Zavjalova prepped for USBC Queens title defense

ARLINGTON, Texas - Latvia's Diana Zavjalova has enjoyed much success on the lanes over the past year, but she realizes the hard work must continue if she wants to successfully defend her United States Bowling Congress Queens title.

Zavjalova will begin her title defense when the 2014 USBC Queens presented by Storm gets underway Saturday with the first round of qualifying at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. The finals will be broadcast live on ESPN2 on July 3 at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Against a tough field last year, Zavjalova became the first foreign player in more than two decades to win the Queens.

"I have been preparing for the Queens very similar to the way I did last year, except I've been working harder because I know everyone is getting better, and I need to get better as well to defend my title," Zavjalova said. "In my opinion, winning back-to-back majors is the hardest thing in the sport."

Zavjalova, who recently graduated from Webber International, has been on a wave of success in recent months. She won the XBowling Intercollegiate Singles Championships women's title in April, and earlier this month, she won gold medals in all-events and Masters at the Women's European Championships in Berlin, Germany.

"My confidence is at the right level right now because I just won at the Intercollegiate Singles Championships and performed well at the Women's European Championships," Zavjalova said. "I'm trying to stay focused and not lose my confidence because I will need it to defend my title."

Should Zavjalova 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 Lynda Barnes (1998, 2008), Kelly Kulick (2007, 2010) and Aleta Sill (1983, 1985).

As the defending champion, Zavjalova automatically will have a spot in the three-game double-elimination bracket portion of the event. However, she will bowl qualifying to try and improve her seeding in the bracket. If she finishes outside of the top 63 in qualifying, she will earn the No. 64 spot in the bracket.

All players will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days to determine the 63 bowlers who will join Zavjalova in match play. The player who survives the bracket to win the event will take home $20,000 of the more than $87,000 prize fund, which includes a $20,000 contribution by presenting sponsor Storm.

Bowling fans can watch every round of the Queens leading up to the TV finals live on's BowlTV.