The 23-year-old right-hander rolled games of 236, 247, 236, 259 and 267 at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, for a 1,245 total.
The 2018 USBC Queens, the first major on the 2018 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour schedule, will run through May 22 at the famed 78-lane venue, with the stepladder finals being broadcast live on CBS Sports Network on May 22 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Kovalova (featured photo) started the 2018 PWBA Tour season with a solid start at the PWBA Las Vegas Open in April, finishing 11th overall.
She missed the next two stops, however, as she finished her degree in art and illustration at Wichita State.
“After bowling the first stop, I had my final exams and graduation,” said Kovalova, a four-time National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association All-American. “Since my parents came up, I was able to practice all of last week before getting ready to travel. I also worked on some visualizations and exercises to make sure my game was sharp.”
“I didn’t want to have any expectations on how it would play because you never know when it might go wrong,” said Kovalova, who finished tied for ninth place at the 2017 Queens in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“I tried to come out here with a clear mind and not look at it as a burn squad, but rather as just a slightly different pattern. I was able to see what the lanes were showing me and tried to play it and follow the transition and moves, and it worked.”
Sweden’s Cajsa Wegner (left) was second for the day with 1,218, while Team USA’s Shannon O’Keefe (right) of O’Fallon, Illinois, was third with 1,210. A pair of past Queens champions, Diandra Asbaty (2012) of Chicago and Kelly Kulick (2007, 2010) of Union, New Jersey, rounded out the top five with scores of 1,200 and 1,187, respectively.
Zavjalova, a two-time Queens champion, is guaranteed the No. 64 spot in the double-elimination match-play bracket at Queens, but bowling qualifying will give her a chance to improve her seeding.
Competition will resume Friday at noon Eastern with the second round of qualifying. All bowlers will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days to determine the 63 bowlers joining Zavjalova in match play.
The match-play bracket will feature three-game matches with total pinfall determining who advances. The five players who make their way through the bracket will advance to the stepladder finals and have the chance to take home the top prize of $20,000.
All rounds of competition leading up to the stepladder finals will be broadcast on Xtra Frame, the exclusive online bowling channel for the Professional Bowlers Association. For subscription and schedule information click here.
For more information on the USBC Queens, click here.
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2018 PWBA Tour Schedule & Champions
Top 100 with position, hometown and 5-game total; (n) denotes non-member.
For complete standings, click here
1, Daria Kovalova, Ukraine, 1,245. 2, Cajsa Wegner, Sweden, 1,218. 3, Shannon O’Keefe, O’Fallon, Ill., 1,210. 4, Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 1,200. 5, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 1,187. 6(tie), Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., and Giselle Poss, Nashville, Tenn., 1,166.
8, Aseret Zetter, Mexico, 1,162. 9, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 1,160. 10, Rocio Restrepo, Louisville, Ohio, 1,158. 11, Jenny Wegner, Sweden, 1,152. 12, Adriana Perez (n), Mexico, 1,144.
13(tie), Elysia Current, Ephrata, Pa., Julia Bond (n), Aurora, Ill., and Haley Richard, Tipton, Mich., 1,142. 16, Sandra Andersson, Sweden, 1,134. 17, Sierra Kanemoto (n), Riverside, Ohio, 1,132. 18, Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 1,125.
19, Natalie Goodman, O’Fallon, Ill., 1,121. 20, Victoria Johansson (n), Sweden, 1,118. 21, Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, 1,115. 22, Christina Kinney (n), Las Vegas, 1,113. 23(tie), Liz Johnson, Palatine, Ill., and Sandra Gongora, Mexico, 1,110.
25, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 1,109. 26, Bryanna Cote, Red Rock, Ariz., 1,108. 27, Jordan Richard, Tipton, Mich., 1,105. 28, Taylor Bulthuis (n), Coral Springs, Fla., 1,100. 29, Estefania Cobo (n), Puerto Rico, 1,099. 30, Lauren Pate (n), Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 1,097.
