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Defending champions Sparks, McNiel won’t repeat in 2016


Defending champions Ronnie Sparks Jr. of Redford, Michigan, and Matt McNiel of Minneapolis, returned to the USBC Open Championships to put their respective titles on the line this week at the National Bowling Stadium.

Sparks (pictured above), a 28-year-old right-hander and the 2015 Regular Singles winner (793), made his title defense April 29. After a 243 start, he had games of 217 and 204 for a 664 series, short of last year’s winning mark and this year’s leader, Robert J. Bures of Painesville, Ohio (815).

Sparks finished his eighth Open Championships appearance with a 1,810 all-events total, which included 577 in team and 569 in doubles.

McNiel (pictured above), the only bowler in 113 years of tournament history to win three all-events titles, struggled in his return, shooting 690 in singles, 650 in team and 649 in doubles for a 1,989 total May 1. Bures also leads Regular All-Events this year with 2,122.

Though McNiel’s personal performance didn’t land him in the top 10 individually, he did help Linds Lakers 1 of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, into fifth place in Regular Team with 3,187 and fifth place in Team All-Events with 9,582.

The 30-year-old left-hander was joined by Ryan Burr (1,995), USBC Hall of Famer Sam Lantto (1,950), Charles Vashaw (1,904) and 43-time participant John Eiss (1,744).


Frank Clay joins 100,000-Pin Club at 2016 USBC Open Championships

Frank Clay of Crystal Lake, Illinois, reached celebrity status during his team event at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, on April 30, and the newest member of the 100,000-Pin Club at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships spent time afterward shaking hands and signing autographs.

The 85-year-old right-hander (pictured with his wife, Janet), making his 62nd consecutive tournament appearance, needed 385 pins to become the 18th bowler in 113 years of USBC Open Championships history to reach the milestone. He reached the magic number with a nine-count in the seventh frame of his third game.

“This is a dream come true, and something that became my goal after my 50th tournament,” said Clay, who made his Open Championships debut at the 1955 event in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the hometown of the first member of the 100,000-Pin Club, USBC Hall of Famer Bill Doehrman. “When I first started bowling in this 62 years ago, I never imagined I’d be getting something like this.”

Clay finished with 468 in team, 448 in doubles and 422 in singles for a 1,338 all-events total. In his career, he has knocked down 100,953 pins for a career average of 180.9. USBC Hall of Famer Bill Lillard Sr. of Houston tops the all-time pinfall list with 124,087.


Canadian bowler rolls 300 game at National Bowling Stadium

Matt Dammann (pictured above) of Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada, a 28-year-old right-hander, rolled the second 300 of the 2016 USBC Open Championships.

Dammann’s perfect game April 30 came after games of 246 and 195, and his 741 singles series is just outside the top 10 in Regular Singles. Robert J. Bures of Painesville, Ohio, leads with 815, while Tim Janz of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, used the year’s only other 300 to break into the top five with a 770 series April 15.

Dammann added a 612 series in team and 556 in doubles and finished his fourth tournament appearance with a 1,909 all-events total. He joins the short list of Canadian bowlers who have rolled perfect games at the Open Championships: Rick Rhyno (1990), Ralph DiDomenico (1997), Stephen Gilliam (2000), Joe Ciach (2009), Mark Buffa (2013) and Graham Fach (2014).

A look ahead

2016OCLogo2.jpgRobert Teeters of Lapel, Indiana, is scheduled to reach two milestones this week at the National Bowling Stadium.

On May 7 at 8 p.m. Eastern, Teeters will become the 21st bowler in USBC Open Championships history to reach 60 years of participation, and he enters the 2016 tournament just 1,216 pins shy of becoming the 19th member of the 100,000-Pin Club.

Mike Schmid of Arden Hills, Minnesota, a hard-working team captain at the Open Championships, will be recognized May 7 for his 55th appearance on the championship lanes.

There also will be one BowlTV broadcast from the NBS as Team USA member and Professional Women’s Bowling Association standout Bryanna Cotè of Red Rock, Arizona, will hit the lanes for her team event May 10 at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.

For more information on the Open Championships, click here.

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2016 USBC Open Championships – Regular Division

Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfall

1, Who’s Eddie Byrd? (Stefanie Johnson, Eddie Byrd, James Stephens, Lynda Barnes, Brett Sterley), Fort Worth, Texas, 3,241. 2, S&B Pro Shop 1, Clinton Township, Mich., 3,216. 3, Wickliffe Lanes, Mentor, Ohio, 3,202. 4, Logo Infusion Original, Las Vegas, 3,200. 5, Linds Lakers 1, Brooklyn Park, Minn., 3,187. 6, The Warner Brothas, Louisville, Ky., 3,184. 7, Visionary 1, Arden Hills, Minn., 3,168. 8, Junior Team USA Support 1, Eagan, Minn., 3,167. 9, Eagle Taxidermy, Vancouver, Wash., 3,155. 10, Huskers 1, Madison, Wis., 3,136.

1(tie), Matthew Zitnik, Mayfield Heights, Ohio/Jason Bowles, Euclid, Ohio, and Nick Heilman/Andy Mills, La Crosse, Wis., 1,341. 3, David Ewald, Macomb, Mich./Nicholas Wissinger, Clinton Township, Mich., 1,337. 4, Kevin Tatrow, Bel Aire, Kan./Will Barnes, Austin, Texas, 1,335. 5, Scott Honeysett/Michael Bradfield, Lansing, Mich., 1,334. 6, Samuel Lantto, Eden Prairie, Minn./Todd Savoy, Superior, Wis., 1,330, 7(tie), Jay Nephew, Houston/Robert Raymond, Pflugerville, Texas, and Jonathan Wilbur, North Clarendon, Vt./Todd Lathrop, Colchester, Conn., 1,328. 9(tie), Scott Pohl, Burnsville, Minn./Mike Rose Jr., West Henrietta, N.Y., and Ricky Boyters/Michael Smith, Newport News, Va., 1,326.

