Thursday, May 22, 2014

Missy Ventures to PBA Summer Swing

This week I travelled from Team USA Training Camp straight to the PBA Summer Swing in Shawnee, OK at FireLake Bowling Center.

We competed on the newer PBA patterns - 32' Wolf, 40' Bear and 52' Badger. Each tournament consisted of 6 games of qualifying and then cut straight to the top 18 players for 6 more games of match play, after which the field was then cut to the top 5 players for the stepladder finals to be held on CBS Sports Network.

I felt great during the practice session and especially after training all week long at Team USA Training camp.

Our first pattern was on the shortest of the PBA patterns - the 32' Wolf pattern. I unfortunately started out poorly, not getting my ball to shape up correctly shooting -80 for the first 3 games. I finally made the correct move switching to my LX16 on the left lanes and Columbia 300 Omen on the right lanes and shot games of 204, 254 and 210 to get to -12 overall. The top 18 cut took +143 for the 6 games with Chris Barnes eventually being top qualifier, followed by Mike Fagan, Martin Larsen, Sean Rash and Chris Loschetter.

The next day, we competed on the 40' flat Bear pattern. Having great success on this pattern at last year's inaugural summer swing, I was pumped for the tournament. Unfortunately, I didn't strike enough shooting consistent scores, but not high enough to make the cut. I bowled games of 202, 193, 202, 184, 234 and 200 to be +15 overall on the day. I was very disappointed as it only took +92 to make the top 18 cut. Leading the tournament was Tommy Jones followed by Bill O'Neill, Ronnie Russell, Rhino Page and Dick Allen to round out the top 5 stepladder finals.

In the final tournament, we bowled on the longest of the PBA patterns - the 52' Badger. With my bowling ball not hooking a whole lot to start, I was just trying to keep the ball in play and pick up my spares. I had to throw it the slowest I possibly could and used a 500 grit pin down Columbia 300 Enigma to try and get my ball to face up. After two games, I then switched to my pin up Columbia 300 Take Down and later used an LX 16. I physically bowled by far the best on this day, but my scores didn't reflect it. I shot games of 220, 189, 236, 200, 193 and 213 to shoot +51 overall. It took +121 to make the cut, with Bill O'Neill leading the pack for the stepladder finals, followed by Pete Weber, Marshall Kent, Brian Valenta and Mika Koivuniemi.

Be sure to watch all of the action this summer on the CBS Sports Network.

Til next time...

Team USA Camp 2014

Last week, I ventured to Team USA Training Camp at the ITRC in Arlington, TX for a week of fun and training. Being my 5th year on the team, it's always nice to see old friends and bond with new teammates.

Although I can't let you in on all of the exciting, technological and fun details. I will share a few details of our week at camp...

Being able to utilize all of the tools at the ITRC is definitely one of the pluses of the week. It's always nice to compare ourselves to past years as well as see our strengths or weaknesses and find new areas to improve or work on.

We also had some quality team bonding time and were able to tap into our artistic side. The painting night was definitely one of my favorites during the week. :) 


All I can say is that Team USA 2014 is one AMAZING Team! 

Til next time...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Missy Visits Hawaii for PBA Regional Events

Overhead view of Waikiki and Diamond Head

I was fortunate enough to visit Hawaii - one of my favorite bowling destinations. Every year, there are PBA Regional events that take place on the islands of Hawaii. This year the tournaments started on the Big Island at KB Xtreme in Kona. 

Having great success at this bowling center last year in its inaugural event, I was excited to make the trip back to Kona. Prior to the tournaments, Scott Norton and I flew in early to do some sightseeing and relaxing.

