A team of Anne Arundel tenpin bowlers, the Maryland Free State #1, placed seventh in Division I (160-179 average) at the Women's International Bowling Congress Championship Tournament last month in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The team of Peggy Mekins, Boots Jarrett, Pat Baker, Becky Patterson and Pat Chambers banged out a 2,646 set, just 42 pins off the winners' pace. That was good enough to bring home a check for $1,200.
Mekins just recently moved from Pasadena to Severn. A secretary for the Maryland State Police, she began her bowling career "about 15 years ago."
Earlier this year at Crofton Bowling Centre in the Baltimore Women's Bowling Association City Tournament, Mekins teamed with Patterson to win the doubles event.
She bowls in four centers -- Bowl America Glen Burnie, Fair Lanes Ritchie, Fair Lanes Southdale and Greenway Odenton. Last season she finished with a 183 average, her career high game and set are 269 and 683, respectively.
"It was the first time I bowled with the team and I was a little nervous," Mekins said, "But thank goodness I bowled pretty good. And Salt Lake City is just beautiful, the people were just great."
Basically a down-and-in bowler, Mekins used just a single bowling ball in the tournament, a 15-pound Columbia U-Dot.
Jarrett, originally from Catonsville, lives in Glen Burnie and bowls in the Monday Morning Tigers and the Thursday B&O/C&O leagues at Ritchie.
Jarrett is no stranger to WIBC tournaments.
"This is my 28th consecutive WIBC Tournament," she said. "I've been going since 1967."
And bowling tenpins since 1960; prior to that she was a duckpin bowler.
Using a 14-pound Pro Hook bowling ball she averaged 158 last season, down from her career high 179 average. Her high game is 267, high set 669.
Patterson, born and raised in Anne Arundel County, lives in Glen Burnie. Bowling since she was in elementary school, she carries a 175 average in league play at Bowl America Glen Burnie, and Fair Lanes Ritchie and Southdale.
Her high game is 269, her best set 698. She shot the 698 just a couple of weeks ago, games of 253, 222 and 223.
"Now I'm looking for that 700 set," said Patterson, an office manager for a dental office.
Patterson found the lane conditions at Salt lake City to be a little different from the local centers.
"I thought that the lane conditions could be a little better," she said. "It was difficult to score really well but on the other hand the town and the folks there were just great."
Chambers lives in Severna Park and bowls in leagues on Monday, Thursday and Friday at Fair Lanes Ritchie, Bowl America Glen Burnie and Annapolis Bowl.
A certified care technician at North Arundel Hospital, Chambers has a 278 high game and a 729 high series. Bowling since 1966, she, too, found the lanes conditions at Salt Lake City tough.
"If you didn't keep your bowl speed up you were in trouble," she said, "But the team did pretty good, for a while we were in third place and seventh isn't too bad against the tough competition at the tournament."
Not bad at all. More than 40,000 women competed in the tournament, which opened March 31 at Ritz Classic Bowl and Fairmont Bowl in Salt Lake City. The event's prize fund totaled nearly $1 million.
A big payoff
Paul DeGraff of Pasadena bowls in the Tuesday league at Riviera Bowl and the Friday Night Travel league.
Now with a 145 average and a high game of 226 and a high set of 548, DeGraff has just returned from the DPBA Pro Tour stop at Lucky Strike Lanes in Mansfield, Conn., with a first-place check for $2,200.
"I was seeded fourth after the qualifying games," DeGraff said. "I had to win all four of the [stepladder] games to get that check."
He shot scores of 193, 140 and 137 to get to top-seeded Bill Pitera.
And that final match went down to the wire, the last frame, the last ball and when the last pin was pounded into the pit, DeGraff had a 156-155 victory.
"I've been bowling since I could walk," he said. "My mother used to bowl five nights a week, and I would go with her and as soon as I could walk to the foul line I started bowling."