New Mexico team back in lead at Women's Championships

RENO, Nev. - For the fourth consecutive year, members of Some Strike It Hot of Albuquerque, N.M., walked off the lanes at the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships as the leaders in Diamond Team.

SomeStrikeItHot2014_465x262This year, they found their way to the top of the standings in dramatic fashion, finishing their team event Tuesday at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with the second-highest game of the year for a 2,667 total. They posted games of 856, 841 and 970 to move past Lusha's Ladies of Frisco, Texas, which previously held the lead with 2,651.

Some Strike It Hot's performance was broadcast live on BowlTV, and despite some early nerves, the teammates were able to find comfort in their many years together on the lanes as well as the experience they've gained in recent years at the USBC Women's Championships.

"I knew we needed a big game," said Marsha Kuhnley, the team's 36-year-old leadoff bowler. "After getting a spare in the first frame, I thought I couldn't miss again if we wanted to win this thing. We all had to keep striking, and we got more aggressive out there."

Kuhnley and her sister, anchor Shauna Shannon, both served their roles perfectly in the final game. Kuhnley's 289 finish provided the spark the team needed, while Shannon locked up the lead with a double in the final frame.

Kuhnley led the way for Some Strike It Hot with a 728 series and was followed by Shannon (687), Brandy Silva (652) and Wendy Shelton (600).

Shannon and Silva have been part of the success since 2011, while Kuhnley and Shelton came aboard in 2012. Even with the format changes at the Women's Championships, Some Strike It Hot's run includes a Diamond Team title in 2012 and a runner-up finish in Diamond Team at the RSCC last year. The group also finished third in Scratch Team last year.

"I think it's a testament to how well we work together," Shannon said. "Every year we seem to come back just as strong as the year before, and I think that's really exciting for us. It would be absolutely incredible if it held up. We are crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. We know there are a lot of great ladies coming to bowl."

Tuesday's success was a result of good chemistry, communication and camaraderie, but there also was some compassion involved as the team rallied around Shelton, who was under the weather but persevered with a key five-bagger in the final game to help the team when they needed it most.

"I had a really bad headache and felt like I was going to pass out," Shelton said. "It was rough. I missed those spares early and saw all the girls start to strike, so I knew I had to step up and take it one shot at a time."

The overall effort gave Shannon the chance to secure the lead.

"I just tried to keep breathing and said to myself, 'this is for the lead at Nationals,'" Shannon said. "I was just focused on throwing the ball and making a good shot and super excited that it worked out."

Now, they'll keep an eye on the leaderboards as some of the top women in the world converge on The Biggest Little City in the World for the USBC Queens and USBC Senior Queens. Many will be competing at the Women's Championships while in town.

The 2014 Women's Championships kicked off April 11 and will come to a close June 30.

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