Chele Rutherford has two things to cheer about. First, she's the winner of the Harford County Women's Bowling Association's most coveted award, the Margaret Russell Memorial Award.
The honor is given forthe highest composite average in the association.
Rutherford's average was 194.078.
The Edgewood resident has a high game of 290 and a 751 series. Her average is the second highest in the state. In 1990, Rutherford was fourth in one of top tournaments in the state, The Queens.
The self-employed graphic artist and mother is married to Kevin Rutherford. He's a bowler too, with a 200 average. Last year she bowled in the Baugess Ladies League at Bel Air Bowl and says she can't wait to get back on the lanes.
What's holding her up her return? Well the other thing to cheer about, of course.
A baby is due in May. "So I'll be back on the lanes in June, forsure," Rutherford said.
Robert Briggs of Bel Air bowls at Forest Hill Lanes in the Monday Men's league, where he carries a 168 average. Briggs bowls in just one league because the other nights he attends Harford Community College, where he's studying political science.
"I'd bowl more if I wasn't so busy with college," he said. "Butin November I joined the National Amateur Bowlers Club. On the weekends I bowl in one of their tournaments."
After just a few months of tournament competition, Briggs fired his career high set, 604, at Seminary Lanes in Alexandria, Va. Last weekend he beat out 196 other tenpin bowlers for the $1,000 first prize in the NABI tournament.
His final game of 232 in the stepladder finals beat Ronnie Steele of Forestville, who had a 214.
"I didn't do anything different, exceptI was using a 16-pound Nitro bowling ball that I got for Christmas,"Briggs said. That helped him add 10 pins on his average, he thinks.
It's mid-season for bowlers, and the tenpin bowlers at Bel Air Bowl are rounding into shape just fine.
Janice and Kenneth Johnson of Street bowl three nights a week: Monday and Friday at Bel Air Bowl and Thursday in the Kings and Queens League at Forest Hill Lanes.
Janice has a 169 average with a high game of 266 and a high set of 609 and has been bowling about 20 years.
Like many bowlers, Janice has seen her share of 7-10 splits, and like many bowlers, she never converted the splits. Last month that changed.
"I was on a double when I got the 7-10 split and had a pretty good game going," Janicesaid. "Somebody yelled, 'Throw it hard!', and I did.
"I knew I missed it and turned away, and then people were yelling, 'You got it! You got it!' But I still had my back turned and didn't see one pin roll, come off the sideboard and roll into the other for the spare."
Never turn you back on 'em. You can't trust the pins.
John Maffei and Phil Blake trusted their game and it paid off in 300 games for both.
Blake, bowling in the Monday First Nighters League at Bel Air Bowl, threw his first 300 game January 13. The 20 year-old Bel Air resident carries a 192 average and has a 702 series.
"I was using a new ball I got for Christmas, a 15-pound AMF Sumo," he recalled. "Even though I weigh 120 pounds, I get good carry on it."
Blake is a freshman at Harford Community College and works as a pin chaser at BelAir Bowl.
Maffei, Fallston resident and carpenter for A.J. General Contractors, threw his 300 game Feb. 4 in the Tuesday 770 Major league at Bel Air Bowl. His wife, Lisa, carries a 1,885 average.
"Lisa's very steady with her game," he said. "I'm kind of up and down, but my game has improved a lot since Marty Letscher started working with me."
Understandable. Letscher is a PBA bowler and one of the most knowledgeable bowling instructors in the mid-Atlantic.
You'd think that would be enough excitement at Bel Air Bowl, wouldn't you? ButHarry Fink added to the thrills. Harry made the Big Four Split -- twice in less than a month.