LAS VEGAS – One team consists of bowlers from four states. The other team traveled just 63 miles to compete this weekend at the South Point Bowling Plaza. What do they have in common?
They are the new leaders in their respective divisions at the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
Not long after the team shakeup, noteworthy individual scores were shot in the same two divisions – Standard and Classified.
Lightning of Cheyenne, Wyoming, struck first Sunday afternoon, taking the lead in the Standard Team with games of 1,003, 935 and 952 for a 2,890 total, while Pahrump Nugget Bowl 3 of Pahrump, Nevada, was a few lanes away surging to the top of the Classified Team standings with games of 869, 878 and 810 for a 2,557 total.
The Lightning roster included bowlers from four states – Nevada, Texas, Utah and Wyoming – and there’s some sentimental attachment to Las Vegas for team captain Michael Langhoff, who hails from Cheyenne.
Langhoff led the effort with a 646 series and was joined by Frank Neumann (Texas – 593), Middland Jackson (Utah – 563), Russell Smith (Utah – 563) and Matthew Palase (Nevada – 525).
It was a double celebration for Langhoff, who prior to marching to the lanes, received a plaque and chevron to commemorate his 30 years of USBC Open Championships participation.
“My first USBC Open Championships was here in Las Vegas at the old convention center, back in 1986,” Langhoff said. “Vegas holds a special place in my heart, and it was really special to be recognized today.”
Pahrump Nugget Bowl 3 took the hourlong drive down State Highway 160 to South Point and cruised straight to the top of the standings.
Named after a hotel, casino and bowling center in Pahrump, the team was led by Edmund Manning’s 616 series. He was followed by team captain Randall Cardiff (537), Larry Attebery (522), Laura Blankenship (471) and Douglas Tarver (411).
“It’s great to be one of the teams in this tournament representing Nevada, and it’s an honor to be on top of the team leaderboard,” Cardiff said.
As an aside, Tarver is 85 years old and made his eighth Open Championships appearance. His debut came in Reno, Nevada, in 2010.
In Standard Singles on Sunday evening, 17-time tournament participant Daryl Stephens of Gilbert, Arizona, beat his best tournament series by 98 pins and catapulted into the lead with a 705 total. He had games of 214, 268 and 223.
Stephens had only broken the 600 barrier one time in his Open Championships career, and that was a 607 series at the 2008 event in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The 50-year-old right-hander and his team enjoyed a short stay at the top of the Standard Team standings, before Lightning took care of business Sunday. Stephens and his Alyson’s Five teammates bowled on the tournament’s opening squad Saturday night.
For Jose Ruiz of Brighton, Colorado, team play this year wasn’t as memorable, but he was consistent across the event’s two oil patterns and made his way into the lead in Classified Singles and Classified All-Events.
The 46-year-old right-hander closed his eighth Open Championships appearance with games of 189, 198 and 197 for a 584 singles series. He added 590 in team and 549 in doubles for a leading 1,723 total.
The Standard Division includes individuals with entering tournament averages of 156-175 and teams with combined entering averages of 776-875. The Classified Division is for bowlers with averages of 155 and below and teams with combined averages of 775 and below.
The 2022 Open Championships began Saturday and will run for 129 consecutive days through July 18.
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