RENO, Nev. - Together Once Again of Keller, Texas, found itself in familiar territory as it took the Scratch Team lead at the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships on Wednesday.
Cathy Dorin-Lizzi set the pace with a 719 series and helped the team to games of 1,163, 1,060 and 1,074 for a 3,297 total. Time of Our Life II of Saddle Brook, N.J., previously held the lead with 3,282.
Dorin-Lizzi was joined by her USBC Hall-of-Fame sister Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (718), Brenda Padilla (661), Marcia Kloempken (606) and Team USA member Tammy Turner (593).
Together Once Again has found continued success at the National Bowling Stadium, collecting Classic Team titles at the USBC Women's Championships in 2006 and 2009, the last two times the event visited the one-of-a-kind facility.
"I think we came here feeling comfortable because we all know we bowl well at the Stadium, and our team is the reigning champ here," said Dorin-Lizzi, a two-time Women's Championships titlist. "That loosens you up a little bit from the get-go."
The team's experience together on the lanes and ability to communicate and adjust to the changing conditions makes Together Once Again a threat to win every year. With its score posted, the talented group has to wait to see if it's big enough to make it a three-peat at the Stadium.
"We get a good read off each other, and I think being able to read the lanes really fast and make the right adjustments is the key to being ahead and getting as many pins as you can," said Dorin-Ballard, a five-time titlist at the event. "We feel pretty good about our score because there were a lot of good teams that bowled yesterday and today. I know with a couple of weeks left in the tournament there are going to be a few more coming in, but at least we've posted the score, and now they have to shoot at it. We've done all we can, and hopefully it will hold up."
On Tuesday, the Diamond Division standings were shaken up as Lashon Henderson of Elgin, Ill., grabbed the top spot in Diamond Singles, and Hawaiian Punch - Hana Hou of Kapolei, Hawaii, rolled into the Diamond Team lead.
After struggling in team and doubles, Henderson got lined up in singles and posted games of 230, 240 and 236 for a 706 scratch total. She entered the 2012 event with a 181 average and received an additional 39 pins of handicap per game to finish with 823. Michele Morris of Harvard, Ill., previously held the top spot with 805.
"The end of the third game in doubles is when I found my mark," said Henderson, who made her second Women's Championships appearance. "It was flowing. It had a nice roll and hit the pocket very well. It'll make for a nice plane trip back to Chicago thinking of that score, and hopefully it holds on."
Henderson added 638 in doubles and 632 in team for a 2,093 handicap all-events total. Andee Tadiello of Brentwood, Calif., leads Diamond All-Events with 2,257.
Hawaiian Punch - Hana Hou traveled more than 2,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean, and it quickly was worth the trip as they finished with a 3,546 handicap total and jumped to the top of the Diamond Team standings. Some Strike It Hot of Albuquerque, N.M., raised the bar a night earlier with a 3,462 total.
Kimie Roller led the way for Hawaiian Punch - Hana Hou with a 642 series and was followed by Shauna Kamaka (625), Jolene Walker-Akau (582), Darlee Horiuchi (578) and Tammy Nitta (555). The teammates weren't watching the scoreboards as they posted the highest total in three years of Diamond Team competition, and now they hope to bring a Women's Championships title across the ocean.
"We had no idea what was leading, and we were just trying to do our best and shoot over average," said Horiuchi, who made her fifth tournament appearance. "It's really surreal. If somebody beats us, they deserve it, but it would be unbelievable if we could hold on. We just want to thank all of the people who came out and helped us, and we hope to bring a title back to Hawaii."
Megan Kelly of Dayton, Ohio, also added her name to the Women's Championships record books Tuesday as she rolled the 11th 299 game in the event's 93-year history.
After starting her team event with a 224, the 28-year-old right-hander rattled off 11 consecutive strikes before a 4 pin stood on her final delivery. She finished with a 200 game for a 723 series.
Kelly is the daughter of USBC Hall of Famer Linda Kelly, who owns one the 16 perfect games in Women's Championships history, and Linda was there for her daughter's run at perfection.
"I wanted to stay down on the last shot, and I did, but it wasn't good enough," said Kelly, who recently rolled a 297 game at the 2012 USBC Open Championships in Baton Rouge, La. "I have worked on my game a ton this year, and it proves to me that my hard work has paid off. It was awesome that she was there. (My parents) were there for both of them. I just wish I could have shot 300 to join her."
The Diamond Division is made up of bowlers with averages of 180 and higher, with handicap based on 220.
The top scratch score in team, doubles, singles and all-events is recognized as overall tournament champion.
Presenting sponsors for the 2012 USBC Women's Championships are Circus Circus, Eldorado Hotel Casino and Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nev. Other sponsors include Harrah's Reno Casino, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Humana, official registration sponsor, Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, Nationwide Insurance, Sands Regency Casino Hotel and Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa and MyBowlingVacation.com.