Cameron, 20, turns to pro shop, looks to pro career


September 26, 1993|By DON VITEK

It's time now for Kendra Cameron to take her place in the pro shop.

Cameron, a Gambrills resident, has packed a lifetime of tenpin bowling into her 20 years.

She started before her fifth birthday in a summer parent-child league with her mother, Sue, at Evergreen Lanes in San Jose, Calif.

And, for that birthday she received her first bowling ball, an 8-pound Black Beauty. Since that day, bowling balls usually haven't been far from her powerful right hand.

When she was 7, she was the Greater Santa Clara Valley Junior Bowler of the Month. When the family moved to Gambrills in 1982, Cameron began bowling at Crofton Bowling Centre in the Prep Division of the YABA.

In the 1987-88 season she won the Maryland State YABA Championship Tournament Scratch All-Events Award. In the Maryland State Team U.S.A. Qualifier, Cameron banged out her first 600 series; that was backed up with another 600 set.

In St. Louis she represented Maryland for the National Junior Bowling Championship, where she placed fifth nationwide in the handicap division.

In the 1988-89 season, she won the Western Chesapeake Bay Association Triple Crown Award.

In 1990, Cameron continued to excel on the lanes. Her championships include the Baltimore LPBT Pro-Am Senior Youth Championship, the Baltimore Association YABA All-Events title and the the B.P.O.E. Championship for Area II and the Maryland State NJBC Champion in the scratch division.

On March 23, 1991, Cameron, as a senior at Arundel High, fired games of 258, 228 and 214, setting the Crofton house record for women with the 700 series.

The next step for the Arundel High graduate was obvious: college bowling. Cameron joined the Essex Community College team.

Carl Cuneo, coach for the team, recognized her talent immediately.

"There's no doubt in my mind that Kendra has all the tools she needs to succeed in the college ranks," he said when she first arrived on campus.

For the next two years, Cameron anchored the ECC team and carried a 208 average at that level.

Now it's time to move on.

Last week Cameron, now a UMBC student, began operating the pro shop at Fort Meade Bowling Center.

Unless and until UMBC reactives its bowling team, Cameron is keeping her game sharp by bowling in the Women's All Star Association tournaments and two of the toughest scratch leagues in the Baltimore/Washington area -- the Tuesday Coors Lite Scratch at Crofton and the Monday Night Classic at Country Club Lanes.

At Country Club, she's the only woman in the league.

"The first night of the season, Kendra threw a 250-plus game to open her first series," said Bill Mend, publisher of the Baltimore Washington Bowling News. "And one of the guys came up to me and said, 'Who is [that] girl?' I told him, 'Probably a future professional bowler.'"

Cameron will bowl as an amateur in the Ladies Professional Bowlers Tour Hammer Eastern Open next month at Country Club Lanes.

It's a natural progression for truly serious bowlers to become interested with how and why a bowling ball moves on lanes under different conditions, and in fitting and drilling their own bowling balls. That's what she's doing now.

No matter how strong your interest is in fitting and drilling bowling balls, someone has to pass a lot knowledge on to you. Enter Mike Sainek.

Born and raised in the Baltimore area, he's a graduate of the University of Maryland and bowled for its team. After he graduated, Sainek coached the team for the next four years.

Owner of four 300 games and an 811 series, he joined the Fort Meade Bowling Center staff as assistant to manager Janet Alexander in April after leaving a similar position at Brunswick Columbia.

"The company [Brunswick] wanted to transfer me to New York state," Sainek said, "And I wanted to stay here in Maryland, so I made the switch."

Now Sainek is in a position to pass on his knowledge to Cameron.

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