Bloomington bowler leads Springfield women’s event

There was a time when Laura Stone thought her best bowling days were behind her.

But on Sunday, the former Illinois State University Division I bowler had perhaps his best day ever at one of Springfield’s most high-profile events.

Stone took the lead after the first lap of the Florence Scott Women’s Club 600 Tournament around town despite an inauspicious start with a score of 1,294 in five days at Showtime Lanes in Virden.

“I entered the tournament, like any other tournament really,” Stone said. “Mentally, I had goals that I wanted to achieve.”

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With newly drilled gear in hand, she rolled 213, 235, 268 games, her second career 300 game and a 278.

“It was the first time I had the opportunity to launch this kind of thing. And I threw strikes,” Stone said.

Round the Town resumes this weekend at AMF Strike ‘N Spare Lanes on Saturday and King Pin Lanes on Sunday.

Stone, of Bloomington, leads Kala Grigg by 102 pins. Lisa Timm sits in third place with a first-round score of 1,186 – six pins behind Grigg. Both Stone and Grigg are looking for their first Round the Town titles. Timm won Round the Town in 2007.

In the Elmer C. Fischer Men’s Club 700 Round the Town, Jimmy Young leads a tight field with his 1,511 score in six games on Saturday. Kurt Riley is second with 1,506 and Terrence Cloyd is third with 1,503. The top five men’s bowlers are separated by just 24 pins.

The Men’s Round the Town also resumes on Saturday at Strike ‘N Spare before concluding on Sunday at King Pin.

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Stone, 44, enjoyed a competitive bowling career after his college years at ISU. In 2007, she recorded her first part of 300.

But then injuries plagued her from 2010 until she underwent surgery in 2017 to shorten her ulna. It took two years to develop his strength, going from an eight-pound ball to a 14-pound ball.

“So in 2019 I started throwing a 14-pound ball again,” Stone said. “And I was like, ‘OK, I’m ready. I’m going to start bowling tournaments again and I’m going to be competitive.”

Then, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic affected everything, including Stone’s ability to train and bowl, but when bowling centers reopened, she said she was training just as much. as she could throughout 2020 and 2021.

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She bowls at Spare Time Lanes in Decatur — in a league with the tougher sport shooting oil pattern — and at Pheasant Lanes in Bloomington.

“I’ve always had wrist issues, it seems,” Stone said. “And it turns out that bone stuff was really the cause of it all those years.

“And the doctors would always say, oh, it’s tendonitis; just rest. And so, it turns out it’s not tendonitis.

Big opening round at the RTT

Stone was happy with how she finished her first game. She made a change of ball in the middle of the game and then finished with a series of strikes. After a 235 in game two, she was happy – although she saw several higher scores ahead of her.

Stone was bowling with her friend, Ashley Gargano, on Sunday. But when they compete in tournaments together, Stone said, their competitiveness sets in.

I start on a 280 step, straight shot, reserve, then I start to chain shots,” Stone said. “And (Gargano) was on a 279 pace. So we’re friends, but we’re also competitors. So we’re both trying to see who’s going, am I going to finish a pin higher than her? Are we going to tie? She shot 279 that game and I shot 268.”

Then Stone found perfection. But she didn’t realize what was happening until she stared at the monitor in the middle of the game. She said past experience told her that if she could make it past the eighth frame, she was confident she could make it to the 10th frame with a 300 chance.

“I’m as nervous as everyone else,” Stone said. “So I’m just sitting here trying to breathe, you know. And I wake up in the 10th and just try to stay calm. And you know, don’t forget to follow. ‘You’ve done nine in a row with no problem. Just follow and hit your mark.

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Strike, strike, strike.

She closed out the tournament going 9-10 lanes at Showtime to first pair in center. If she didn’t expect to make a 300, she also didn’t expect to follow it with her 278.

“And I punched (in the first frame) and then I kept punching,” Stone said. “I didn’t miss. And I kept thinking, ‘Oh, my God, what if I go back to back (300s)? And then I missed and that’s when I got the eight count.

Whether or not she manages to hold on to her lead, she will have a first lap she will long remember. And renewed confidence that after losing nearly a decade to injury, Stone can compete at a high level again.

Contact Ryan Mahan: 857-246-9756, [email protected], Twitter.com/RyanMahanSJR.

Joseph K. Bennett