California bowler brings 25 teams to 2014 WC

By Wishelle Banks and Matt Cannizzaro
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev. -
Prior to their team event at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships on Saturday, 40 teams of eager women gathered in the squad room at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

Their time in the squad room is part of the unique USBC Women's Championships experience and is when they're able to take team pictures, sign up for brackets and side events, get an overview of the tournament policies and recognize longtime participants, champions and other celebrities. Sometimes, it's even a chance to meet bowlers from across the globe.

Saturday's squad-room experience was a little different though, as 25 of the four-player teams present were organized by the same person, Donna Morales of San Jose, Calif., a 27-time Women's Championships participant and longtime team captain.

When Morales was recognized for her dedication as a competitor and coordinator, her 99 friends and teammates erupted and excitedly chanted her name.

Naturally, coordinating 25 teams is a considerable feat, yet Morales seems truly unfazed.

Her responsibilities as a team captain began when a fellow Bay-Area bowler moved away, giving Morales the opportunity to take over as secretary-treasurer of the Women's 600 Club. At that point, bringing bowlers to the Women's Championships simply took on a life of its own.

"It just kind of mushroomed to where people would sign up and then say they had a friend who would like to bowl," Morales said. "It just kept growing and growing. People brought other people in, or they heard I brought teams and wanted to bowl nationals. Some didn't have a team, or if they did, nobody wanted to do the paperwork."

Paperwork, for some people, is little more than an aggravation. For Morales, doing it all - and doing it well - means far more. At the core, she loves helping bowlers who want to bowl. It also gives her the chance to support her national, state and local bowling associations by helping keep bowlers on the lanes.

Morales is a well-known bowler in the San Jose area. Her dedication to the sport, and to her teams, is echoed by bowler after bowler, like longtime teammate and friend of 30 years, Georgianne Carls.

"I just feel so joyful and happy that I know her, because she's awesome," Carls said. "You couldn't ask for a better person to organize this whole thing. She's just so calm, and she gets things done. She takes really good care of us ladies. We're still bowling. We have such a good time."

The magnitude of coordinating the logistics to ensure 100 bowlers make it to the tournament occasionally may prove exhausting, but Morales, who competed in Division 3 based on her entering average of 171, definitely enjoys competing, too.

This weekend at the RSCC, she rolled sets of 475 in singles, 428 in doubles and 403 in team for a 1,306 all-events total.

With her 2014 Women's Championships campaign now over, Morales will turn her attention to next year's event at the nearby National Bowling Stadium.

As she nears her 30th year of participation on the championship lanes, along with the tournament's 100th anniversary in 2019, Morales reflects on her work and looks forward to the future with genuine enthusiasm.

Email blasts help her stay in touch with all of her bowlers, and she has the continued support of her husband, Harold, who has traveled all over the United States with her for her annual visits to the Women's Championships.

As a coordinator of six or more teams at the 2014 Women's Championships, Morales earned membership into the tournament's Captain's Club, which includes an official Captain's Club polo shirt, membership credential, commemorative lapel pin, USBC padfolio, locker access and on-site discounts.

Visit us on Facebook at the official USBC Open/Women's Championships page.

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