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Tish Johnson top seed at 2014 USBC Senior Queens

Matt Cannizzaro and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications
Published: July 2, 2014 | Bowl.com
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USBC Senior Queens bracket

RENO, Nev. -
United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Tish Johnson of Colorado Springs, Colo., got more comfortable during each round of match play at the 2014 USBC Senior Queens presented by Storm and earned the top seed for the stepladder finals for the second consecutive year.

The 52-year-old left-hander defeated 2011 USBC Senior Queens champion Paula Vidad of Sun City, Calif., 764-587, at the National Bowling Stadium on Wednesday to remain undefeated at this year's event.

The final round of the 2014 Senior Queens will be broadcast live on BowlTV on Thursday at 1 p.m. EDT.

Johnson averaged more than 237 in wins against Della Kallenback, Carol Teel, defending champion and fellow hall of famer Lucy Sandelin and Vidad. Despite making the stepladder finals in all three of her Senior Queens appearances, Johnson still is searching for her first win.

"I usually get more comfortable the more we bowl, which helps me execute better, and that definitely was true this week," said Johnson, who finished second at the 2013 event and fourth in 2012. "But tomorrow is a new day, and it's a really tough field. I never got to win the regular Queens, so it would be great to win this time. I've been close before, and it feels good to be in that position again."

Vidad, a 54-year-old right-hander, is looking to join USBC Hall of Famers Sandra Postma (three), Shirley Levens (two) and Sandelin (two) as the only competitors with multiple Senior Queens titles. Vidad also found success at the 2013 Bowling's U.S. Senior Women's Open, defeating Johnson and Sandelin on the way to the win.

This week at the NBS, Vidad struggled early but used a strong final qualifying block to gain the momentum she needed for match play. She collected wins over Beth Owen-Cipielewski of Bradenton, Fla, Penny Fentiman of Sweet Home, Ore., and USBC Hall of Famer Robin Romeo of Newhall, Calif., before falling to Johnson.

"It feels good to be in this position, especially after the first two blocks of qualifying, where I didn't execute well," Vidad said. "I knew I needed a big third block, and that momentum really helped later. I am excited about making the show and the possibility of joining Lucy, Shirley and Sandra with multiple wins."

The opening match Thursday will feature Romeo and Sandelin in a rematch of the 2012 U.S. Senior Women's Open championship bout, won by Romeo.

Romeo, who recently put herself in position to claim the Division 1 Doubles title at the nearby 2014 USBC Women's Championships, earned the No. 3 seed for the Senior Queens stepladder finals based on her 230 match-play average. Sandelin averaged 228 and will be the fourth seed.

The player who wins the event will take home $3,500 of the $21,000 prize fund, which includes a $5,000 contribution by presenting sponsor Storm. The 2014 event started with 56 competitors, who all bowled 15 qualifying games before the field was cut to the top 16 for match play.

The Senior Queens, open to all female USBC members age 50 and older, marks the second stop of the Senior Women's Triple Crown Series presented by The Orleans. The Triple Crown Series is a special competition for bowlers who compete in the Senior Queens, National Golden Ladies Classic and Bowling's U.S. Senior Women's Open.

The top 10 players in the Triple Crown standings, which combines qualifying totals from all three events, will take part in the Triple Crown Shoot-Out presented by The Orleans.

The Triple Crown Shoot-Out will be held after the U.S. Senior Women's Open qualifying rounds July 24 at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford, Ill.

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