Mini Tvaska ties USBC Women's Championships record with 61st appearance


    United States

    Northcross Lanes and AMF Carolina Lanes in Charlotte, NC (April 12 - July 2, 2007)

    2007USBCWCEMiniTvaska.jpg The timing could not have been better. As 89-year-old Mini Tvaska of St. Petersburg, Fla., was telling reporters how she was once a high school cheerleader, the public address announcer called her name and told a cheering, admiring crowd at the 2007 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships that Tvaska was tying the record of 61 years of participation at the championships. This former cheerleader was now the new, reigning queen.

    Officially tying the mark first set by Chicago's Mary Covell in 1992, Tvaska bowled three games with her Seminole, Fla., team, the Magical Five at Northcross Lanes.

    Tvaska hopes to attend the 2008 Women's Championships in Detroit and literally, would become the homecoming queen, as she would be returning very near her Michigan hometown to set the new mark at 62 years of participation.

    A native of Dearborn, Mich., Tvaska told reporters and friends both the record and returning home to the Detroit area was important to her. She was quick to add, just being able to make it to this year's tournament, was first and foremost on her mind.

    "I have had a very tough year," Tvaska said. "I fell earlier this year and have only been able to bowl one game since this winter. Just being here is such a thrill for me, my teammates, family and friends."

    Tvaska, injured in a fall that led to other medical complications, was bedridden for months and just a few weeks ago, a trip to the championships looked to be very much in jeopardy. "I hate that my bowling is not that good any more," Tvaska said. "I am doing it for my girls," a phrase she uses often in describing her feelings about teammates and fellow competitors.

    A badly injured shoulder needed months of rest and rehabilitation and yet, Tvaska, with more of that cheerleader spirit, not only made the journey and tied the record, showed everyone, including herself, what champions were made of.

    Tvaska took up the sport of bowling while in her 20s. She competed in her first Women's Championships in 1947 in Grand Rapids, Mich. She has not slowed down since.

    "I have always loved the competition and the socializing is so important too." Tvaska said.

    Bowling with Tvaska was her niece, Nancy Nelson of Detroit. Nelson said everyone who gets to know her aunt quickly becomes a part of what she liked to call the Mini Tvaska Fan Club.

    "We are just glad she is here and on the mend." Nelson said. "For her to be competing after the accident she had and all the illness that followed is just a tribute to her determination and spunk."

    Failing eyesight has made seeing her marks or the pins very difficult. Nelson, teammates and even fellow competitors bowling alongside Tvaska, assisted her with picking up her ball. "My girls all look out for me and I appreciate them so much," Tvaska said.

    Now using an eight-pound ball, down from the sixteen pound ball she rolled in her prime, Tvaska said there is good reason for the lighter weight. "I am afraid I'll drop this thing on my foot," Tvaska joked. "I still have my sixteen pound ball at home. I have kept that and all my medals, awards, pins, magazine and newspaper articles. They remind me of so many great times."

    Seemingly embarrassed by the growing amount of media attention and fan admiration, Tvaska, always the competitor, said getting her health back on track was crucial to future championships. "Somehow I have got to get a lot stronger if I want to make it to Detroit next year," Tvaska said.

    Following her last game, Tvaska, reflecting on her life and lifetime of bowling said she was proud of her accomplishments along the way.

    "How nice it has been to have such a wonderful life," Tvaska said. "This is my proudest moment, being here today and tying this record."

    As well-wishers and admirers came with gifts in hands and photographs for her to autograph, there was no doubt that Tvaska, a diminutive 4 feet 8 inches tall and 99 pounds, was the biggest name and person on this day.

    Scheduled to bowl the next day in doubles and singles competition, Tvaska admitted she did not know if she would be able to.

    "Even if I don't bowl tomorrow, I will be there cheering my girls on," Tvaska said. "I just wish I could jump and shout."

    On this day, all those around Mini Tvaska were doing that for her.

    The Women's Championships, which is the largest participatory sporting event in the world for women, will continue through July 2. Northcross Lanes hosts the team event while doubles and singles competition takes place at AMF Carolina Lanes in Matthews, N.C.

    The USBC Women's Championships is sponsored by Eldorado, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus Hotel/Casinos in Reno, Nev., as well as Kegel, the official lane maintenance provider.

