Margaret Barnes and Michael Blair brought home to Howard County two first-place trophies from the National Junior Bowling Championship regional tournament at Greenway Bowl Odenton last month.
Margaret, 12, and Mike, 7, took the honors in separate divisions against the cream of Maryland's youth tenpin bowlers.
Margaret, of Ellicott City, is a sixth-grader at Ellicott Mills Middle School. She bowls in the Saturday morning youth league at Brunswick Normandy and carries an average of 107 with a high game of 203. She was entered in the Girls Grade 6-8 Handicap Division and threw a fine 690 series to take the first-place trophy.
Margaret was almost as pleased with the first-place trophy as she was when her hamster recently presented her with 10 -- that's 10 little hamsters. Not enough to keep her busy? Add a 10-week-old kitten named Cuddles.
Mike,of Owings Mills, who has been a bowler in the Saturday morning youthleague at Brunswick Normandy, bowled in the Grade 2-and-Under Handicap Division. He took first place with a 668 series.
If you would like to watch the youngsters in action, hop up to Cumberland at the end of this month. On April 28, they'll be trying to duplicate their efforts in the Maryland state finals.
Mike, who carries a 100 average, has thrown a 148 game with high series of 399. He has been bowlingfor three years.
"We live in Owings Mills, but I like the Normandy Center so much that we travel a pretty good ways to bowl there," Michael Blair, Mike's father, said.
He must like it; he bowls in three leagues and carries a 198 average.
Asked if he was excited about the tournament, the younger Mike said, "Naw," then "Well, maybe just a little."
How about Margaret? "I'm real excited. This weekend Iask mom to take me to Cumberland so I could practice where the tournament is going to be held."
That's what makes champions: dedication, ability and heart. Win or lose at the finals, Brunswick Normandy has a pair of champions.
Cheyenne Wilson, 13, was chosen the "Bowler of the Week" for the last week of March. She's been bowling since the age of 10 and carries a 138 average in the Saturday-morning youth league at Brunswick Normandy. The Ellicott City youth attends Dunloggin Middle School.
She won a first-place trophy in the mixed doubles of the Youth American Bowling Alliance tournament earlier thisyear. She has a high game of 246 and high set of 593. In the 1989-1990 season, she won the Brunswick Recreation Center Junior AchievementAward.
In the Junior Christmas Tournament, she took the JV singles title. In the 1989 adult-youth league, she won first place and rolled the high scratch game.
This year, Cheyenne has been bowling extremely well -- six times throwing games more than 50 points above heraverage, bowling four games over 200 and twice having series in excess of 500.
On April 6, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Maryland held their bowl-a-thon, the Super Alley Rally, at seven centers in the Baltimore metro area, including Brunswick Normandy.
"The annual bowl-a-thon is one of two major sources of funding forthe Big Brothers and Big Sisters," Lisa Fandetti, a caseworker for the organization, said at the Normandy lanes. "And it's the volunteerswho make it so successful."
It was successful this year, too. More than 700 bowlers participated, and more than $50,000 was raised.
Keeping success and champions in mind, you can watch the femaleprofessionals April 22-25 compete for the $45,000 Lady Fair Lanes Open at Fair Lanes University, Adelphi. Some of the players will include defending champion Michelle Mullen, Bowler of the Year Tish Johnson, Bowler of the Decade Lisa Wagner and Leila Wagner of Annapolis, oneof the best women bowlers in the country.