Nation leads after first round

USBC Queens homepage | Round 1 results

Stefanie Nation of Grand Prairie, Texas, surged into the first-round lead at the 2011 USBC Queens with a 1,236 total for five games Saturday night.

The seven-time Team USA member watched the first qualifying squad before finalizing her own game plan and then averaged more than 247 to pace the 206-player field at the Oncenter Convention Center. Robin Romeo of Newhall, Calif., and Wendy Macpherson of Henderson, Nev., both USBC Hall of Famers, are second and third with 1,193 and 1,171, respectively.

"After watching the first squad, I knew I needed to come out and throw good shots," Nation said. "This is an interesting event for me because of the unique format. Once you get to match play, it's really anybody's game. I'm excited to be in a good position right now, though. We don't get too many opportunities, so we need to embrace the ones we do get."

Nation had an ally on the lanes Saturday in USBC Hall of Famer and 2001 Queens champion Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, whom she grew up watching on Professional Women's Bowling Association telecasts.

"Crossing with Carolyn really helped me with reading the lanes quicker," said Nation, a former collegiate standout at the University of Central Florida. "I've always looked up to Carolyn, and being able to read each other's ball reaction tonight helped tremendously, especially moving from pair to pair."

Macpherson, who led after the day's opening squad, is one of two three-time winners at the USBC Queens.  She was just 20 years old when she won the event for the first time, and now, more than two decades later, is looking to become the event's first four-time champion.

"My concentration lately has been on repeating shots and being strong out there physically," said Macpherson, a 43-year-old right-hander who won the Queens in 1988, 2000 and 2003. "I bowled well today and filled frames, and I was pleased overall. All I can do now is go out and throw the ball as well as I did today. It's so early, though, and anything can happen along the way. My goal is to keep making good shots and give myself a chance to win."

This week's winner will take home $20,000 and the coveted Queens tiara. Defending champion Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., who is guaranteed a spot in the 64-person match-play bracket, is tied for seventh place with 1,107.

All 206 Queens competitors will return to the lanes for another five games Sunday, with the field being cut to the top 80. Monday will feature five more games of qualifying before the field is cut to the top 63, who will join defending champion Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., in the double-elimination match-play bracket. The championship round will be televised live on ESPN2 on Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. EDT.