Published: March 15, 2016 | Bowl.com
RENO, Nev. – Terry Gruchalla of Jamestown, North Dakota, and his teammates have combined for more than 100 appearances at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, and their goals for each visit have remained simple and consistent.
Each year, they make the journey to the host city looking forward to the camaraderie and fun, and if they can snag some prize money, it makes it that much better.
After their performance at the National Bowling Stadium on Tuesday, they’re in position for more than just a nice payday as the leaders in Classified Team with a 2,607 total. Malad Gun Club of Malad City, Idaho, previously held the lead with 2,529.
The T-Rays squad is coming off a ninth-place finish at the 2015 USBC Open Championships in El Paso, Texas, and improved on last year’s effort by nearly 75 pins, rolling games of 880, 844 and 883 at the NBS on Tuesday.
“We saw our score after two games, and we were just trying to make another 800 and hopefully get into the pay line,” said Gruchalla, a 72-year-old right-hander, who is the veteran of the group with 26 tournament appearances. “We never really think too much about winning. We just want to have a good time, and if we can make a few bucks, that’s even better.”
Gruchalla also owns two top-five finishes in Classified Team. The first was a fifth-place effort with his wife and three daughters in 2002, and the second came in 2008 when T-Rays finished third. That team included two additional members from this year’s team.
One of the returning team members is Kevin O’Meara, who led the way for T-Rays this year with a 550 series. He was followed by Gruchalla (539), 2008 team member Jim Ryan (521), Michael Kvislen (503) and Terry Wibstad (494).
Kvislen made his 23rd Open Championships appearance this year, O’Meara bowled for the 22nd time and Ryan and Wibstad each logged tournament No. 15.
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