1, Robert J. Bures, Painesville, Ohio, 815. 2, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 785. 3, Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill., 779. 4, Tim Janz, Beaver Dam, Wis., 770. 5, Will Barnes, Austin, Texas, 764. 6, Tyler Wilds, Three Rivers, Mich., 759. 7(tie), Joe Massey, Flora, Ind., and David Bordson, St. Paul, Minn., 757. 9, Brian Hayes, Lakewood, Colo., 756. 10, Jim Russell, Orangevale, Calif., 749.

1, Robert J. Bures, Painesville, Ohio, 2,122. 2, Joe Massey, Flora, Ind., 2,086. 3, Justin Crumley, Washington, Mo., 2,075. 4, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 2,060. 5, Tim Hill, Lincoln, Calif., 2,058. 6, Jeffrey Grego, Fort Wayne, Ind., 2,056. 7, Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill., 2,055. 8, Jason Bowles, Euclid, Ohio, 2,042. 9, Michael Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 2,037. 10, Scott Endersbe, Willmar, Minn., 2,031.

Team All-Events
1, Junior Team USA Support 1 (Matthew Tuckfield, Anthony LaCaze, Steve Novak, Jeffrey Mersch, Erik Vermilyea), Eagan, Minn., 9,672. 2, Crankers Arn’t Us, Aurora, Colo., 9,599. 3, Wickliffe Lanes, Mentor, Ohio, 9,598. 4, S&B Pro Shop 1, Clinton Township, Mich., 9,587. 5,
Linds Lakers 1, Brooklyn Park, Minn., 9,582. 6, Team NABR, West Henrietta, N.Y., 9,525. 7, 5 ICT Bowlers, Johnston, Iowa, 9,488. 8, Visionary 1, Arden Hills, Minn., 9,464. 9(tie), ND Roto Grip, Mandan, N.D., and Maxxx Revs Pro Shop, Peoria Heights, Ill., 9,461.

2016 USBC Open Championships – Classified Division

Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfall

1, Yeah Spare IV (Tristan Bannister, Kevin Lin, Matthew Lopes, Douglas Robertson, Ben Robertson), Sacramento, Calif., 2,656. 2, T-Rays, Jamestown, N.D., 2,607. 3, Scotty’s 3, Alexandria, Minn., 2,570. 4, Yeah Spare III, Sacramento, Calif., 2,555. 5, Plato Woodwork 1, Gaylord, Minn., 2,531. 6, Malad Gun Club, Malad City, Idaho, 2,529. 7, Nelson Cartage 1, Downers Grove, Ill., 2,523. 8, Ohio Blasting, Akron, OH, 2,515. 9, Beloit Bombers, Beloit, Kan., 2,511. 10, Oakridge Farms, Frazee, Minn., 2,509.

1, David Hjelm, Wheaton, Minn./Gary Sundby Jr., Dalton, Minn., 1,155. 2, Eric Douglass, Goldfield, Iowa/Mike Thielen, Eagle Grove, Iowa, 1,147. 3, Cassandra Tatum, Neptune, N.J./David Jenkins III, Tinton Falls, N.J., 1,119. 4, Randy Robinson/Crystal Forkner, Higginsville, Mo., 1,118. 5, Kathy Yourkavitch/Jerome Jackson, Kutztown, Penn., 1,117. 6(tie), Nicholas Razink, Benson, Minn./Tyler Grabow, Twin Brooks, S.D., and Mandy Quaas, Hutchinson, Minn./Jeremy Quaas, New Hope, Minn., 1,111. 8, Mitchell Martin/Julie Martin, Buchanan, Mich., 1,104. 9, Chris Witthus/Robert Kaytor, Glencoe, Minn., 1,096. 10, Dee Maccario, Farmington, Conn./Mark Baranski, Newington, Conn., 1,094.

1, David Kettell, Lindenhurst, N.Y., 644. 2, Allan Johnson, Hawley, Minn., 627. 3, Matt Tschann, Paynesville, Minn., 626. 4, Joseph Rhinehart, Albany, Ore., 613. 5(tie), Trudy Koberlein, Georgetown, Texas, and Audra Banko, Riverside, Calif., 605. 7(tie), Troy Schultz, Clarion, Iowa, and Michael Hanna, Lafayette, Ind., 602. 9, Debra Barmore, Omaha, Neb., 599. 10, Rick Kuhnel, Eureka, California, 596.

1, Trudy Koberlein, Georgetown, Texas, 1,754. 2, Joseph Rhinehart, Albany, Ore., 1,735. 3, Bryan Herald, Chapman, Neb., 1,728. 4(tie), David Hjelm, Wheaton, Minn., and Robert Benjamin, Downers Grove, Ill., 1,713. 6, John McReady, Woodridge, Ill., 1,708. 7, George Kolstad, West St. Paul, Minn., 1,700. 8, Kevin Kwan, Long Beach, Calif., 1,695. 9, Jeffrey Hull, Akron, Ohio, 1,682. 10, Michael Meeks, Akron, Ohio, 1,681.

Herbert Bickel

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