Holly Maring started bowling last year. The 9-year-old tenpin bowler is a quick study. Last month at Elk Lanes in Elkton, she won the Grades 3-5 division of the National Junior Bowling Congress State Finals.
The Taneytown resident is the daughter of Ron and Cheryl Maring and bowls at Taneytown Thunderhead in the Saturday morning YABA league.
"Holly took her Christmas shopping and bought her own bowling ball," her father said. "And had Danny Haines [pro shop operator at Thunderhead] fit and drill it for her. I'd say that's serious. But we never expected this [first place in the state finals]."
Beginning her bowling career when a girlfriend asked her to fill in a team spot at Taneytown last year, Holly is averaging 62 in her first year of tenpin bowling.
"But she's been averaging about 100 in tournaments," Ron Maring said. "And she does have a natural hook on her ball. Nobody taught her that."
Throwing her 6-pound Mickey Mouse ball, Holly has posted a high game of 120 and a high series of 250. The third-grader at Elmer Wolf Elementary had to win three games in the stepladder finals at Elk Lanes to advance to the National Finals in Kansas City, Mo., on July 14-18.
She threw a 216 (all scores are with handicap) against Angela Humphrey of Brunswick Perry Hall Lanes's 193. Then, against Toni Federici of Crofton Lanes, she shot a 229 against Toni's 208.
In the final game, she defeated Amy Bovey of White Oak lanes, 208-207.
Bowlers of the Month
On June 6, Thunderhead Westminster will play host to the Bowler of the Year event. Each Bowler of the Month from the previous season is invited.
John Schaeffer and Larry Fritts will be there.
Schaeffer, a duckpin bowler, fired a 169 game and a 446 set to capture the April Bowler of the Month.
A Carroll County native and a resident of Hanover, he carries a 122 average in three leagues -- Sunday Mixed and Tuesday Men's at Westminster Thunderhead and a Friday night league at Hampstead Bowling Center.
"Last year I bowled in one league and carried a 125 average. This year I'm bowling in three leagues and my average goes down," he said, "Figure that out."
Schaeffer owns a 200 game and a career high set of 493. And right now his average is 156.
"In the first week of bowling in a summer league I threw a 470 series. At least for one week I've got a 156 average," he said.
Fritts and his wife, Janie, moved from Howard County to Finksburg last year.
"We bowled in two leagues last year," Larry said. "This year we're just bowling in one league, the Friday Merchandise league at Thunderhead Westminster."
Both have dropped in average, Larry from the high 180s to 163 and Janie from the 170s to 160.
Bowling off and on for 15 years, Larry has a career high game of 289 and a high series of 749. The last few months his scores have been improving, averaging once again in the 180s.
In the April Bowler of the Month event he posted a score that was 129 pins over average to capture the crown.
"I was using one of the new Burgundy Hammer bowling balls," he said. "I like the swing of it."
New leagues forming
Hampstead Bowling Center is starting a Hammer-Am league on June 6 that runs through Aug. 29. The 13-week summer league will be a mixed and handicapped event.
All bowlers will receive a Burgundy bowling ball and a entry fee into the Pro/Am of the 1993 Hammer Eastern Open at Country Club Lanes in Baltimore.
* Thunderhead Westminster is forming a league for children ages 7 and under. The bumper league will bowl at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. on Saturdays, starting June 26.