2011 USBC Open Championships concludes

RENO, Nev. - Matt Weggen of Muscatine, Iowa, made history when he became the first bowler in USBC Open Championships history to roll back-to-back 800 series on the tournament lanes, and he now can add two titles to his list of accomplishments at the National Bowling Stadium this year.

The 31-year-old right-hander is the first bowler to claim both theRegular Singles and Regular All-Events titles since John Janawicz ofWinter Haven, Fla., did so in 2004, also at the Stadium.

After posting a 636 series in team, Weggen found his way into therecord books with 806 in doubles and 826 in singles for a 2,268all-events total and then waited nearly three months for the 122-daytournament to conclude.

 "When I had two and a half months to wait, I tried to tell myself not to worry about it, but as it got close, I probably checked more than I should have," said Weggen, who now is one of three bowlers who own two 800s on the championship lanes. "Now that it's over, I am confident that I chose the right thing to focus my attention on. You always want to do something that separates you from everyone else, and this shows me that I made the right choice."

Recently-inducted USBC Hall of Famer Jeff Richgels added to his legacy at the Open Championships by leading Turbo 2-N-1 Grips 1 of Madison, Wis., to the highest team game in tournament history (1,281) on the way to a 3,473 total and the 2011 Regular Team title. The win is the fifth of Richgels' 30-year tournament career and the second for the team, which claimed the Team All-Events crown in 2005.

Mike Shady, who has posted a 1,900 all-events total or better in each of his 16 tournament appearances, paced the team with a 772 series and was followed by Gail Myers Jr. (741), Richgels (685) Marc McDowell(655) and Steve Richter (620).

"Right now, I'm feeling relief and elation," said Richgels, who also is a 1986 Regular Team champion, the 1997 Regular All-Events winner and teamed up with Richter for the 2005 Regular Doubles title. "We've had so many close calls over the last few weeks, and there were talented teams up until the end. To get beaten would've been heartbreaking. We've had a few seconds and thirds over the last few years, and I think we wanted this one more than we realized when we took the lead. This one is really special."

The coveted Team All-Events title was claimed by K&K Bowling Services 5 of Las Vegas, which got off to a slow start in team but averaged more than 237 as a group in doubles and singles to grab the top spot with a 10,283 total, the ninth-highest score in tournament history.

Adam Ishman led the way with a 2,135 all-events total and was followed by Junior Team USA member and first-time Open Championships participant Kyle King (2,123), USBC Second Vice-President and former Team USA member Andrew Cain (2,097), Chris Klerk (2,003) and Les Shirwindt (1,925).

"It was harder actually being here than it would've been watching on the computer at home," said Ishman, who spent a number of days this year working in one of the booths in the tournament's pro shop area. "I knew that if we could do it, anyone could do it,even if we had shot 11,000. It's a really cool feeling, but it really hasn't sunk in yet. I don't think I'll believe it until I see our names on the banner next year."
Chad Reiffer of Kentwood, Mich., and Brandon Tarabek of Grand Rapids, Mich., calmly stepped up and struck under pressure to finish with a 1,497 doubles total and now are the 2011 Regular Doubles champions. This year marked the first time the two have bowled doubles together at the Open Championships.

Tarabek, a 27-year-old right-hander, closed out his 745 set with three strikes and put their fate in Reiffer's hands. The 25-year-old righty coolly delivered three strikes of his own to cap off a string of seven consecutive strikes for a 752 series.

"It's been stressful and fun at the same time," said Reiffer, who made his fourth tournament appearance and finished with a career-best 2,062 all-events total. "We've done our best not to think about it, but it's been a long six weeks. Just to be close at all is amazing, but to finally get this call is unbelievable."

In the Classified Division, Paradise Lanes of Walden, Colo., put the team event out of reach early with a 2,910 total on March 26 and held on to win the 2011 Classified Team title.

The group posted games of 974, 938 and 998, led by Matt Landis, who fired a 631 series. He was followed by Glen Hurt (609), Shane Hartman (581), Toby Sanchez (545) and Nick Cornelison (544).

"You can probably tell how hard the wait was by how many times the website was hit," said Hartman, who made his seventh Open Championships appearance. "All five of our guys were on there every day checking the scores, and we're glad it's over. The last month was really difficult, and finding out it's official is really exciting."

The Classified Doubles title went to Velvet Sanderson of Norco, Calif., and Gary Weldon of Temple City, Calif., who combined for a 1,223 total.

Weldon, a 62-year-old right-hander, made a run at a perfect game in his final game of doubles, and although he fell short and finished with2 89, the effort was enough to lift them to the victory. Weldon finished with a 700 series, while Sanderson, a 48-year-oldr ight-hander, added a 523 set.

Glen Brown of Renton, Wash., a 39-year-old right-hander, capped off his 19th tournament appearance with a 690 series and earned himself this year's Classified Singles title.

The Classified All-Events title went to 23-year-old Miguel Sanchez of Chicago, who shot 677 in singles, 592 in doubles and 584 in team for a 1,853 total.

The 2011 Open Championships, which kicked off March 4, was the tournament's record 10th trip to Reno and seventh visit to the one-of-a-kind National Bowling Stadium. It also marked the first time a city has hosted the tournament in consecutive years. This year's event featured 12,837 five-player teams.

The tournament featured a record 16 800 series and 52 perfect games,the second-most behind the 2002 event in Billings, Mont., which had 64.

Some of the other numbers not reflected on the leaderboard include 25 299 games and six 298s, while 60 bowlers tossed 11 strikes in a row.

The next stop for the Open Championships will be Baton Rouge, La., in 2012. The tournament is scheduled to begin Feb. 11 and run for a near-record 151 days, concluding July 10.

Presenting sponsors for the 2011 USBC Open Championships are CircusCircus, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno. Other sponsors include Sands Regency Casino Hotel, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Humana, official registration sponsor, US Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, UPS, Nationwide Insurance, Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa, Harrah's Reno Casino and Hotel and Peppermill Hotel Casino.