Last year, we were able to visit the Volcano National Park, the Southern Most Point in the U.S. as well as Black and Green sand beaches.
Volcano National Park
This year, we decided to visit the other side of the island and drive to Hilo. We took the long and scenic route to Hilo, making pit stops at Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls. Then later, we stopped at Rainbow Falls, where we hiked (in flip flops) through the mud and over rocks to get to the top of the waterfall. Ten mosquito bites and muddy feet later, the hike was well worth it for the amazing views and close proximity to the sheer power of the falls.  
Akaka Falls
Rainbow Falls

We later went into the historic town of Hilo and ate at CafĂ© 100, home of the Loco Moco. I LOVE Hawaiian food and I definitely got my fill while on this trip! Spam musubi, Kalua pork, and my staple breakfast – spam, eggs and rice.

After a yummy lunch, we headed to a natural thermal ocean pool, which is heated from lava underneath the rock and allows ocean water in, leaving fish, eels and other ocean life in a heated environment great for snorkeling.

Afterwards, we made our way up to Mauna Kea for stargazing at night.  Although it wasn’t the clearest night, we were still able to view Jupiter with its four moons as well as see all of the lines that surround Jupiter, which we learned are actually storms. We also viewed Mars, Orion’s belt and numerous other constellations and stars.  It was an amazing day to say the least.

Then started the tournament in Kona. The lanes were pretty challenging with massive out of bounds from 8 to the gutter, which definitely put more of a premium on shot making and spares.

I started off great shooting 229, 213, 222 and 191 using my Ebonite Pivot. Then I missed the transition and shot games of 171, 175 and 189 to put me out of the cut. Needing a big last game to cash and possibly make the cut, I switched balls to my Columbia 300 Eruption Pro and shot 235 for +25 overall.  I ended up being the first one not to cash, just missing by 21 pins as well as barely missing matchplay by 33 pins.

Although I was disappointed, I was still extremely pleased with how I bowled considering it was my first real test of a lot of games since I had injured my groin muscle in early January. After the USBC Masters, I took an entire month off from bowling to try and let it completely heal. It seems to have worked! J

We then ventured to Oahu, Hawaii for our next two tournaments. Prior to the tournaments, our Columbia 300 and fellow EBI staffers held a coaching clinic at Hickam AFB, which filled to capacity.

The next day, we had a one-day event at the Pearl Harbor Naval Station bowling center. The day was extremely high scoring with Scott leading the field shooting 300 and 278 to start out the event. I started out strong using my Columbia 300 Crazy Antics to shot 268 the first game. However, things quickly fell apart the second game as I struggled to find the pocket, shooting 158. I found a line, switching to my #emergencyorange Eruption Pro shooting games of 212, 246, 223, 250 and 249. Needing a big last game to cash and make the cut, I figured I needed to strike out and shoot 250. I got the first strike in the 10th and then left a pocket 7-10 split to shot 242. The 7-10 ended up costing me making matchplay, as I shot +240 for all 8 games, but missed matchplay by 1 pin. I did still cash in the tournament.

I then played cheerleader and watched Scott win his 6th regional title using a Columbia 300 Crazy Antics, defeating local Chad Pojas for the win.

In between events, we were able to visit Spam Jam 2014 that took place in downtown Waikiki. I of course was in heaven, loving spam and bought a couple of spam musubis and event bought a t-shirt that is perfect for me!

Our final tournament was held at Hickam AFB bowling center. The lanes were even more high scoring at this event. I didn’t fair too well at this tournament, not being able to carry. Scott didn’t have any trouble, shooting 300 both the first and 8th game of the event using his Columbia 300 Crazy Antics. He ended up coming in 2nd place for the event, behind David Haynes.

I have had the pleasure and privileged of traveling and bowling in Hawaii since I was 12 years old. Over the years, I have made many friends on the islands, which is why every year we all make it a point to see each other, usually for a dinner/BBQ. 

This year wasn't any different as we had a yummy BBQ and celebrated one of our friends’s daughter’s birthday. Timing also worked out perfectly as we were able to attend our friends' wedding.  

All in all it was a great trip to Hawaii. I can't wait until next year! Til then...