Last week, I had the honor and privilege to represent the United States as a member of Team USA competing in the PABCON Women’s Championships in Cali, Colombia. Joining myself on the team, were teammates Kelly Kulick, Liz Johnson, Shannon O’Keefe, Shannon Pluhowsky and Danielle McEwan.
Over the course of the week, we competed in the Singles, Doubles, Trios, Team and Masters events of the tournament. At this year’s PABCON Women’s Championships, we competed on the Long – 47’ Paris pattern and Medium - 39’ Seoul pattern.
The first event of the week was the Singles competition where we bowled 6 games on the Medium pattern. I started out the first game of the tournament very shaky, but quickly starting executing and was able to get everything back on track. I shot games of 182, 238, 224, 253, 213 and 230 for +140, just missing a medal by 20+ pins, finishing in 4th place. Clara Guerrero broke the All-time Singles record, shooting +298 to capture the gold medal, which is an amazing feat being in her home Country in front of all of her family and friends. Teammates Kelly Kulick and Liz Johnson finished 2nd and 3rd.
The next day, we bowled 6 games on the Long 47’ Paris pattern in the Doubles event. I was paired with Kelly Kulick, which I had also bowled Doubles with at last year’s World Championships where we captured the Silver medal. We started off shooting 439 and then backed it up with a huge second game of 554, where I had the first 11 strikes in a row. We never looked back from there, shooting games of 440, 429, 530, where I had the front 9 strikes, and then finished it up with a 469 team game. This put us at +461 overall, which not only won us the Gold Medal, but also broke the All-time Doubles event record. I shot games of 217, 296, 247, 225, 279 and 234 using my Columbia 300 Disorder and Ebonite Pivot for +298. Kamilah Dammers and Thashaina Seraus from Aruba won the Silver Medal and teammates Danielle McEwan and Shannon O’Keefe won the Bronze medal.
The next day, we bowled the Trios competition. I was paired with Shannon O’Keefe and Danielle McEwan. For this event, we bowled on the Long 47’ Paris pattern on the left lanes and the Medium Seoul 39’ pattern on the right lanes. This proved to be both fun and very challenging at the same time since the lanes changed quickly and I had to throw the ball completely different on the two lanes. On the left lane, I was trying to throw the ball as slow as I can and make sure to be very rolly with my release, keeping the ball more end-over-end and then on the right lane, I was using my normal speed (much harder) with more of my normal release (more on the side.) We bowled well shooting games of 602, 661, 684, 705, 606 and 627 for +285 overall. I had my lowest block of the tournament thus far, shooting only +25, but luckily my teammates held me up.
Going into the 10th frame, it was very close for medals. I left a 9 pin, picked it up and struck to lock up the Gold Medal. The Silver medal was still up for grabs between Colombia and our USA teammates. Colombia finished first in the 10th frame and after which Liz Johnson, the anchor for the other USA Trios team, needed to throw all 3 strikes in the 10th frame to win the Silver medal by 1 pin. She did just that, throwing all 3 shots perfect for USA to take both the Gold and Silver Medals. Colombia received the Bronze medal.
The next day, we bowled 3 games on the Medium 39’ Seoul pattern in Team Event and then came back for 3 more games on the Long 47’ Paris pattern. We started off strong and never looked back, posting 5-person team scores of 1182, 1099 and 1062. Then after the break, we came back and shot 1148, 1081 and 1166 for +738 overall, which broke the All-time Team Event record and won us the Gold Medal, 428 pins over 2nd place. Canada won the Silver Medal and Mexico won the Bronze.
After we were done with Team event, I was informed that I had won the Gold Medal in All-Events and had also shattered the previous All-time All-Events record, shooting 5,515 averaging nearly 230 for all 24 games. Team USA swept the All-Events Medals, with Kelly Kulick winning the Silver medal and Liz Johnson winning the Bronze Medal which also solidified our berth into the 2015 Pan American Games.
The final day of competition was the Masters event, where the top 8 from All Events qualified to bowl head-to-head single elimination best of 3 matches. The top seed picked the starting pattern and the entire game was only bowled on that pattern and then you alternated between the patterns for consequent games. The first match, I faced Aumi Guerra from the Dominican Republic. I choose to start the match and that we would bowl on the Medium 39’ Seoul pattern. The first game was very close. I left a 10 pin and spared and then struck in the 10th frame and Aumi needed to throw a double in the 10th frame to beat me and she did not, shooting 213 – 195. We then moved to the Long pattern which was another close game. In the end, I ended up striking out in the 10th frame to lock her out, winning 236-221.
I then moved on to face teammate Liz Johnson. I did not have the best look on the next pair and choose the Long pattern to start on, which also was not the best decision. I lost game 1 – 183-232. Then came back and fired a242 to win that game of Liz’s 201. Then we went back to the Long pattern, which had given me so much trouble during the first game. The backends were extremely tight on that lane and since the pattern was so long, getting my ball to go through the pins correctly was a bit of a challenge. After leaving a pocket 8-10 in the middle of the match, I then figured it out and struck out 7-10 frames for 216, needing all 3 strikes in the 10th frame to force Liz to double in the 10thto beat me. She made a good shot and left a 10 pin, which led me to advance to the final match against teammate Danielle McEwan.
In the final match, this was another close one. I shot 227 the first game, which forced Danielle to strike out to beat me, in which she did not, shooting 219. The next game was even closer. Danielle threw great shots striking out in the 10th frame to force me to double in the 10th frame to beat her. I got a lucky first strike and then left a 10 pin on a good 2nd shot to lose 235-239. The final game, the right lane changed very quick for me and I couldn’t quite get my ball to match up correctly. Danielle bowled very well and beat me to win the Gold Medal in the Masters. I then took the Silver Medal and Liz Johnson and Clara Guerrero both won the Bronze Medal.
Later that night, we had the closing banquet. They took us to a typical Colombian restaurant, which had a giant thatch roof and was open air. The food was amzing! Even though we did not have time to go sightseeing or venture out in Cali, we did get to experience the amazing food of Colombia. Here are a few of my meals and some fun photos from the banquet. The green drink is called Lulada and is made of the fruit Lulo which is only native to Colombia. It was super yummy!
Til next time….