BOWLING: Grand Forks' Paulette Swartz wins USBC national title
When Paulette Swartz competes in a bowling tournament, she doesn’t look at her score. She just keeps bowling.
She didn’t need to look at her bowling scores last week at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Senior Championships in Reno, Nev.
“Sometimes, you just have that feeling,” she said. “The ball was rolling good.”
So good, in fact, that the Grand Forks bowler won the women’s 65-to-69-year-old division at the USBC Senior Championships. Entering the tournament with a 149 average, Swartz finished with a nine-game average of 174.
It was her fourth appearance in the USBC national event. But she left Reno this time with a national title.
The 70-year-old right-hander, who qualified for the 2014 event while she was 69 years old, finished second in Division C in 2008 and entered the medal round at the top of the standings.
The momentum carried into her final three games, and she finished with a nine-game scratch total of 1,576. She received 63 pins of handicap per game and topped the field with 2,143.
“I’m so excited,” Swartz said after winning the tournament. “How do you explain winning first place at a national tournament? It’s absolutely wonderful. I really felt good today and worked really hard.”
The 2014 Senior Championships is a national event for bowlers who qualify through their respective state senior tournaments.
This year’s event in Reno featured more than 400 bowlers from across the country and Canada. The tournament featured two divisions — Open and Women’s — with six age classifications.
Bowlers competed for a share of a prize fund that totaled more than $40,000.
Swartz said she went to Reno with the idea of competing well.
“You always want to win but the chances are slim,” she said. “Some days are good; some aren’t. Some days the ball just doesn’t listen to you.”
At the urging of a friend, Swartz began bowling in 1976. She bowls once a week at Red Ray Lanes, in the Hi-Lo League.
A national title wasn’t on her mind when she began bowling.
But she came home from Reno last week with a crystal bowling pin.
“A national title isn’t something you get every day,” she said.