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SYRACUSE, N.Y. - For the second consecutive year, USBC Hall of Famer Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas, is the second-round leader at the USBC Queens, but she knows there's still a long road between her and her second win at the prestigious event.
The 46-year-old right-hander entered Sunday's qualifying round in 16th place, but used games of 235, 249, 222, 233 and 246 for a 1,185 set and catapulted into the lead with a 2,262 total for 10 games at the Oncenter Convention Center. Australia's Maxine Nable is second with 2,224, and first-round leader, Stefanie Nation of Grand Prairie, Texas, sits in third place with 2,198.
"I'm becoming more and more comfortable with my new equipment, and I even drilled a new ball today, which worked well for me," said Dorin-Ballard, who won the Queens in 2001. "The fresh is usually good for me, and that's what we bowled on today. It allows me to play the lanes a little straighter with a little surface on the ball, and it's nice because I don't have to give away the pocket."
Dorin-Ballard blazed through qualifying at last year's Queens in El Paso, Texas, setting the five, 10 and 15-game qualifying records, but finished the week in sixth place, just one win away from the TV show. The four-time Team USA member is experienced enough to know that once match play begins, anything can happen.
"Right now, the focus is making the top 64 and getting into match play," Dorin-Ballard said. "After that, where you qualified doesn't matter. At that point, it's luck of the draw as far as who you bowl and what pairs you bowl on. I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing and keep trying to bowl good games. "
This week's winner will take home $20,000 and the coveted Queens tiara. Defending champion Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., who is guaranteed a spot in the 64-person match-play bracket, is ninth with 2,152.
All 206 Queens competitors completed 10 games of qualifying, and the top 80 players will return to the lanes for five more games Monday, after which, the field will be cut to the top 63, who will join Kulick in the double-elimination match-play bracket. Leslie Rapach, Charlotte, N.C., earned the 80th spot with 1,912.
The championship round will be televised live on ESPN2 on Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. EDT.