Asbaty ready to defend USBC Queens title

ARLINGTON, Texas - Heading into the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Queens, Chicago's Diandra Asbaty was at a crossroad but found clarity as she hoisted the championship trophy and donned the coveted tiara after claiming her first major title.

She's had a year to reflect on one of the biggest wins of her career and will be in a completely different mindset when she puts her title on the line at the 2013 USBC Queens presented by Storm, which begins Sept. 1 at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center in Henderson, Nev. The finals will be televised on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sept. 8.

The 15-time Team USA member always has prided herself on putting in the time and work to remain at the top of her sport, whether that meant sacrificing sleep and the freedom of childhood for late-night practices or seeking out the best coaches and advice to help her navigate the world of adult bowling. She put the same effort into preparing for the 2012 Queens, but something felt different.

Although she has managed to turn her passion for bowling into a successful career, both on and off the lanes, new responsibilities, priorities and motherhood suddenly left Asbaty feeling less balanced than ever before.

"A lot of things had to go my way to beat such a talented field that week, and it really was a dream come true to win," Asbaty said. "At the time, I was having a hard time finding a balance with everything in my life and being the best mom I could be. It meant so much to be able to win at a time when I didn't feel as balanced as in the past. It was a moment that made me realize I could do it all and still do it well."

Asbaty climbed from the No. 3 spot in the stepladder to the championship match with wins against her Team USA teammates Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., also the 2009 Queens winner, and Stefanie Nation of Grand Prairie, Texas. She then closed with three clutch strikes in her final frame to defeat USBC Hall of Famer Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas, 244-227, for the win.

Once the title-clinching strike had been delivered, Asbaty was overcome by emotion. First, because she fulfilled every bowler's dream of stepping up in the 10th frame of a major championship and throwing a strike to win. And then secretly, because she was able to prove to herself that she can handle everything life has to offer - that she can be a wife and mother, businesswoman and legitimate contender all at the same time.

This is something she's learned from Dorin-Ballard and long-time Team USA member Lynda Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, who both have families, careers and continued success on the lanes. This is something Asbaty hopes to convey to the next generation of bowling moms, too.

"To be able to say I won a major championship in women's bowling already takes the pressure off, but it doesn't mean I want it any less," said Asbaty, whose family will grow to four when she and her husband, John, welcome their second child in February. "More than anything, I want to keep proving to myself that even though I have a family and other priorities, I can still live my dreams."

Should Asbaty come away with another victory, she would become just the fifth woman to successfully defend a Queens title, joining Katsuko Sugimoto (1981-82), Donna Adamek (1979-80), Dorothy Fothergill (1972-73) and Millie Ignizio (1970-71).

Only eight bowlers have won multiple titles since the Queens began in 1961, with USBC Hall of Famers Wendy Macpherson and Ignizio as the only three-time winners. The other two-time champions are Barnes (1998, 2008), Kulick (2007, 2010) and Aleta Sill (1983, 1985).

The Queens kicks off with 10 qualifying games over two days Sept. 1 and 2, before the field is cut to the top third for five additional games Sept. 3. After 15 games, the top 63 competitors will join Asbaty for double-elimination match-play, which will begin Sept. 3 at 5 p.m. EDT. Asbaty will be seeded based on her 15-game pinfall but would earn the 64th spot should she not qualify higher.

Match play will continue Sept. 4, and the final five players will advance to the televised stepladder finals, which will be taped Sept. 5 at 10 p.m. EDT. The winner will take home the $20,000 top prize, and a perfect game in the championship match will earn the player an additional $10,000 from Storm Bowling Products.

The Queens is open to any female USBC member, and with this year's event coming just after the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Championships, the field will include nearly 200 players representing 14 countries.

Competitors at this year's Queens will have another opportunity to cash in through the USBC Shoot-Out, a special event following Queens qualifying with a $4,000 prize fund.

Four players will advance to the Shoot-Out based on qualifying scores with the high player from each of the following categories earning spots: international players, collegiate/youth players, players who have not competed in the Queens in the past four years and all others. Tournament rules will dictate the category in which each player competes.

The Shoot-Out will consist of a four-person bracket with one-game matches determining the winner of each match. The special event will be broadcast live on's BowlTV.

The qualifying and match-play portions of the Queens are open to the public at no charge, and a limited number of tickets for the televised finals are available for $25. Call 702-547-7467 for more information.