New leaders in singles, doubles at 2014 OC

RENO, Nev. - When Louis Jenkins Jr. of Warr Acres, Okla., started his singles set at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships  with a six-count, he immediately was fearful that his doubles struggles would be the only thing he'd carry the rest of the way.

Instead, everything fell into place for the 46-year-old right-hander, and he carried on 29 of his next 34 shots on the way to games of 257, 300 and 269 and the Regular Singles lead with an 826 series. Jeff Grego of Fort Wayne, Ind., previously held the lead with 798.

Amazingly, Jenkins didn't change anything from doubles to singles. He used the same ball and stood in the same place.

"I never moved," said Jenkins, who made his seventh USBC Open Championships appearance and had 709 in team and 527 in doubles for a career-best 2,062 all-events total. "I don't know if I was trying too hard in doubles or pressing or what, but I figured it couldn't get any worse, so I stayed where I was. After my first shot in singles, it seemed like it would be more of the same, but the more I struck, the looser my swing got."

Jenkins' perfect game was the 10th of this year's tournament at the National Bowling Stadium. His set was the third 800 of the event and second in as many days. John Ricalde of Del City, Okla., who bowls on Jenkins' companion team, rolled an 802 series in their team event Monday.

Although Jenkins has shot 800 before, nothing compares to doing it on the biggest stage in bowling. With so much happening, the hardest part was battling the nerves and keeping focused, especially in the moment after he rolled the 7-10 split on the 11th shot of his 300 game.

"I thought my heart was going to jump right out of my chest around the first ball in the 10th frame," Jenkins said. "It felt like the 10th frame took forever. On the 11th shot, I couldn't believe the 7-10 was standing, and I didn't want to go out like that. I was watching the 7 pin, so I didn't even know the 10 went down, too, until everyone yelled. Then, I just wanted to throw the last shot as quickly as I could. I didn't want to think about anything."

By the end of singles, Jenkins knew he'd put himself in a position he might not have the chance to see again, and he was glad he could capitalize on the opportunity. Now, he'll nervously wait as the 2014 Open Championships rolls toward its July 13 end date.

"I just wanted to come out and bowl well, and I never could've expected this," said Jenkins, who bowls league at Boulevard Bowl in Edmond, Okla. "I'm going to do my best not to stress too badly, and I know I'll have at least 15 people giving me updates. No matter what, to shoot 300 and 800 at Nationals is amazing, even if I don't win."

WileyWaliczek2014OC250x140Just before Jenkins started striking Tuesday, Brian Waliczek of Frankenmuth, Mich., and Robert Wiley of Victor, N.Y., grabbed a share of the Regular Doubles lead with a 1,378 total.

Wiley stepped up needing a strike on his fill ball to tie Joe Janz of Beaver Dam, Wis., and Tim Damerow of Waupun, Wis., who set the bar April 4, and he delivered to cap off a 663 doubles set. Waliczek added a 715 series.

"I knew we were close, but I didn't know the exact numbers," said Waliczek, who made his 16th tournament appearance. "I knew his spare was crucial, and I thought with good fill balls we could get the lead - and then I threw an awful shot. The guys were working the numbers and told me he needed all 10. I had no doubt he'd get it."

It wasn't until he came off the approach that Wiley learned what the scenario had been after Waliczek got seven on his final delivery.

"It's probably better that I didn't know, and it makes me feel great that I was able to deliver," said Wiley, a 54-year-old right-hander who made his 22nd trip down Center Aisle. "I've only known Brian for two years, but as we get to know each other better, I get more comfortable out there."

Wiley had 706 in singles and 555 in team for a 1,924 all-events total, while Waliczek, a 36-year-old right-hander and Professional Bowlers Association regional champion, added a 704 series in team and 646 in singles for 2,065. Last year, in their Open Championships doubles debut, the pair finished 59th with a 1,329 total.

TeamNABR2014OC465x262Waliczek also helped Team NABR of West Henrietta, N.Y., into fifth place in Regular Team with a 3,495 effort Monday, and the rest of his teammates - Adam Barta, former Team USA member Scott Pohl, current Team USA member Rob Gotchall and 2007 Regular All-Events winner Mike Rose Jr. - will continue the quest for a Team All-Events title late Tuesday night.

Visit us on Facebook at the official USBC Open/Women's Championships  page.

Presenting sponsors for the 2014 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.