RENO, Nev. - In an exciting day on the lanes at the National Bowling Stadium, Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 of Sartell, Minn., was able to outlast the competition and grab the Regular Team lead Sunday at the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 put together games of 1,128, 1,124 and 1,106 for a 3,358 series, just ahead of Towne and Country Lanes 1 of Hartland, Wis., which moved into second place with 3,328 several pairs away. Rancho Bowl 1 of Lompoc, Calif., set the bar earlier Sunday with 3,285.
Jeff Smith led the way for Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 with a 762 series and was joined by Eric George (668), Barry Zimmerman (657), Justin Schiffler (645) and Greg McCullough (626).
The group communicated well as the lanes transitioned and minimized mistakes, marking in all but eight frames. Last year's Regular Team winner, Nicholas J's Pro Shop 2 of La Crosse, Wis., turned in an identical performance on the way to a 3,401 tally and the crown.
"We really don't have any expectations coming in, but I think this year everybody stayed in the same zone a lot longer than we have in the past, and it really seemed to help as we went along," said McCullough, who made his 24th USBC Open Championships appearance. "Sometimes, this event is the only time we get to see each other, so it's fun to get together. Obviously, when you're bowling well, it makes it even better."
Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 also credited working with its crossing team, Breakpoint Pro Shop of Sartell, as having a role in its success. Breakpoint Pro Shop finished its 2013 event with 2,865.
"It was important to keep the other team focused and playing in the right part of the lane as well," said Smith, who rolled the highest set of his 18-year Open Championships career. "We were all communicating, and they held their own."
Although the race for the lead between the teams came down to the final frame, the members of Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 simply were focused on the task they had in front of them.
"I wasn't worried about the guys down the way," said Zimmerman, who owns a 299 and 300 game at the Open Championships, including the first perfect game of the 2010 event at the NBS. "I was worried about us getting as much as we could, as fast as we could get it. I honestly don't think it will hold up, but now they have to shoot at our score."
Towne and Country Lanes 1 was led by Tony Buss' 701. He was joined by Jerry Riemer (700), Dave Gajewski (648), Robert Milbrath (644) and Matt Zagar (635).
Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 continued strong in doubles and singles Monday morning, taking the lead in Team All-Events with 9,408. Solid 9 Pro Shop 1 of Taylorville, Ill., previously led with 9,336.
George paced Breakpoint Pro Shop 2 with 1,969, and was followed by Smith (1,923), Schiffler (1,878), Zimmerman (1,858) and McCullough (1,780).
"It was a good group showing," Schiffler said. "With the pattern being shorter, we may have been too deep early and didn't break them down as well as yesterday, but we're happy leaving with two leads."
Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.