New leaders emerge in four events at USBC Women’s

RENO, Nev. – There was a fair share of excitement at the United States Bowling Congress Women’s Championships on Sunday as new leaders emerged in Diamond Doubles, Diamond Singles, Diamond All-Events and Ruby Singles.

New USBC Hall of Famer Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, New York, celebrated her 41st birthday at the National Bowling Stadium and teamed with Caryn Evitts of Waukegan, Illinois, to claim the top spot in Diamond Doubles with a 1,377 total. Johnson also performed under pressure late in singles to catapult herself into the lead in Diamond All-Events with a 2,112 effort.

“I needed the first one in the 10th to take over the lead,” said Johnson, a five-time USBC Women’s Championships titlist who had 729 in doubles, 707 in singles and 676 in team this weekend. “I was pretty steady all day. I didn’t have any opens, but I had to battle through some transition. I had to make adjustments pretty fast. I made good shots when I needed to in the 10th frame. Overall, I was very fortunate.”

Evitts, who rolled a 300 game during doubles at the 2012 Women’s Championships on the way to a record-tying 558 game with Melanie DeCarlo of Peru, Illinois, contributed a 648 set to Sunday’s effort with Johnson.

“For me, it was a slow start,” said Evitts, a 40-year-old right-hander. “I switched balls after the first game and was able to get lined up, and the rest is history. Liz bowled great.”

Darris Ruffner of Exeter, California, who bowls with 2013 Scratch Singles winner Jeanette Adams, found her own way into the spotlight with games of 230, 267 and 245 to raise the bar in Diamond Singles with 742.

“I didn’t know until probably about the ninth frame of the last game, so it was quite exciting,” said Ruffner, a 46-year-old left-hander who made her sixth tournament appearance. “I knew I needed at least the first two to guarantee me the lead, so I was very excited.”

Ruffner added 699 in doubles and 595 in team at the NBS this weekend to move into fifth place in Diamond All-Events with a 2,036 total. She and Adams also are sixth in Diamond Doubles with 1,266.

Diana Zavjalova of Beavercreek, Ohio, the 2013 USBC Queens champion, and Team USA member Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, previously held the lead in Diamond Doubles with 1,356, while Zavjalova also led Diamond Singles with 734 and Diamond All-Events with 2,102.

Later in the day at the National Bowling Stadium, Nicole Ryan of Johnson City, New York, surged to the top of the Ruby Singles standings with games of 224, 177 and 253 for a 654 series. Patti Pope of Valparaiso, Indiana, previously held the lead with 622.

Admittedly, Ryan’s role as a proprietor at Laurel Bowl in Binghamton, New York, and her family obligations keep her pretty busy, so her time on the lanes generally is more social than competitive.

After struggling in team and doubles, the 43-year-old left-hander was able to make the right adjustments on the lanes at the NBS.

“I didn’t have a good night’s sleep, but I had a good breakfast and came in ready to bowl,” said Ryan, who made her 19th consecutive Women’s Championships appearance. “Doubles was really bad, and I knew I needed to make more adjustments for singles. I wasn’t concentrating, I don’t think. My eyes were one place, and my ball was another. I had to make that slight adjustment to start scoring.”

Ryan had 519 in team and 492 in doubles for a 1,665 all-events total, which is fourth in Ruby All-Events. Pope leads with 1,778.

The 2015 Women’s Championships opened April 10 and will conclude June 30 after 82 days of competition.

Bowlers in the Diamond Division have entering averages of 190 and above, while Ruby bowlers enter with averages between 175 and 189.

By Wishelle Banks and Matt Cannizzaro
USBC Communications

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