Pasadena resident Paula Cinelli has been bowling since the age of 5 with one goal in mind.
She wanted to be a professional bowler and dreamed of some day winning a national tournament.
Cinelli, has been on the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour for more than a year, and although she has yet to cash in a national tournament, she has not lost sight of her goal.
"It's something I've always wanted to do," said Cinelli, a Northeast High School graduate, who, at 21, is one of the younger players on the tour.
The next stop on Cinelli's quest for a title is Baltimore's Country Club Lanes, site of the Hammer Eastern Open.
Qualifying rounds began yesterday and conclude today, when the field is cut to 24. From there, the top five advance to the stepladder finals on Thursday.
After yesterday's early rounds, Cinelli tied for 27th place with a 210 average for 12 games.
Anne Marie Duggan was the leader after the first day's qualifying with a 229 average.
Against bowling's elite, Cinelli is considered a long shot to win, but she does have an opportunity to cash. Money will be awarded to the top 37.
This is the fifth national event that Cinelli has played in. She has limited her travels to Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
She works full time as a secretary for Compliance Environmental, and Cinelli said her boss "is pretty cool" about letting her off for tournaments.
"I may start playing in more [national] tournaments. It depends on how well I do," she said.
Cinelli has found more success in regional tournaments, where she has cashed in seven of the eight events she has entered.
She is regarded on the tour as a steadily improving player. And Cinelli says she may have turned a corner in her career with her victory last month in the Maryland State Queens Tournament.
Cinelli defeated Annapolis native and ESPN analyst Leila Wagner in the tournament final for the right to represent Maryland in the national Queens Tournament in Tucson, Ariz., in May.
"When I won it, I was in shock," Cinelli said. "But I think it has allowed me to be more confident in myself."
Cinelli is attempting to overcome her lack of confidence. She said it has been her lack of mental toughness rather than anything mechanical that has hindered her performances.
"My first block, I'm always timid. My second block, I attack, and then my third block, I'm like I'm dead,' " she said. "The mental aspect of the game is definitely what I need to improve upon."
Persistence, however, is not something Cinelli needs to work on.
"A year from now, or five years from now, I'll still be out here bowling, trying to win my first title."
1, Anne Marie Duggan, Edmond, Okla., 2,752. 2, Julie Gardner, Huntington, Calif., 2,715. 3, Carolyn Dorin, Richardson, Texas, 2,707. 4, Kim Couture, Titusville, Fla., 2,705. 5, Sue Neidig, Miami, 1,665. 6, Cathy Dorin, Canyon, Texas, 2655.
7 (tie), Joycee Davis, Big Spring, Texas, and Marianne DiRupo, Succasunna, N.J., 2,649. 9, Dawn Thorkildson, Minneapolis, 2,647. 10, Debbie McMullen, Denver, 2,642. 11, Kris McCune, Munster, Ind., 2,614. 12, Vicki Steensen, Clinton, Iowa, 2602.
13, Lisa Wagner, Palmetto, Fla., 2,601. 14, Kari Murph, Dayton, Ohio, 2,594. 15, Leanne Barrette, Yukon, Okla., 2,587. 16, Robin Romeo, Van Nuys, Calif., 2,582. 17, Lorrie Nichols, Algonquin, Ill., 2578. 18, Kendra Cameron, Gambrills, 2,573.
19, Patricia Renshaw, Newane, Del., 2,571. 20, Jan Schmidt, Rochelle, Ill., 2,567. 21, Carol Norman, Oklahoma City, 2,562. 22, Sandra Jo Shiery, Bronson, Mich., 2,555. 23, Laurie Yucho, Portland, Ore., 2,550. 24, Carol Gianotti, Perth, Australia, 2,542. 25, Jackie Sellers, DuBois, Pa., 2,537.
Other local bowlers: 27 (tie), Paula Cinelli, Pasadena, 2,520. 37, a-Chele Rutherford, Bel Air, 2,482. 43 (tie), a-Yvonne Burdette, Edgewood, 2,464. 46, Leila Wagner, Annapolis, 2,461. 52, Karen Shafer, Baltimore, 2,446. 59, a-Tina Crouse, Chesapeake, 2,430. 73, Ronelda DeShields, Pikesville, 2,344.
83, a-Antoinette Jordan, Baltimore, 2,209. 84, a-Janeen Morgan, Randallstown, 2,203. 86, a-Barbara Blevins, Aberdeen, 2,170. 89, Olivia Rice, Baltimore, 2,142. 91, a-Tammy Freeman, Waldorf, 2,113. 92, a-Joyce Lane, Baltimore, 2,101.
What: $75,000 Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour event sponsored by Hammer
Where: Country Club Lanes, Baltimore
Schedule: Today: 10 a.m., squad B, six games qualifying; 1 p.m., squad A, six games qualifying (field cut to 24); 7 p.m., top 24, eight games match play.
Tomorrow: 11 a.m., 7 p.m., top 24, eight games match play (field cut to five)
Thursday: 7 p.m., stepladder finals
TV: ESPN, tape-delayed to air on Friday, 12:30 p.m.
Tickets: For information, call (410) 686-2556.