By USBC’s Aaron Smith
October 18, 2016
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour titlist Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York, delivered 35 strikes Monday to set a national record for the highest three-game series by a woman with an 890.
The 23-year-old right-hander began her night at the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial League at Schenectady’s Towne Bowling Academy with back-to-back 300 games before leaving an 8 pin to start her final game. After converting the spare, Kuhlkin finished the evening by striking on her final 11 attempts for a 290.
Erica Cutler of Fort Wayne, Indiana, set the record earlier this year with an 889 series on Feb. 14.
Kuhlkin’s achievement is pending approval from the United States Bowling Congress.
Kuhlkin, the 2015 PWBA Topeka Open champion, knew she had found the right ball to match up at Towne Bowling Academy after a strong performance the previous week, and a win at an eliminator in Syracuse, New York, on Sunday also boosted her confidence.
“I never fathomed that I could strike that much,” said Kuhlkin, who also rolled a perfect game at the PWBA Topeka Open. “I had phenomenal ball reaction, and it just seemed like the ball was gliding into the pocket. Every ball was splitting the 8 and 9 pins.”
After connecting on her first 24 shots, Kuhlkin made a small adjustment to start Game 3.
“I had three good strikes in the 10th frame of Game 2 but could tell the ball was hooking a little more on the backend, so I made a parallel move,” said Kuhlkin, a two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association national champion at Nebraska. “It gave me the exact reaction I was looking for, but I stoned an 8 pin. I was disappointed that it stood, but I was satisfied that I had thrown a good shot and made the right move.”
As Kuhlkin continued to strike on her way to the 10th frame, the nerves mounted as she decided to share the moment with the world through social media.
News of her run quickly spread as Kuhlkin finished off the performance, and she’s thankful for the support she received throughout the worldwide bowling community.
“One of my teammates had the idea to show the final frame through Facebook Live,” said Kuhlkin, a former Junior Team USA member who won a gold medal in doubles competition with Sarah Lokker at the 2014 World Bowling Youth Championships in Hong Kong. “I didn’t want to go up there and throw a bad shot, so I’m thrilled that it worked out the way it did and I was able to execute the way I had been the entire night.
“It’s been touching to have so many people reach out and congratulate me. I’ve gotten messages from people across the world, and that’s such an incredible thing. It was so cool to have shared that moment with so many people.”
Despite the attention, Kuhlkin notes the most important part of her effort on the lanes Monday was getting to share it with her parents, Mark and Ricki, and a local community that has supported her throughout the years.
“It’s definitely an amazing accomplishment, and it’s very special that I was able to share it with my parents and a lot of people that I care about,” Kuhlkin said. “That moment is something I will cherish for the rest of my bowling career.”
Several PWBA titlists have been involved in the progression of the woman’s national high series record, including 2016 PWBA Lexington Open champion Bryanna Coté‚ (879), three-time winner Jackie Mitskavich (877) and PWBA and USBC Hall of Famers Anne Marie Duggan (865) and Jeanne Naccarato (864). PWBA and USBC Hall of Famer Bev Ortner became the first woman to roll an 800 series in Oct. 1968, posting an 818 series.