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99th USBC Women’s Championships 2018 gets underway in Reno

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The 99th edition of the United States Bowling Congress Women’s Championships got underway Thursday as the first of more than 4,300 teams made their way to the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada.

The 74-day event will run in Reno through July 1, and the tournament’s opening ceremony will take place Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Alissa Ebneter (featured photo) of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, was part of 48-team squad on the lanes Thursday, and the 31-year-old right-hander helped usher in the new event as she was awarded a championship trophy for winning the Topaz Singles title at the 2017 USBC Women’s Championships in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Ebneter won the title in her tournament debut with games of 163, 174 and 181 for a 518 series. Topaz Singles includes bowlers with entering averages of 129 and below.

Ebneter made the trip to Baton Rouge after a member of her mother-in-law’s team couldn’t attend. She calls herself an average bowler and enjoys the social aspect and time with her family.

“Honestly, I came into this not really knowing what to expect,” Ebneter said. “Sometimes, I’m just happy to hit the pins.”

After her trip to Baton Rouge, she kept an eye on the tournament’s leaderboard from time to time to see if her score still was at the top of the standings, but her outlook didn’t change after the win. She’s content with simply enjoying her time on the lanes.

Ebneter did admit to enjoying some of the perks of returning to the event as a defending champion, however, which included getting to see her photo on the tournament’s champion wall.

“If I can do it, anybody honestly can,” Ebneter said. “But, it was really fun to see myself on the wall.”

Ebneter will return to the National Bowling Stadium on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern, looking to defend her title.

The 2018 Women’s Championships marks the event’s 11th trip to Reno and eighth visit to the National Bowling Stadium.

The tournament will feature more than 17,000 bowlers competing in four average-based divisions in team competition and six divisions in doubles, singles and all-events.

The Women’s Championships will step aside in May to welcome the USBC Queens, a major championship on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour, to the 78-lane venue. The Queens will take place May 16-22 and conclude with a live televised broadcast on May 22 at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network.

Click here for more information on the USBC Women’s Championships.

Herbert Bickel

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