Mills (right), a 26-year-old right-hander, converted the 1-2-6-10 washout to secure a tie for the lead in Regular Doubles with a 1,341 total April 11 at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada.
Mills actually thought the doubles mark set March 15 by Matthew Zitnik of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, and Jason Bowles of Euclid, Ohio, was about 20 pins higher, so he assumed the cheers that followed his conversion simply were in recognition of his spare-shooting prowess.
He had no idea they’d tied for the lead or how crucial his strike to start the 10th frame ended up being. He finished with games of 227, 223 and 234 for a 684 series, while Heilman added 244, 186 and 227 for a 657 set.
“We got off to a great start and really wanted to keep that momentum going,” said Heilman, a 33-year-old right-hander who made his 13th consecutive USBC Open Championships appearance.
“We worked as a team and tried to make the right moves through the transition. Andy had no idea what he needed, but we’re glad it worked out. Year in and year out, one of us bowls well, and it seems to alternate, so it’s nice we were finally able to both bowl well at the same time.”
Mills turned in a consistent performance this year at the NBS, adding 682 in team and 621 in singles to finish his eighth tournament appearance with a 1,987 all-events total. Heilman finished with 1,892.
Jim Grzesiak (pictured left) of Saginaw, Michigan, and Frankie May Jr. of Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, became the newest members of the 50-Year Club at the USBC Open Championships.
Grzesiak made his 50th tournament appearance April 5-6, while May made his milestone march down Center Aisle at the National Bowling Stadium on April 11.
Grzesiak’s debut at the Open Championships came at the 1965 event in St. Paul, Minnesota. He then missed two tournaments while serving in the U.S. Navy and now has been to every event since 1968.
The annual trip to the tournament is a family affair, as Grzesiak’s team includes his brother Tom, sons Mark and Adam and nephew Brian. Together, they now have combined for 139 appearances on the championship lanes.
Even the team’s name, Tony’s Bar, is family-oriented and honors Grzesiak’s uncle, a staple in the Saginaw bowling community, who died in 1998.
May (right) has been a familiar face at the Open Championships since opening his own on-site vendor booth at the 1996 event in Salt Lake City, but his legacy on the tournament lanes goes back decades further to the 1961 Open Championships in Detroit, where he made his competitive debut.
The 73-year-old right-hander permanently etched his name into tournament history when he marched down Center Aisle for the 50th time.
“I don’t think anybody ever realizes they’re going to make 50 years at this particular event,” said May, the fifth of 19 bowlers scheduled to reach the milestone in 2016. “And to have this as my 20th anniversary managing and owning the booth, in and of itself, is special. It’s unreal.”
On April 8, Nolan Harlamert of Dayton, Ohio, added his name to the list of bowlers who have made 55 tournament appearances, and Bob Martin of San Antonio followed suit on April 11.
There will be one BowlTV broadcast this week from the USBC Open Championships as defending Regular Team champion Team NABR of West Henrietta, New York, visits Reno to put the team title on the line.
The group includes Adam Barta, Scott Pohl, Brian Waliczek, 2007 Regular All-Events champion Mike Rose Jr. and Rob Gotchall. They claimed the crown last year in El Paso, Texas, with a 3,368 total at the El Paso Convention Center.
Team NABR will hit the lanes at the NBS on April 18 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
The 50-Year Club will get two additional members this week as Wilfred Toby of Tioga, Pennsylvania, and Jules Falcone of Media, Pennsylvania, make their way to The Biggest Little City in the World on April 13 and April 19, respectively.
For more information on the Open Championships, click here.
Defending Team All-Events champion Junior Team USA Support 1 makes run
First-timer David Hjelm leads two events
Ohio bowler Jack Glick celebrates 50 years
Sylvester Thiel ties participation record with 71st appearance
Ohio teammates lead every event at USBC Open Championships
2016 USBC Open Championships gets going in Reno
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, Wickliffe Lanes, Mentor, Ohio, 3,202. 3, The Warner Brothas, Louisville, Ky., 3,184. 4, Junior Team USA Support 1, Mansfield, Texas, 3,167. 5, Eagle Taxidermy, Vancouver, Wash., 3,155. 6, Towne & Country Lanes 1, Hartland, Wis., 3,135. 7, Over the Hill, Fort Worth, Texas, 3,132. 8, 5 ICT Bowlers, Johnston, Iowa, 3,128. 9, ND Roto Grip, Mandan, N.D., 3,072. 10(tie), GodblesstheUSA, Louisville, Ky., and Taylorville Bowling Foundation, Taylorville, Ill., 3,071.
1(tie), Matthew Zitnik, Mayfield Heights, Ohio/Jason Bowles, Euclid, Ohio, and Nick Heilman/Andy Mills, La Crosse, Wis., 1,341. 3, Kevin Tatrow, Bel Aire, Kan./Will Barnes, Austin, Texas, 1,335. 4, Scott Honeysett/Michael Bradfield, Lansing, Mich., 1,334. 5, Jay Nephew, Houston/Robert Raymond, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,328. 6, Ricky Boyters/Michael Smith, Newport News, Va., 1,328. 7, Donnie Allen III, Vancouver, Wash./Lucas Stone, Beaverton, Ore., 1,320. 8, Steven Taylor, Deer Creek, Ill./Brian Davis Sr., Peoria, Ill., 1,314. 9, Thomas Barnwell/Travis Anderson, Peoria, Ill., 1,313. 10, Dan Peters/Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,306.