    Top five division leaders with hometowns and pinfall:


    Team (946 average and over)
    1, Ebonite Bowlers Map (Shannon Pluhowsky, Lauren Takahashi, Sandra Terrell, Kim Terrell, Leanne Barrette), Roseville, Calif., 3,210. 2, Bowlers Choice Pro Shop, Buffalo, N.Y., 3,165. 3, U-Can Bowl 2, Milwaukie, Ore., 3,153. 4, Together Once Again, North Richland Hills, Texas, 3,136. 5, Four Friends and the Sub, Colorado Springs, Colo., 3,107.

    Doubles (379 average and over)
    1, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y./Susan Jeziorski-Smith, Buffalo, N.Y., 1,385. 2, Tiffany Stanbrough, Oklahoma City/Shannon Pluhowsky, Phoenix, 1,369. 3, Maxine Nable, Costa Mesa, Calif./Carol Gianotti, Henderson, Nev., 1,358. 4, Tammy Boomershine, Ogden, Utah/Cathy Dorin-Lizzi, Bay View, Ohio, 1,352. 5, Susanne Nawojski, Lancaster, N.Y./Michelle Sterner, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 1,328.

    Singles (190 average and over)
    1, Tiffany Stanbrough, Oklahoma City, 745. 2, Tish Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo., 739. 3, Shalin Zulkifli, Malaysia, 726. 4, Shari Wells, Louisville, Ky., 716. 5, Rachel Perez, Maumelle, Ariz., 715.

    All Events (190 average and over)
    1, Wendy Macpherson, Henderson, Nev., 2,161. 2, Leanne Barrette, Roseville, Calif., 2,093. 3, Tiffany Stanbrough, Oklahoma City, 2,087. 4, Lil Johnson, Lawton, Okla., 2,078. 5, Tammy Boomershine, Ogden, Utah, 2,031.


    Team (846-945 average)
    1, VA FL Friends (Dawna Taylor, Mildred Williams, Carole Staus, Marilyn Hatch, Rebecca Williamson), Palm Coast, Fla., 2,798. 2, It's All About Us, Melbourne, Fla., 2,777. 3, Rolling Along, Mundelein, Ill., 2,744. 4, Mix 'N' Match II, Orlando, Fla., 2,731. 5, Coral Lane II., Logan, Ohio, 2,699.

    Doubles (339-378 average)
    1, Kandace Little/Celeste Reynolds, Bronx, N.Y., 1,222. 2, Melanee Mangold, Stevensville, Mich./Jan Schaub, Eau Claire, Mich., 1,195. 3, Nanette Belk, Eagle River, Alaska/Carla Neffendorf, Wasilla, Alaska, 1,193. 4, Tracey Kellicutt, Lisle, N.Y./Rebecca Eynon, Newark Valley, N.Y., 1,178. 5, Diane King, Lancaster, Ohio/Darlene Travis, New Straitsville, Ohio, 1,158.

    Singles (170-189 average)
    1, Veronica Minotti, Oviedo, Fla., 676. 2, Kelly Scalici, Clinton Township, Mich., 652. 3, Melanie Kincaid, Spokane, Wash., 645. 4, Sue Boutote, Wilbraham, Mass., 638. 5, Kathy Liuzza, Rolling Meadows, Ill., 635.

    All Events (170-189 average)
    1, Veronica Minotti, Oviedo, Fla., 1,867. 2, Joyce McWhirter, Lake Station, Ind., 1,776. 3, June Dill, Bermuda, 1,775. 4, Carla Burke, Nevada City, Calif., 1,771. 5, Barbara Ott, Two Rivers, Wis., 1,745.


    Team (746-845 average)
    1, The Quack Pots (Denise Dorothy, Annie Gallant, AnnMarie Robidas, Renee Martel, Karen Cronk, Kim Tourtellot), Coventry, R.I., 2,703. 2, First Security Bank, Fosston, Minn., 2,608. 3, All Star Bowl, Indianapolis, Ind., 2,580. 4, Divine Divas, Stone Mountain, Ga., 2,569. 5, Country Gals, Great Mills, Md., 2,560.

    Doubles (299-338 average)
    1, Kristi McKenzie, Cottage Grove, Minn./Krystal Kumpula, Detroit Lakes, Minn., 1,137. 2, Donna Thomas/Deborah Holland, Villa Rica, Ga., 1,131. 3 (tie), Mindy Mills/Janette Halsne, Boone, Iowa, and Susan Hemmen, China Valley, Ariz./Wanda Tucker, Phoenix, Ariz., 1,117. 5, Traci Hall, Antioch, Tenn./Diana Benedict, Brentwood, Tenn., 1,109.

