Champions take lead at 2014 USBC Women's

RENO, Nev. - The members of Eagle's Edge Pro Shop of Carpentersville, Ill., have gotten comfortable atop the standings at the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships, and they now are in position to win their third team title in four years.

With the help of a huge last game Wednesday, they found their way to the top spot in Diamond Team with a 2,628 total on games of 799, 895 and 934. Their companion team, VISE/IT Grips of Waukesha, Wis., pushed them every frame along the way and moved into second place with 2,581. Junior Team USA Support 1 of Lincoln, Calif., previously held the lead with 2,555.

Three-time USBC Women's Championships titlist Joey Biondo led the way for Eagle's Edge Pro Shop at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with a 744 series and was followed by Tina Becke (646), Jonquay Armon (638) and Keri Caduto (600).

ViseITGrips2014_465x262Roxanne George set the pace for VISE/IT Grips with a 703 series and was joined by Shannon Labinski (654), Rochelle Roventini (642) and Jennifer Grisham (582).

"All of our bowling styles work well together," Becke said. "We broke down the lanes really well, and that's what allowed us to strike as much as we did."

The exciting finish was broadcast live on BowlTV as both teams traded strikes down the stretch.

"We fed off of each other," Biondo said. "They made us work harder, and you could feel the energy going back and forth. I was very happy we were both in position to take the lead."

Eagle's Edge Pro Shop has been dominant on the championship lanes in recent years, regardless of a few format changes at the Women's Championships.

EaglesEdgeProShopTrophy2014_465x262In 2011, the second of the four year's the Women's Championships featured handicap, the group took home the Diamond Team title. Last year, at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, they became one of the last teams to win in the five-player era, capturing the Scratch Team crown with a 3,357 effort, the second-highest total in tournament history. Tracy Luncsford was the fifth member of the team for both wins.

During last year's title run, Eagle's Edge Pro Shop started with 1,207, the third-highest game in Women's Championships history. This year, they admitted to being nervous returning to the championship lanes at the RSCC but relied on the support system they have built through countless tournaments to help them return to the top of the leaderboard.

"I think we were all really nervous," Caduto said. "But we started leaning on each other like we always do and found a way to build each other back up to make it happen."

The year in-between team titles (2012) belonged to Biondo, who won Diamond All-Events. The former Team USA member entered the 2014 event as one of nine bowlers in 95 years of Women's Championships competition to win in three consecutive events. A win in 2014 would make her the fifth bowler to win in four straight years.

The 2014 event marks the first time teams competing at the Women's Championships only have four bowlers. The tournament also made a return to an all-scratch format with new average-based divisions - four for team and six for doubles, singles and all-events.

The goal for Biondo and her teammates this year was simple - open the new era at the Women's Championships the same way they ended the five-player era - with a win. Now, they'll have to wait until the June 30th conclusion of the 2014 tournament to see if their score is enough.

"To have those moments, like seeing our banner, is icing on the cake," said Armon, who will lead the teams back onto the lanes Thursday at 8 a.m. PDT for doubles and singles. "We win as a team regardless, but it's been crazy with what has happened the past few years. It's an amazing feeling."

Teams competing in the Diamond Division have combined entering averages of 725 or 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.