When the smoke had cleared from the 68-lane Greenway Bowl East duckpin center in Baltimore and the noise had died down to a rumble, a team from Mount Airy Lanes had won a national title last weekend in the 18th annual Coca-Cola National Duckpin Youth Championships.
The event featured 32 teams competing for four divisional titles. All of the teams included qualifiers from state and regional tournaments. The different divisions were made up of preps (ages 7-9), bantams (10-12), juniors (13-15) and majors (16-21).
Teams represented four regions in Maryland, plus Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia and metropolitan Washington -- the primary regions of duckpin bowling.
The Mount Airy team of Angie Robertson, JoelLogue, Sean Woods, Jeff Fleming and Jimmy Thompson rolled to victoryin the junior division competition.
Robertson, 15, lives in MountAiry with her parents, Marcia and James, and bowls in the Saturday Morning Youth League at Mount Airy. She will be an 11th-grader at South Carroll High this fall.
"Anything I say might sound conceited," she said. "So I'll just say I had a great time."
Robertson, smoothand deliberate on the lanes, carries a 98 average, with a high game of 162 and a high set of 362. With her steady performance, she is an ideal lead-off bowler for the team.
Joel Logue, 14, lives in MountAiry with his parents, Bonnie and Doug, and will be in the ninth grade at South Carroll next year. Joel is a football fullback and middlelinebacker and plays shortstop and pitches in baseball when he's noton the duckpin lanes.
Joel has a 113 average, with a high game of180 and a high set of 432; with his serious approach to bowling, he makes a great second man for the team.
Sean Woods, 16, holds down the No. 3 spot on the team. He lives in Ijamsville, Frederick County,with his parents, Patricia and John, and bowls in the Saturday Morning Youth League at Mount Airy.
Woods has a smooth delivery with a snap at the release point that helps him carry a 96 average with a 175 high game.
"I'm going to Disney World!" is what Woods exclaimed when the last ball was thrown, imitating the commercial endorsements that many profession athletes are handsomely rewarded for.
Fireballing Jeff Fleming, 15, is probably fed up with his coaches telling him to slow down his delivery, so I won't say anything. Fleming has been bowling since he was 6 years old and lives in Mount Airy with his parents, Gina and Jeff. Gina also coaches his team, while Jeff coachesthe major division team from Mount Airy.
Jeff Jr. has a 119 average, with a high game of 189 and a high series of 470, and he attends South Carroll.
Thompson, 16, a bowler since he was 10, lives in Damascus, Montgomery County, with his mother, Linda, and attends Damascus High. He bowls in the Mount Airy Youth League on Saturdays, where he carries a 123 average with his left-handed hook ball; his high game is 182, and his high set is 460.
Thompson's 145 game and 381 series were the tournament high scratch figures in the junior division. That's one of the reasons he is such a good anchor bowler for the team.
"I love bowling," Thompson said. "I'm having a great year, improving every week."
Gina Fleming, the coach for the winning team from Mount Airy, said it best: "Everyone had a ball. Everyone enjoyed the tournament."
She didn't say it, but I know she now has braggingrights for the rest of the year over her husband.
Jeff's major team of Steve Conners, Ron Woods, Mike Conners, Claude Sier and Jeff Henderson ran into a red-hot Connecticut team that would not be denied victory on this particular day.
How hot were the Connecticut winners? The anchor man, Erik Pellett, threw a 201 game and a 509 series.
The prep division was won by the Falls Church, Va.,team and the bantam division by the team from Fair Lanes Arbutus in Baltimore County.
But in the end there were nothing but winners atthis event; in victory and in defeat, the bowlers conducted themselves as ladies and gentlemen.
"This was an excellent group of kids,"said Norman Fleury, president of the National Duckpin Youth Association. "They were well-behaved, they bowled well. Everyone, bowlers andspectators, enjoyed the event. This is an example of a well-run tournament."