 727.

Kurek added sets of 600 in doubles in 547 in team for a 1,908 all-events total. May-Bruce leads Diamond All-Events with 2,060.

The Diamond Division features bowlers with entering averages of 175 and above.