Waltz spends time in high-altitude territory

BOWLING

June 06, 1993|By DON VITEK

Lee Waltz knows what it means to carry a high duckpin average, the improbability of posting high games every week of a 35-week season.

He knows about the difficulty of concentrating on every game, every frame, every ball every time.

Bowling since he was 15, the Carroll County native has spent more than half his life bowling duckpins. In the '80s when he was bowling more often, Waltz carried a 150 average.

LTC Now vice-president for First America of Maryland bank, he bowls in two leagues -- the Wednesday Triples at Mount Airy lanes and the Monday Men's Triples at Thunderhead Westminster.

Waltz has a career-high game of 235, a high series of 586. In 1979, he set the world record for seven games (1,277) that later was broken by Hall of Famer Jeff Pyles. That was a 182 average.

Last season, Jon Owens had the top male average in the BaltimoreBowlers Association at 152.246. Why all the fuss about high averages?

Because this season Waltz started out with a phenomenal 160 average in the Westminster Thunderhead League. At Christmas time he was still holding that figure.

The season's over now, so what happened to the average?

"I sure didn't hold the 160," said Waltz. "I was pretty surprised that I was able to maintain it for so many months.

"Why the high average? I've no idea except that I was concentrating more. I still use the same old Manhatten bowling balls I've had for the past 20 years and I bowled in just the two leagues as I have for years. Just concentration, I guess."

During the season, Waltz threw four 500-plus series and had three 204 games. But, as is to be expected, the average slipped.

At Mount Airy he finished with 143. At Thunderhead Westminster, he posted 148 for the season.

How tough is it to carry a 148 average for the year? The average league bowler is happy if he can throw a 444 series once or twice a season. You have to do that every time to hold a 148 average.

Coors Cutter qualifiers

Gina Lowman and Jim Riesberg of Mount Airy Lanes have averages

of 128 and 144, respectively, and both qualified for the Coors Cutter $25,000 Duckpin Handicap Tournament locally.

Then, against the duckpin bowlers from across the nation, they fired excellent six-game totals on May 22 to advance to the television finals.

Riesberg had to throw a 186 in his last game to make the 10th and last spot. Lowman had a 149 in her last game to capture the 10th spot in the women's division.

Both were defeated in their first stepladder match -- Lowman by Donna Rosenthal of Southwest lanes, 148-145, and Riesberg by Robert Breen Jr. of Fair Lanes Bowie, 182-162.

At the end of the nine-game stepladder finals the winners were, in the Women's Division, Julie Wantz of Thurmont Lanes, and in the Men's Division, Jimmy Taylor of Turner's Southside Lanes. Both winners received $3,000.

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