Carol Tracey of Jessup started out bowling duckpins, as so many Marylanders did. Seven years ago she switched to tenpins. Since then she's become one of the top female tenpinners in Maryland, holding the Baltimore-area records for top average, 206, and top high three-game series.
Tracey, secretary-treasurer of Ten Oaks Construction Co. Inc., which her husband, Charles, operates, also finds time to work parttime at the Supreme Sports Club in Columbia. She bowls at Brunswick Columbia in the Wednesday night league and the Monday Employees league. Her career high game is 289, and her high set is 746.
In the past three years, Tracey has bowled against professionals whenever possible, most recently in the Hammer Eastern Open at Country Club Lanes and the Columbia 300 Delaware Open at Holiday Lanes in Claymont, Del.
Against the amateur bowlers, Tracey does well. She is the only female bowler to win Amateur Bowler Tour events in the Baltimore-Washington area. Last year she placed fourth in the LPBA regional event at Annandale, Va.
"A lot of the credit for the improvement to my game has to go to Jim Podowski," Tracey said. "He's been coaching me over the past year and he's been a big help."
Doris Nickey, 75, of Columbia is a tireless bowler who enthusiastically recommends the sport to other older people.
"You're never too old to bowl," she insists.
She bowls at Brunswick Columbia in a Monday night league, a Wednesday night league, a Thursday morning league and aFriday night league. She's also in the Severna Park Travel league.
Last month, bowling on the Golden Nugget team in the Gems of Columbia league, Nickey put together games of 154, 202 and 224 for a nice 580 series. That is still a little short of her career high set of 606. Her high game is 245, and she carries a 165 average.
Nickey retired from her job as a clerk at Ecolab Inc. a few years ago.
She played golf as a child, was a low handicap golfer at an early age and entertained the idea of turning pro.
"But there's a lot of travel on the golf tour and a lot of expense, so I never tried it," Nickey said.
"Now arthritis in my shoulders hampers my swing so much that I've given up the game. Since I played so much golf and I still do a lot of gardening, my hands and wrists have remained strong. I did dropdown to a 12-pound bowling ball from 16 pounds. And two years ago I switched to a fingertip grip. It took about three months for that grip to feel comfortable, but it gives me more revolutions on the ball. I recommend it to everyone."
* Fair Lanes will play host to the first Harry Dowda Open Mixed Doubles Tournament this weekend at Fair Lanes Westview.
* Fair Lanes Middlesex will be visited by the greatest men duckpinners when the Fair Lanes Men's Masters takes place Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9-10. First prize is $4,000. Jeff Pyles is the defending champion.