Exciting week in Reno results in new leaders, 300 game at 2021 USBC Women's Championships

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By Aaron Smith and Ikra Zakir
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev.
- The scores have heated up at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships, with six lead changes last week at the National Bowling Stadium, a tie for the top spot in Amethyst Singles and a 300 game by Karen Barcal of Albuquerque, New Mexico (pictured above).

Rebecca Grant of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, was responsible for three of the six lead changes as she took over the lead in every Topaz event on June 11.

She started her run with Diena Wasson of Enumclaw, Washington, in doubles. They paired together to roll a 907 series to break a tie at the top of the leaderboard. Dolores Peace of Dover, Delaware, and Doris Butler of Hartly, Delaware, and Joanna LeBeau and Lady Carajohn of Peotone, Illinois, had held the lead with 902.

Grant led the way with games of 177, 187 and 167 for a 531 series, while Wasson added 125, 112 and 139 for a 376 set.

Grant stayed consistent as she moved to singles, rolling games of 169, 176 and 169 for a 514 series to pass Kathy Ronca of New Franklin, Ohio, who had led Topaz Singles with 506.

She started her 2021 USBC Women's Championships appearance with a 461 series in team, which also helped her cruise to the Topaz All-Events lead with 1,506. Gina Mix of Collinsville, Oklahoma, had taken the lead earlier in the week with 1,425.

If Grant is able to claim all three titles, she'll become the seventh bowler in tournament history, and first since 2012, to win three events in the same year.

Although Lady Carajohn was not able to hold onto the lead in Topaz Doubles, she still is leading Amethyst All-Events after recording a 1,612 total for her nine games at the NBS.

Carajohn used sets of 593 in doubles, 532 in team and 487 in singles to take over the top spot from Pam Rolf of Hutchinson, Minnesota, who previously led with 1,549.

The doubles and singles lead in the Ruby Division also changed hands this week at the Women's Championships.

061421_DawnSundbladeDawn Sundblade of Indian Trail, North Carolina, took the Ruby Singles lead with games of 261, 253 and 218 for a 732 series. Rose Waters of Auburn Hills, Michigan, had led with 704. Waters does hold the Ruby All-Events lead with 1,950.

Sundblade, making her 14th Women's Championships appearance, also posted sets of 568 in doubles and 487 in team for a 1,787 all-events total, which currently places her in the top 20 of Ruby All-Events.

061421_McHugh_SoChong McHugh and Eunsook So of Fort Worth, Texas, rolled to the Ruby Doubles lead at the NBS with a 1,259 total. Cindy Dayton of Reno, Nevada, and Debra King of Verdi, Nevada, had led since April 25 with 1,201.

McHugh led the consistent effort for the pair with games of 200, 216 and 235 for a 651 series, and So added 204, 206 and 198 for a 608 set.

So made her tournament debut this year in Reno, but she credited a key ball change in being able to manage the pocket and now is excited to see if she and McHugh can hold onto the top spot.

"The lanes were so dry to me, so I was not able to get to the pocket at first," So said. "I decided to use my plastic ball to get to the pocket. That was my key. We didn't expect this at all, and it would be wonderful to hold on and win."

Bonnie Winters of Ansley, Nebraska, put together the top performance of her Women's Championships career in her 12th consecutive appearance to move into a tie for the lead in Amethyst Singles with a 600 series.

Winters matched the effort posted by Wendy Kelley of Trout Creek, Montana, with games of 199, 210 and 191.

Karen Barcal became the second bowler at the 2021 Women's Championships and 34th competitor all-time at the tournament to roll a 300 game. She connected for 12 consecutive strikes during the final game of her team event on June 11.

Tina Williams of Pflugerville, Texas, rolled the first 300 of the 2021 event in May.

Barcal started her eighth Women's Championships appearance with games of 189 and 235 before her perfect finish to record a 724 series to help New Mexico Chili-Ettes of Albuquerque to a 2,634 total in Diamond Team, which places the group 10th in the division.

Bowl 2 Win of Mechanicville, New York, leads Diamond Team with 2,809.

Barcal credited her teammates in helping her find the right look at the NBS, and although she pulled her final shot, it was able to hold long enough to hit the pocket.

"I had a little trouble in the first game and was trying to find the right angle," said Barcal, who finished fourth at the 2016 USBC Senior Queens. "I started to get lined up and it helped that my teammates were playing in a similar area, because I think that opened the lanes up a little for me. I tugged the final shot a little and thought it was going to go high and leave a 4 pin or worse."

Barcal made a second run at perfection during her doubles set June 12, rolling 299 in her second game on the way to a 787 set. She started doubles with 245 and finished the block with 243.

She left a 3 pin on her final delivery to join Kristin Nieter of Homewood, Illinois, and Karsyn Lukosius of Brick, New Jersey, in rolling 299s at the 2021 Women's Championships.

"I was quite nervous," said Barcal, who finished her 2021 appearance with 576 in singles for a 2,087 all-events total, which places her in the top 20 of Diamond All-Events. "I usually try not to look at my score, but on the final shot it kind of hit me that I could do this again. I tugged it again, but even farther and left a 3 pin."

If she would have connected for a second perfect game, she would have joined USBC and Professional Women's Bowling Association Hall of Famer Jeanne Naccarato of Tacoma, Washington, as the only bowlers in the event with multiple 300 games, and Barcal would have become the first to roll two during the same tournament.

Barcal is the first bowler at the Women's Championships to roll both a 300 and 299 on the championship lanes.

"I'm honored that I can say I'm one of 34 people who have accomplished this," Barcal said. "It's right up there with my first one, which I bowled during a state tournament in Michigan. My father was able to watch my second 300, and that was pretty cool, but as far as venues and places to bowl one at, I think this is probably the pinnacle. It was a great experience, and I don't know if I can ever top it. I'm still floating around on a cloud."