Monday, August 24, 2015

Life on the Road - PWBA Tour

After the PWBA Topeka Open, we travelled 3 hours to the college town of Lincoln, Nebraska. It was my first time in Lincoln, and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. We stayed in Downtown Lincoln, within walking distance to great restaurants. The college was also located right there, which I thought was very unique being that centralized in Downtown.

Luckily, the proprietor of Sun Valley Lanes allowed the women to practice before and after the PWBA Lincoln Open in preparation for the upcoming events. 

A few girls arrived early to the PWBA Lincoln Tour stop and after gym workouts, lots of practice and some laundry duty, we managed to also have a little fun on the famous "O Street."

This week, we bowled on a 41 foot pattern with higher volume using Kegel Ice oil.

During practice, I seemed to have a good look using a variety of bowling balls. However, during the first block of qualifying, the lanes changed a bit (as they usually do) and I couldn't quite seem to get my ball to react accordingly. I shot -9 and was in 43rd place with 6 games to go.

Rob Gotchall and I discussed my issues and we decided to drill a ball in the very short break. I drilled a stronger Track Paradox, which gave me a chance at the top 16 cut. I can't say enough good things about this ball. It is definitely one to add to your arsenal!

The second block, I shot games of 257, 217, 182, 232, 202 and 194 for +75 overall and ended up in 29th place, missing the top 16, but still cashing in the tournament. Although it was definitely not my goal, I was at least throwing the ball better, as well as shooting much better at my spares.

Congratulations to Hammer staffer Amanda Greene for dominating and winning the event.

After the PWBA Lincoln Open, Clara and I had our 3rd clinic of the season, this time at Mockingbird Lanes in Omaha, Nebraska. We had a quite a few youth come out and a few travelled far to participate in the clinic.

The next few days, we worked out at the gym, practiced hard and also made a trip to the outlets that were nearby. We then made the 8 hour trek to Welch, Minnesota. The last hour and a half was all back country roads, with gorgeous views of corn fields, lakes, barns and silos (which for this California girl was a rare sight.)


The PWBA Minnesota Open was hosted by Treasure Island Casino and Island Xtreme Bowl. We bowled on a 47 foot, light volume pattern using Kegel Fire oil.

After practice, I knew I had a great look on the fresh, but I needed a different look once the pattern carried down a bit. I drilled one of my favorite balls of all time (which they happen to have on the truck) - a Track LX 16.

During the first block of qualifying, I shot +222 using my Ebonite Pivot and was in 3rd place going into the final 6 game block of qualifying. Still needing a different look later on in the block, I drilled a Hammer Red Legend Solid in the short break.

I came back and shot +209 the second block for +431 overall using my Ebonite Pivot and Red Legend Pearl and was sitting in 2nd place going into matchplay. Feeling great going into matchplay and overall loving the competitiveness of matches, I was confident going into the final day of the tournament.

Well, Sunday was a completely different story. The lanes were much different (as they usually are) but I couldn't seem to get my ball to go through the pins correctly, no matter what I tried. I physically threw the ball very well, but it was just one of those days where nothing seems to go your way. My matchplay record was a horrific 4-10-2. My opponents averaged 234.3 which was higher than the tournament leader's average.

Despite all of this, I still managed to come in 8th place in the PWBA Minnesota Open. I hit the pocket a lot, just couldn't carry as much as I needed to. I'm very proud of how well I physically threw the ball and maintained my concentration despite the bad breaks. I also didn't miss one single pin spare in 28 games and I shot at quite a few.

This tournament was special because my amazing in-laws flew in to Minnesota to come and cheer me on. It was definitely nice having the family support there!

Congratulations to Team C300 staffer Diana Zavjalova for winning the tournament.

On to the next event in Detroit! Until then...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

On the Road Again - the PWBA Tour

Well, the last two weeks have been pretty frustrating and disappointing. But, all I can do is learn from it, bowl better and move on to the next event.

Two weeks ago, my bestie Scott Norton and I travelled to Houston, Texas to defend our title at the Luci Bonneau Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles event.  This tournament is by far one of my favorite events of the year. The lanes were very challenging and we were fortunate enough to bowl the last squad of qualifying, so we were able to watch the other squads beforehand.

Unfortunately, things did not go well, as we couldn't stay out of trouble and caught a lot of bad breaks. Despite a big last game, we ended up shooting -74 overall for the 8 games of qualifying and missed cashing by 12 pins. BIG thank you to Donna Connors who always runs an amazing tournament! Congratulations to Shannon O'Keefe and Bill O'Neill for winning and capturing the PBA/PWBA Title.

In between the Luci and the PWBA Topeka Open, I travelled back to Austin, Texas with my roommates Clara Guerrero, Maria Jose Rodriguez and Sandra Gongora. Clara and I hosted out 1st of many bowling clinics throughout the summer at Mel's Lone Star Lanes. The event was a success!

Besides practice and a sports massage, we also made time to have a little fun in Austin. We rented a boat and cruised around the gorgeous Lake Travis. We then headed 10 hours to Topeka, Kansas for the next PWBA Stop.

We bowled on a 35' short pattern and after the practice session, I drilled 3 new balls - an Ebonite Code of Honor and Game Breaker 2 and a Classic U2 urethane ball. In the first 6 games of qualifying, I shot +17 using the Ebonite Code of Honor and Game Breaker 2 and also a Columbia 300 Eruption Pro Orange. I was roughly 40 pins behind the cut number and knew I needed a good final block.

I started out the next block struggling a bit, shooting 170, but then brought it back with a 216, 224, 191 and 210 for +28 going into the last game. I needed a big game to possibly make the cut and a decent game to get a check. We hit a really bad pair and I ended up using 3 different balls and shot 154 to miss cashing by 17 pins. I was pretty upset with my finish, but all I can do is learn from it and move on.

The next day, I cheered on my roommate Clara Guerrero, who qualified for the top 16 match play finals. She won 10 out of 16 matches to move from 13th to 4th and qualify for the stepladder finals. The position round was intense with 3rd to 8th place all able to make the stepladder. So winning that match and shooting a decent game was critical.
Stepladder Finalists for the PWBA Topeka Open - Danielle McEwan, Liz Johnson, Liz Kuhlkin and Clara Guerrero
Congratulations to Hammer staffer Liz Kuhlkin for winning the tournament.  HUGE thank you to the host and staff at West Ridge Lanes for providing amazing hospitality the entire week!

On Sunday, Clara and I had our second clinic and hosted it at the same bowling center we competed in all week long. We then left Topeka and travelled immediately to Kansas City to bowl in the Bowlers Show Charity Doubles tournament.

We bowled 3 games of qualifying. I shot 765 and Clara shot 710 and we were the top qualifiers. The field was then cut to the top 4 for a baker stepladder finals. Clara and I together shot 225 and won the tournament. We both used our Columbia 300 Urge the entire day. The tournament raised more than $1200 for the Willie Pollard scholarship fund.

We spent another day in Kansas City before heading to Lincoln, Nebraska for the next PWBA Tour stop. We practiced every day this week and managed to have a little fun before the start of the next PWBA event.

Stay tuned for the next tournament - the PWBA Lincoln Open Aug. 13-15. Watch all of the action LIVE on

Until next time...