Christine Duvall, a North Carolina native who has lived in Carroll County since 1938, recently returned to the duckpin lanes.
"Years ago, when I was working at Springfield Hospital we had our own league at Libertytown lanes," said the Sykesville resident. "Then I didn't bowl for a long time, but about three years ago I started again."
She bowls in two leagues, the four-team Thursday morning league at Fair Lanes Owings Mills and the Monday morning league at Thunderhead Westminster.
On Thursday morning, Duvall carries a 105 average, on Mondays it's 103. Lately, she has been pounding out games that are far above both of those figures.
On Monday, April 4, she started with a game of 97; her last game was 88. But the middle game was something else.
In that second game Duvall strung five strikes and tacked on a spare for six marks in a row.
"Then I missed the 200 game," she said. "In the last frame I had a one-pinner and I was really going for the 200 game but I missed it."
That left her with a career-high single game of 193, beating her average by 90 pins.
Going to the nationals
The $15,000 Coors Duckpin Classic national tournament will draw duckpin bowlers from North Carolina to New England to Hagerstown this weekend to compete for the $1,500 first-place prize in both men and women's divisions.
Philip Bennett and Steve Barnes will be among them. Both men qualified at Thunderhead Westminster for the national event.
Bennett lives in Eldersburg and bowls in two leagues, the Tuesday 550 Men's and the Thursday Spare Shots.
"I bowled for about 15 years then quit for about 15 years and now I've been bowling for about two years," he said.
Bennett carries a 127 average and has a career-high game and set of 208 and 458, respectively.
In the qualifying round of the Coors event, he posted a handicapped total of 868.
"I concentrated a little more [in the qualifying round]," Bennett said. "And I guess I had a little more luck."
Barnes, born and raised in Westminster, has been bowling duckpins for about half of his 24 years.
Bowling in two leagues, the Sunday Mixed and the Monday Mixed at Thunderhead Westminster, he carries a 135 average. His career-high game is 220; his high set is 499.
"I'll remember that 499 for a long time all right," Barnes said. "Actually, I blew the 500 set. I had three spare set-ups in the last three frames and missed all of them."
In the qualifying round, Barnes fired games that ranged from 130 to 170, averaging 153 for the five games. With handicap, he totaled 905.
A worthy substitute
Wayne Sier asked his brother, Claude, to sub on his team in the Tuesday night industrial league at Mount Airy Lanes. The other team probably will never forgive him.
On April 5, Claude Sier, a 129-average duckpin bowler, fired a 201 game. He added games of 160 and 142 for a 503 series.
The next night, Sier pounded out a 479 set.
"I should have had a another 200 game and 500 set," Sier said, "but I blew two one-pinners."