1, Robert J. Bures, Painesville, Ohio, 815. 2, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 785. 3, Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill., 779. 4, Will Barnes, Austin, Texas, 764. 5, Tyler Wilds, Three Rivers, Mich., 759. 6, Jim Russell, Orangevale, Calif., 749. 7, Matthew Tuckfield, Orlando, Fla., 745. 8, Jerry Rapp, Grand Island, Neb., 744. 9, Jerad Schmitt, Fargo, N.D., 729. 10, Steve Novak, Bay City, Mich., 719.
1, Robert J. Bures, Painesville, Ohio, 2,122. 2, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 2,060. 3, Tim Hill, Lincoln, Calif., 2,058. 4, Jeffrey Grego, Fort Wayne, Ind., 2,056. 5, Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill., 2,055. 6, Jason Bowles, Euclid, Ohio, 2,042. 7, Scott Endersbe, Willmar, Minn., 2,031. 8, Mason Brantley, Detroit, 2,028. 9, Will Barnes, Austin, Texas, 2,023. 10, Tyler Wilds, Three Rivers, Mich., 2,021.
1, Junior Team USA Support 1 (Matthew Tuckfield, Anthony LaCaze, Steve Novak, Jeffrey Mersch, Erik Vermilyea), Eagan, Minn., 9,672. 2, Wickliffe Lanes, Mentor, Ohio, 9,598. 3, 5 ICT Bowlers, Johnston, Iowa, 9,488. 4 (tie), ND Roto Grip, Mandan, N.D., and Maxxx Revs Pro Shop, Peoria Heights, Ill., 9,461. 6, The Warner Brothas, Louisville, Ky., 9,348. 7, Over The Hill, Fort Worth, Texas, 9,334. 8, Towne & Country Lanes 1, Hartland, Wis., 9,330. 9, HYBC, Rancho Cordova, Calif., 9,266. 10, Eagle Taxidermy, Vancouver, Wash., 9,254.
Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfall
1, T-Rays (Jim Ryan, Kevin O’Meara, Michael Kvislen, Terry Wibstad, Terry Gruchalla), Jamestown, N.D., 2,607. 2, Plato Woodwork 1, Gaylord, Minn., 2,531. 3, Malad Gun Club, Malad City, Idaho, 2,529. 4, Beloit Bombers, Beloit, Kan., 2,511. 5, Oakridge Farms, Frazee, Minn., 2,509. 6, Burnside Lobster Farms, New Effington, S.D., 2,503. 7, Rails Bar and Grill, Eagle Grove, Iowa, 2,499. 8, Shoreline Shredders, Battle Lake, Minn., 2,491. 9, Russell Ho Ohana 2, Honolulu, 2,483. 10, First Northern Bank, Buffalo, Wyo., 2,474.
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, Randy Robinson/Crystal Forkner, Higginsville, Mo., 1,118. 4, Kathy Yourkavitch/Jerome Jackson, Kutztown, Penn., 1,117. 5, Mandy Quaas, Hutchinson, Minn./Jeremy Quaas, New Hope, Minn., 1,111. 6, Mitchell Martin/Julie Martin, Buchanan, Mich., 1,104. 7, Chris Witthus/Robert Kaytor, Glencoe, Minn., 1,096. 8, Dee Maccario, Farmington, Conn./Mark Baranski, Newington, Conn., 1,094. 9, Christopher Petrie, Joshua Tree, Calif./Keith Petrie, Long Prairie, Minn., 1, 091. 10, Jim Hadd/Fred Hadd, Rapid City, S.D., 1,089.
1, David Kettell, Lindenhurst, N.Y., 644. 2, Allan Johnson, Hawley, Minn., 627. 3, Troy Schultz, Clarion, Iowa, 602. 4, Debra Barmore, Omaha, Neb., 599. 5, Greg Kokanour, Highland, Calif., 595. 6, Roger Porto, Kerman, Calif., 590. 7, Maniram Basdeo, Bronx, N.Y., 588. 8(tie) David Hjelm, Wheaton, Minn., and Wayne Sakai, Lodi, Calif., 587. 10, Christopher Petrie, Joshua Tree, Calif., 585.
1, David Hjelm, Wheaton, Minn., 1,713. 2, Eric Douglass, Goldfield, Iowa, 1,671. 3, David Kettell, Lindenhurst, N.Y., 1,661. 4, Michael Booker, Eagle Bend, Minn., 1,657. 5, Gary Sundby Jr., Dalton, Minn., 1,653. 6, Roger Porto, Kerman, Calif., 1,634. 7, Troy Schultz, Clarion, Iowa, 1,631. 8, Greg Mickelson, Frazee, Minn., 1,627. 9, Cheryl Newman, Bedford, Texas, 1,624. 10, Greg Kokanour, Highland, Calif., 1,612.
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