Missouri bowler breaks silence at 2014 USBC Open

By Jessica Gilgor
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev. -
When John Litzelfelner of Jackson, Mo., stepped up for the last frame of his team event at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on Friday, there was a silence unlike any other at the National Bowling Stadium.

The silence broke when he finished off the sixth perfect game of this year's event. It was the fifth 300 on the 43-foot Sport-certified team oil pattern, while the first of the year came in singles on the 40-foot doubles and singles pattern.

The 34-year-old right-hander posted games of 187 and 200 before connecting on 12 consecutive shots to close out a career-best 687 series. He led Semo Sluggers 1 of Jackson to a 3,060 team total. Motion Plus Lanes of Cudahy, Wis., leads Regular Team with a record score of 3,561.

"The place fell silent, and you could hear a pin drop, "said Litzelfelner, who made his 14th consecutive USBC Open Championships appearance. "Hearing my own heartbeat before that last ball was an experience I'll never forget."

Before the team event, Litzelfelner and his teammates took advantage of the practice sessions being offered at the Track Showcase Lanes on the ground floor of the NBS, and they were able to finalize their game plan before heading upstairs to the championship lanes.

Though he traditionally has struggled in the team event, Litzelfelner found himself becoming more comfortable on the lanes as the day progressed.

"I missed two splits by a fraction and made the third," Litzelfelner said. "It felt like I was gradually building the shot to where I liked it."

While he was in the spotlight, it was his teammates, some he has been bowling with for more than 20 years, who helped keep him grounded in the moment.

"They were calm and relatively silent," said Litzelfelner, who bowls league at Jackson Lanes. "They told me to trust myself and make a good shot. Having them there was a big help."

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