SEBRING — The Special STARS Bowling County Games were held last Saturday at Heartland Bowl. Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, a two-time Professional Woman Bowler of the Year, presented awards to top bowlers after the match.
Ballard, who has been bowling since she was 6 years old, was there for a special event at the bowling center that afternoon and arrived at the end of the Special STARS bowling event to present bowlers their ribbons. She is a member of the 2014 Adult Team USA.
“I want to be good enough to bowl on Team USA,” said Special STARS athlete Travis Moss. Ballard reassured him that with lots of practice, anything is possible.
There were approximately 100 bowlers competing in two different shifts — one for ramps and bumpers and another for singles, doubles and teams. Those placing first and second will advance to District Games on Saturday at Heartland Bowl to compete against Hardee and Okeechobee Counties.
Special STARS honored bowlers in various categories.
Frances Goff won Most Improved and Best Female Assisted Ramp Bowler with a 96 high game, 81 average and 14 pin improvement, while Tim Johnson won Most Improved and Best Male Assisted Ramp Bowler with a 106 high game, 80 average, and 19 pin improvement.
Other most improved bowlers were Leslie Hollandy, male unassisted ramp, 19 pin improvement; Patty Wilfong, female unassisted ramp, 20 pin improvement; Debbie Weisgerber, bumper bowler, 14 pin improvement; Frankie Smelser, male bowler, 42 pin improvement; and Helena Spies, female bowler, 38 pin improvement.
The best bowlers were Jeannene Eby, female unassisted ramp with 153 high game and 109 average; Tony Bock, male unassisted ramp with 150 high game, 116 average; Katie Gibson with 139 high game, 118 average; and Brent Culbreth with male bowler with 183 high game and 140 average.
In unassisted ramp singles bowling, the athletes placing first were Sara Canali and Kelly Gilmore. Second place winners were Alan Kufnowski and Jeannene Eby. Third place winners were Ruth Hancock and Hugh Sims. Fourth place winners were Tammie Fennell and fifth place was won by Leslie Hollandy.
The unassisted ramp doubles team of Tony Bock and Emily Harrison defeated Herb Adkins and Mac Smith to get first place. Lorraine Steeves and Stephanie Travi won third.
In the assisted ramp division, first place winners were Jim Kentfield, Bryan Bishop and Carlita Hawkins. Second place winners were Jimmy Phipps, Frances Goff and Charles Hodgkinson. Third place was won by Carl Smith and Laverta Kasper.
In bumpers, Cody Crouse and Garrett Knowles won first; Edrei Lopez and Joshua Connor won second; Kenny Roberts and Debbie Weisgerber won third; and Dasan Jordon won fourth.
In women’s singles, first place winners were Helena Spies, Dama Massey and Beth Blanchard. Second place winners were Maria Concepcion, Becky Anders, Sharon Carpenter and Joshua Croston. Third place winners were Annie McHale, Angie Luft and Tammy Furman. Fourth place winners were Maricel Moreno, Sue Randolph and Penny Holder.
In the men’s singles, first place winners were Andre Rushing, James Beavers, Jonathan Beavers, Rob Ward and James Reed. Second place winners were Joshua Croston, Ronnie Gladson, Raymond Jackson and Bobby Brewington. Third place winners were Perry Bright and Billy Owens.
Winners in the doubles competition were Jaime Brown and Travis Moss, first; Sue Talios and Mike Eldred, second; and Minnie Sue Reid and Maria Rivera, third.
Team winners were Dakota Anderson, Shawn Squires, Katie Gibson, Gerald Bass, Elizabeth Jordon and Brent Culbreth, first; Nancy Cassels, Betty Burnett, Frankie Smelser, Tim Dowdy, Ricky Marino and John Smith, second; Robert Lengyel, Larry Rivers, Kerrie Baker, Alex Lopez, Amy Matthews and Gregg Ruggs, third; Todd Gathercoal, Ilana Levy, Bill Wheeler, Nicole Warner, Eva Monk and Eddie Thomas, fourth; and Gwen Beavers, Tim Brown, Beth Horn, Annie Horn, Nicole Lewis and Jim Smith, fifth.
The American Legion Riders commanded by Joey Vincent presented the American flag while the national anthem was sung by Carl Gillilan during the opening ceremony.
Bowlers enjoyed a pizza lunch as well, and ribbons were handed out to all athletes competing.
Special STARS is a sports training and recreational services program that is affiliated with Ridge Area Arc. It is completely operated by volunteers. It provides more than 12 different sports and recreational programs for 400 children and adults with mental and physical disabilities in Highlands, Hardee and Okeechobee Counties. Anyone wanting more information about Special STARS, can call Coordinator Cindy Marshall at 452-1295, ext. 124.