    Singles (150-169 average)
    1, Joan Wilson, Westland, Mich., 632. 2, Carol Smith, Siloam Springs, Ark., 611. 3, Kelly Wright, Mooresville, N.C., 607. 4, Cathy Matteson, Cimarron, Colo., 605. 5, Alicia Mapp, Bronx, N.Y., 599.

    All Events (150-169 average)
    1, Cindy Lange, Lima, Ohio, 1,748. 2, Rosa Thompson, Gaffney, S.C., 1,692. 3, Cindy Reasbeck, Clarendon, Pa., 1,686. 4, Ida Hydrick, North White Plains, N.Y., 1,682. 5, Barbara Reed, Frankfort, Ky., 1,675.


    Team (651-745 average)
    1, Margie's Munchkins II (Deb Cooper, Pam Noblitt, LuAnn Pelsor, Angela Crouch, MaryAnn Frakes), Columbus, Ind., 2,407. 2, Alley Cats Plus, Huntersville, N.C., 2,385. 3, Disney's Characters, Ronceverte, W.Va., 2,366. 4, Fort Knox Pin Pals #2, Radcliff, Ky., 2,359. 5, Beachy Mamas, Jacksonville, N.C., 2,353.

    Doubles (261-298 average)
    1, Sherri Thompson, Waldorf, Md./Lorraine Golson, Cheverly, Md., 1,065. 2, Alice Toivari, Virginia, Minn./Karla Schneider, Hackensack, Minn., 1,059. 3, Karen Luedtke, Watertown, Minn./Barbara Rolf, Hutchinson, Minn., 1,054. 43, Nora Heaton, Montpelier, Ohio/Mary Ruetz, Pioneer, Ohio, 1,050. 5, Mary Schwarz/Gwyn Doenz, Pine City, Minn., 1,044.

    Singles (131-149 average)
    1, Alice Smith, Prescott, Mich., 620. 2, Robbie Thompson, Harrisburg, N.C., 595. 3, Yvonne Madalena, Albuquerque, N.M., 593. 4, Mary Cortani, Gilroy, Calif., 586. 5, Kristen Porath, Windom, Minn., 584.

    All Events (131-149 average)
    1, Alice Smith, Prescott, Mich., 1,599. 2 (tie), Kathy Kean, Monument, Colo., and Gina Coles, Jackson, Tenn., 1,587. 4, Mary Cortani, Gilroy, Calif., 1,582. 5, Angela Wilhite, Princeton, Ind., 1,579.


    Team (650 average and under)
    1, St. Cloud Team #2 (Judy Christofferson, Wendy Theisen, Lisa Theisen, Ann Schnaith, Kari Brunskill), St. Cloud, Minn., 2,090. 2, Lady Bombers, Cleveland, Tenn., 2,070. 3, Mountain Peaches, Clarkesville, Ga., 2,044. 4, Boston Scientific, Maple Lake, Minn., 2,026. 5, Paradise Ladies, San Juan, P.R., 2,017.

    Doubles (260 average and under)
    1, Joyce Clarke, Stone Mountain, Ga./Paula Murray, Snellville, Ga., 939. 2, Marilyn Jordan, Boyd, Texas/Ann Schumann, Granbury, Texas, 936. 3, Elaine Tschirgi, Grand Prairie, Texas/Utona Brown, Arlington, Texas, 931. 4, Janet and Marie Sahli, Maple Lake, Minn., 916. 5, Michelle Gerlica, Taylor, Mich./Tara Cannatella, Brownstown Township, Mich., 911.

    Singles (130 average and under)
    1, Marilyn Jordan, Boyd, Texas, 554. 2, Florine Raybon, Picayune, Miss., 541. 3, Carol Miller, Johnstown, Ohio, 527. 4, Traci Smith, Blacksburg, S.C., 515. 5, Teresa Liming, Davison, Mich., 514.

    All Events (130 average and under)
    1, Marilyn Jordan, Boyd, Texas, 1,471. 2, Traci Smith, Blacksburg, S.C., 1,464. 3, Carol Miller, Johnstown, Ohio, 1,417. 4, Fay Augustine, Duluth, Minn., 1,398. 5, Sonya Harrison, Columbus, Ind., 1,394.