Bowling and local dignitaries joined together Saturday at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, to help the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Women’s Championships
officially get underway.
The 99th edition of the world’s largest participatory sporting event for women is making its 11th trip to The Biggest Little City in the World and eighth visit to the famed NBS.
The tournament kicked off Thursday, but Saturday’s competitors and guests got to be part of the festive and formal opening ceremony. The 74-day event will run until July 1.
Bowlers on the 65-team squad Saturday were welcomed with warm wishes from Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Phil DeLone, Chair of the Washoe County Commission Marsha Berkbigler, City of Reno councilwoman Jenny Brekhus and USBC President Frank Wilkinson and treated to a performance from the Rossi Brothers, who perform as part of Cirque Paris, which currently is showing at the nearby Eldorado Hotel and Casino.
After the ceremonial ribbon cutting (featured photo), a pair of bowlers from each team participated in the Mass Ball Shot Ceremony, where one bowler on each lane rolled a ball at the same time.
While the ceremony marked the celebratory start of the 2018 event, several bowlers already have claimed their spots at the top of the leaderboard, setting the bar for thousands of competitors from all 50 states and several foreign countries.
Kimberly Kennedy (left) of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, left her name all over the Amethyst Division standings, taking the lead in doubles, singles and all-events, while the mother-daughter tandem of Kim Jung Shin and Kim Mi Young set the pace in Sapphire Doubles.
Kennedy, a 37-year-old right-hander, rolled sets of 512 in doubles, 486 in singles and 466 in team for a 1,464 all-events total. She and Manitowoc’s Gail Sheridan (405) lead Amethyst Doubles with 917.
Kennedy made her second Women’s Championships appearance this week, and though she felt she was getting into her own head during doubles and singles, she was able to make adjustments on the way to the top spot.
“I was constantly thinking about my footing,” Kennedy said. “It seemed to throw me off a couple of times.” Kennedy’s performance at the NBS already has served as encouragement to continue her young career at the Women’s Championships. “It hasn’t fully hit me yet,” Kennedy said. “It feels good.”
The Amethyst Division includes bowlers with entering averages of 130-144, and Amethyst Doubles features players with combined entering averages of 260-289.
In Sapphire Doubles, Mi Young (left), of Edmond, Oklahoma, turned in a consistent performance with games of 148, 192 and 168 for a 508 series, and Jung Shin (right), of Woodward, Oklahoma, added 159, 173 and 167 for 499 and a 1,007 total.
Jung Shin made her second Women’s Championships appearance, while Mi Young made her tournament debut this week in Reno. Like many first-time participants, Mi Young was impressed by the championship atmosphere found at the NBS.
“It was a little nerve-racking, but exciting,” said Mi Young, a 34-year-old right-hander. “I haven’t bowled with this many people before.”
Although the Kims were excited to find themselves at the top of the standings, the opportunity to spend time together was the most important part of the experience.
“To have this happen the first time we bowled together is a neat experience,” Mi Young said. “To bowl and travel with my mom always is a fun thing to do.”
Sapphire Doubles includes bowlers with combined entering averages of 290-319.
The 2018 Women’s Championships will feature more than 4,300 four-player teams and 17,000 total 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.
99th USBC Women’s Championships 2018 gets underway in Reno