Former Team USA member ties USBC series record

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ARLINGTON, Texas - Former Team USA member Bryanna Caldwell of Tucson, Arizona, threw 35 strikes Tuesday to tie the national record for the highest series by a woman with an 879 set.

The achievement is pending approval from the United States Bowling Congress and would earn Caldwell a spot in the record book next to Katie Verbil of Wichita, Kansas, who rolled an 879 series in 2012.

Caldwell's performance at Tucson's Golden Pin Lanes included games of 300, 279 and 300, all with a new bowling ball, drilled just before the start of the Ebonite Elite league session at the 48-lane center.

She broke the Arizona women's state record of 847, set by former Team USA member Marcia Kloempken in 2000. The overall state record of 898 was shot by William McPherson in Phoenix in 2013.

"I was actually very nervous the first game because 300s haven't come very easy lately," said Caldwell, who now has 10 USBC-certified perfect games, including a Sport-certified 300 in 2011. "Plus, it was my first game with that ball. I handled it well, though. I took a few deep breaths and threw the best shots I could."

Caldwell's only miscue of the night came in the first frame of her second game when the adrenaline still had her a little fast on her feet, resulting in a 2-4-8 leave. She picked off just the 2 and 8 pins for an open frame, but finished the night with 23 consecutive strikes.

"It's a match-play-style league, so after the open frame, I was just trying to make sure I won the game," Caldwell said. "Going into Game 3, I knew I had 579 at the turn, so I was focused on shooting 800. I knew what the record was because I've seen the video, but it wasn't even in the back of my mind."

The 28-year-old right-hander has been in pressure situations and thrown big sets before. The first 800 series of her career came in 2009, when she rolled games of 265, 300 and 296 for an 861 total.

A member of Junior Team USA in 2006 and 2007 and Team USA in 2011, Caldwell has excelled at every level of the sport and continues to be a player to watch at top women's events, such as the USBC Queens.

She also had a decorated collegiate career at the University of Central Missouri, where she became the first bowler in NCAA history (in any division) to win Bowler of the Year four consecutive times (2005-2008).

Caldwell continues to improve and logged a career-high average of 234 last year at Tucson's Fiesta Lanes. She added a 229 mark for 124 games in the four-game Ebonite Elite league and is ahead of that pace this season with a 245 average for the first four weeks.

"I was excited when I got first one in the 10th the last game because it beat my high series, which I never, ever thought I'd do," said Caldwell, who finished the night with a 214 game and 1,093 set. "I was just in shock when it was over. I don't even think I had a reaction. The whole league was very supportive, and everyone was behind me, so that was really nice, too."