USBC Hall of Famer leads two events at 2014 WC

RENO, Nev. - United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Jeanne Naccarato of Tacoma, Wash., used the momentum of a perfect game to propel her into the lead in Division 1 Doubles and All-Events at the 2014 USBC Women's Championships.

NaccaratoRomeo2014_465x262The three-time Women's Championships titlist fired the fourth 300 of the 2014 event, and 24th in tournament history, between games of 222 and 224 for a 746 series in doubles. She teamed with fellow hall of famer Robin Romeo of Newhall, Calif., (733) for the third-highest doubles game (554) in 95 years of Women's Championships competition, and their 1,479 total Thursday is the fourth-best doubles effort in the tournament record books.

Lisa Friscioni of Saddle Brook, N.J., and Kathleen Weissman of Fair Lawn, N.J., previously held the Division 1 Doubles lead this year with 1,399, while USBC Hall of Famers Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Lynda Barnes own the event's doubles record with 1,498, rolled in 2004.

Naccarato added a 704 series in singles and 631 in team to finish with a 2,081 all-events total, which moved her past Shauna Shannon of Albuquerque, N.M., who took the lead at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center on Wednesday with 2,078.

Former Junior Team USA member Cassandra Leuthold of Black Hawk, S.D., stepped up in her final frame with a chance to go around Naccarato, but a 10 pin on her first delivery left her with a 2,068 total. Leuthold also had a shot at the 25th perfect game of the event during doubles but settled for 299 when the 7 pin refused to fall.

"I can't put it into words," said Naccarato, who made her 35th tournament appearance. "I didn't get much practice in because of a bum knee, and Robin had surgery, so we both started practicing about the same time at the beginning of June. The more I bowled, the better I felt. During team, I felt comfortable, and when we started today, I felt even better. I'm so ecstatic. I'm more excited about doubles than all-events, because I love Robin to death."

Naccarato and Romeo bowled doubles for the first time at the 2000 Professional Women's Bowling Association Track Doubles in Las Vegas, and they ended up winning. They now find themselves just days away from a win at the Women's Championships, which concludes June 30. If both the doubles and all-events scores hold on, they'd each have five titles on the biggest stage in women's bowling.

"I think the fact that we're still able to compete against the younger bowlers makes it feel really good," said Romeo, who made her 35th appearance. "If we were able to hold on to this one, especially since we're such good friends, it would be awesome."

The Division 1 Singles lead also was challenged Thursday as Natalie Singleton of Lone Jack, Mo., needed a double and good count in her final frame to move ahead of Lisa Kelley of Wichita, Kan., who has been leading with 748 since April 20.

Singleton started singles with games of 256 and 247 and then delivered the first strike in the final frame, but the left-hander did not get the 6 pin to fall on her next shot. She finished with 239 and a 742 series, moving her into fourth place.

All of the excitement was captured live on BowlTV as part of the telecast featuring 2013 Diamond Singles and All-Events champion, Christine Gill of Lakewood, Colo.

GillChristine2014_250x140The 23-year-old right-hander made her return to the RSCC this week, received her championship trophies and was able to see the championship banner bearing her name hanging from the rafters for the first time in person before putting her titles on the line.

Although she will not win again in 2014, Gill had an enjoyable experience being back at the site of her breakthrough performance. This year, in her third tournament appearance, she finished with sets of 644 in team, 628 in singles and 591 in doubles for a 1,863 all-events total.

"Last year, I really just wanted to come out and bowl well for my team because it was my first year bowling with them," Gill said. "I wanted to make them proud and ended up shooting much better than expected. It's been a really good experience. People have been sending me pictures of my banner, and it's been so exciting because I never thought in a million years this is where I would be in such a short time. I've only been bowling for six or seven years, so to have this happen so quickly is a dream come true."

Bowlers competing in Division 1 have entering averages of 190 and above.

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