31(tie), Maria Jose Rodriguez, Colombia, and Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 1,085. 33(tie), Karen Barcal, Albuquerque, N.M., and Kayla Bandy, Salisbury, Md., 1,083. 35, Dena Buxton, Australia, 1,079. 36, Kristie Leong (n), Daly City, Calif., 1,078.
37(tie), Tish Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Josie Barnes, Nashville, Tenn., 1,075. 39, Trista Kimmes, Eagan, Minn., 1,074. 40(tie), Jennifer Russo (n), Monmouth Junction, N.J., Mandy Etem (n), Cave Creek, Ariz., and Katie Ann Sopp (n), White Bear Lake, Minn., 1,073.
43, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 1,071. 44, Britney Brown (n), Chicago, 1,070. 45(tie), Samantha Kelly, Waukesha, Wis., Annie Thorell, Sweden, and Jackie Carbonetto, Clarksville, Tenn., 1,068. 48(tie), Tracie Ball (n), Las Vegas, and Katie Zwiefelhofer, Racine, Wis., 1,066.
50, Tina Williams (n), Phoenix, 1,065. 51(tie), Stephanie Martins, Brazil, and Erin McCarthy, Omaha, Neb., 1,064. 53, Daria Pajak, Poland, 1,061. 54, Nicole Bower (n), Camp Hill, Pa., 1,060.
55, Sydney Brummett, Wichita, Kan., 1,059. 56, Birgit Poppler, Germany, 1,055. 57, Anneli Blomqvist (n), Sweden, 1,053. 58, Lilia Robles, Mexico, 1,052. 59(tie), Emily Peterson (n), West Fargo, N.D., and Anna Andersson (n), Sweden, 1,051.
61(tie), Laura Plazas, Colombia, and Stephanie Casey (n), Yonkers, N.Y., 1,050. 63(tie), Brenda Padilla, Mansfield, Texas, and Verity Crawley, England, 1,048. 65, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 1,047. 66(tie), Jen Higgins, Westerville, Ohio, and Sarah Wille, Hoffman Estates, Ill., 1,044.
68(tie), Jennifer King, Cold Spring, Ky., and Rebecca Broerman (n), Altoona, Iowa, 1,042. 70, Nicole Wilson (n), Livonia, Mich., 1,039. 71, Amanda Vermilyea (n), Apple Valley, Minn., 1,037. 72(tie), Amber Vega, Orangevale, Calif., and Sharon Limansantoso (n), Indonesia, 1,034.
74, Summer Jasmin, Beckley, W.Va., 1,033. 75, Shannon Sellens (n), Copiague, N.Y., 1,030. 76(tie), Lindsay Boomershine, Perry, Utah, and Debbie Ayers, La Mesa, Calif., 1,029. 78, Elise Bolton, Merritt Island, Fla., 1,026.
79(tie), Nina Flack, Sweden, and Jessica Mellott, Lauderhill, Fla., 1,024. 81(tie), Brandi Branka, Fairview Heights, Ill., Karen Marcano, Venezuela, and Megan Kelly, Dayton, Ohio, 1,021. 84(tie), Lorie Schmidt (n), Henderson, Nev., Tannya Lopez, Mexico, and Shawna Strause (n), Tucson, Ariz., 1,019.
87, Juliana Franco, Colombia, 1,018. 88, Blair Blumenscheid (n), Columbus, Ohio, 1,016. 89(tie), Aldila Indryati (n), Indonesia, and Maribel Orozco (n), Mexico, 1,015.
91, Briana Zabierek (n), Lockport, Ill., 1,013. 92(tie), Brandi Calderon (n), Mesa, Ariz., and Brooke Bower, Camp Hill, Pa., 1,012. 94, Tannya Roumimper, Indonesia, 1,011. 95, Natalie Dutton (n), Jenks, Okla., 1,010. 96, Ida Andersson, Sweden, 1,009.
97(tie), Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., and Brianna Andrew (n), Orland Park, Ill., 1,008. 99, Kelly McCutcheon, Middletown, Pa., 1,007. 100(tie), Olivia Sandham, Saint Joseph, Mo., and Novie Phang (n), Indonesia, 1,006.