Karen Sapp never thought she would hit a 700 set.
"And I didn't really believe it even after it happened," she said.
Sapp began bowling "about 18 years ago" and currently bowls in two leagues, the Tuesday morning mixed trio at Brunswick Normandy and the Thursday morning Gems of Columbia at Brunswick Columbia.
Last November, in the Normandy Mixed League, she posted her career high game, a 263.
"I was so nervous that my knees were shaking," she said after that game.
But it wasn't until Oct. 13 in the Gems of Columbia league that the Glenwood resident really knew what nervous was.
That Thursday morning Sapp's first game was a 245.
"I started out the season bowling pretty bad," Sapp said. "Last year I averaged 177, but at the start of this season it was down. At first, I couldn't even get a 500 set."
That didn't last too long. First she hit her 500 series. A week later, she fired a 600 set.
Then with her 14-pound Rhino and her tender hook, Sapp was on her way to a great day.
"The second game, I started striking, and after I had six in a row, I started shaking," she said. "Then I got the seventh, and I really began to get nervous because a crowd started gathering in back of the lanes to watch."
When the second game was over the score read 242.
"That's when someone came up to me and said, 'You only need a 213 game for a 700 set,' " she said.
"I didn't really pay attention to it. It just never entered my mind that I would ever have a chance for a 700 series. I just thought, 'Oh, no, that can't be right,' and started the third game."
That last game wasn't anything special.
"I didn't throw a lot of strikes in that game," she said. "But I made all my spares and kept the game clean, but it wasn't until after I threw the last ball that everyone started yelling, 'You did it. You did it,' that I really started counting up the games."
That third game was the smallest of the three, a 214, but added to the 245 and the 242, the total was 701.
Still going in their 80s
Roy Heck and Pete Reichardt have a lot in common; they bowl tenpins at Brunswick Normandy, they're in their 80s , and they have medals from last month's Maryland Senior Olympics.
"I guess you could say I'm a steady kind of bowler," Heck said.
The Fairmont, W.Va., native and Catonsville resident started bowling in the '30s.
"When we moved to Baltimore, I had to bowl duckpins," Heck said. "There weren't any tenpins."
When tenpin bowling became popular in the Baltimore area, he switched back to his boyhood game.
He's been bowling in the Monday O.W.L.S. league at Normandy since his retirement from Westinghouse about 15 years ago.
He averages in the 160s, has a career high game of 280 and a high set of 716 and last month his steady game carried him to victory in the 80-85 age group in the Senior Olympics.
"I didn't do anything unusual," he said. "I didn't have a bunch of strikes, just one double and I made my spare breaks."
Throwing a 15-pound Ebonite bowling ball, he improved on his bronze-medal finish of last year.
This year that steady bowling was good for the gold.
Reichardt of Ellicott City, 84, bowls in the Thursday Club 55 league at Normandy lanes and seems to just get a little better every year.
He's fired a career high game of 277 and a high series of 681 and carries a 162 average with a big, booming hook ball.
"I'll do pretty good in practice," he said, "but it seems that in a tournament I tighten up. I never seem to do very well."
This time he didn't tighten up too much. He bowled well enough to bring home the bronze medal.