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Oklahoma team shatters record at USBC Open

Matt Cannizzaro and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications
Published: June 23, 2014 | Bowl.com
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RENO, Nev. - Even with a half game to go, there was little doubt Artistic Expressions 1 of Oklahoma City was going to finish the day atop the standings at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships with the highest score in 111 years of tournament history.

ArtisticExpressions1OC2014at465x262.jpgThe only question being asked at the National Bowling Stadium was how high the bar would be raised. The group answered with a 1,277 final game and 3,720 team tally, 159 pins better than Motion Plus Lanes of Cudahy, Wis., which previously held the lead and top spot in the record books with 3,561.

Artistic Expressions 1 started Monday's team event with games of 1,255 and 1,188 before closing with the sixth-highest game in USBC Open Championships competition. Team Turbo Grips of Fort Wayne, Ind., owns the single-game record of 1,318, rolled just three days ago.

"We knew that if we worked together, eventually this was going to happen," said Pete Thomas, who is the veteran of the team with 16 tournament appearances. "We practiced on the shot this morning, we practiced a few times during the week and we put in the work. We made some good decisions and great ball choices. Before we started, I told them it was an honor to bowl with them. I knew it would be something special. But this special? No one could have predicted that."

Ted Pritts led the way for Artistic Expressions 1 on Monday with a 768 series and was followed by Thomas (758), Xeno Garcia (752), Jimmy McMartin (736) and Anthony Lavery-Spahr (706).

"It's just an amazing feeling," Pritts said. "To be a part of something so special is a testament to my teammates and the things we were able to do. For it all to come together for us is incredible. If somebody beats it, we'll all fly out here and shake their hands."

The 2014 Open Championships concludes July 13, leaving the members of Artistic Expressions 1 just several weeks to see if their record score is enough to capture the Regular Team title.

"It's like a dream come true," Thomas said. "To know that we've done something that no other team has done at Nationals, and by more than 100 pins, is beyond belief. We're excited for what the future holds. This team will be together for a long time, will continue to be humble about it and be excited for what's going to happen in the next few weeks."

The group returned to the lanes at the NBS across two squads Tuesday, and moved into second in Team All-Events with 10,258. Pritts led the way with 2,158 and was followed by Lavery-Spahr (2,107), Garcia (2,072), Thomas (2,011) and McMartin (1,910). Janz H.I. of Beaver Dam, Wis., leads with 10,363.

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