Archives Lori Mraz

Richard Named Rookie and Highlights of 2018 PWBA Tour Season

The 2018 Professional Women’s Bowling Association season officially is complete, highlighted by Turbo Turbo Staff member Jordan Richard reaching the stepladder finals at five events on her way to the PWBA Rookie of the Year award.

Richard, 22, stood out in what was arguably the best rookie class since the relaunch of the PWBA Tour in 2015. Despite missing the Tour’s first three events, Richard settled in nicely, and, in only her fourth event, claimed her first career title at the PWBA Greater Harrisburg Open.

The two-time National Tenpin Coaches Association Division I Player of the Year finished the season second in average (217.43), third in championship-round appearances (five) and seventh in points (89,150).

The Tecumseh, Michigan, native was a mainstay on CBS Sports Network in August, making the TV finals in all four events during the month, and was the only player on tour to make four consecutive finals appearances.

She garnered a third-place finish at the BowlerX.com PWBA Twin Cities Open, fourth-place finishes at the Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open and QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship, and fifth-place at the Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open.

“I really don’t think it will set in for a while,” said Richard, after learning she had earned enough competition points to claim the honor. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted since I’d heard about the relaunch of the PWBA in 2015. I knew when I came out here it’s what I wanted. I was rookie of the year in college and then I was rookie of the year in one of the organizations that I bowled in, so it’s something that I’ve wanted.”

In addition to Richard, seven players returned to victory lane during the 2018 PWBA season including fellow Team Turbo Staff member and PWBA Player of the Year runner-up Danielle McEwan, who claimed the PWBA Fountain Valley Open for her fourth career title.

Team Turbo Staffer Liz Kuhlkin captured her second career title and first major championship at the U.S. Women’s Open. Kuhlkin, who won the PWBA Topeka Open in 2015, was without a title since but made major strides in 2018 to return to the winner’s circle.

Other Turbo Team members returning to victory lane in 2018 were:  Liz Johnson (PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles, Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open); Diana Zavjalova (Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open).

Joining Richard as first-time champions in 2018 were Shayna Ng (PWBA Las Vegas Open); PWBA season average leader (217.46) Erin McCarthy (PWBA Louisville Open).

The 2019 PWBA Tour schedule is set and the season will kick off in Cleveland with the PWBA Greater Cleveland Open on April 25-27. The 2019 schedule includes three new venues –Golden Pin Lanes in Tucson, Arizona, Executive Strike and Spare in Louisville, Kentucky, and Buffaloe Lanes North in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Visit PWBA.com for the complete 2019 schedule, player biographies, photos, videos and more. Don’t forget to follow the PWBA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all offseason content.

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PBA Champion Mika Koivuniemi Elected to Hall of Fame

Professional Bowlers Association champion Mika Koivuniemi of Finland has been elected to the PBA Hall of Fame, PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark announced October 1st.

The 2019 PBA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas, as part of the PBA Hall of Fame Classic tournament that will be contested at the International Research and Training Center Jan. 2-6. The finals of the first tournament on the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season will be televised live on FS1 on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 11 a.m. EST.

Koivuniemi, one of the most successful international players in PBA history, was elected by an elite panel of veteran bowling writers, industry leaders and PBA Hall of Famers in the Superior Performance category.

Koivuniemi, who now resides in the United Arab Emirates where he is coaching the UAE national bowling team, is a 14-time PBA Tour champion who earned his nickname – Major Mika – after winning two majors before he won his first “standard” PBA Tour title. In his first PBA television appearance, Koivuniemi defeated PBA star Pete Weber by a pin to win the 2000 USBC Masters. A year later he won the U.S. Open, and he claimed the crown jewel of his PBA career in 2011, when he won the $250,000 first prize in the $1 million PBA Tournament of Champions.

“I’m having a really good day,” the 51-year-old Koivuniemi said. “It was a really great call (from Tom Clark).

“I was 32 when I joined the PBA, but I had my experience around the world before I joined. But back then bowling on tour was something you needed to learn about. To bowl every week and to realize how good the players really were was different. Even when you had a good week, making the top 24 or a (TV) show was really hard. I knew I had to get better.

“It’s amazing how fast time goes,” he added. “I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since I bowled on tour for the last time. But being in the hall of fame now is a great, great honor.”

Other inductees to the 2019 PBA Hall of Fame include Patrick Allen, Bob Johnson, journalist, and Jim Doty, General Manager Royal Pin Centers of Indianaolis.

The 2019 PBA Hall of Fame ceremonies will be live streamed by PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling. Tickets for the event will be available online in the future (https://www.pba.com/Tickets).

MIKA KOIVUNIEMI CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Mika Koivuniemi, who didn’t join the PBA until he was 32, quickly earned the nickname “Major Mika” after winning the 2000 USBC Masters and 2001 U.S. Open before winning his first “standard” PBA Tour title in 2003. His most memorable feat might have been his historic 299-100 victory over Tom Daugherty in the semifinal match of the 2011 PBA Tournament of Champions, followed by a victory over Tom Smallwood in the title match of the $1 million event, winning the richest first prize in PBA history ($250,000).

Despite his reasonably-late start in PBA Tour competition, the native of Finland bowled in 405 PBA Tour events and finished in the top five 45 times on his way to $1,851,503 in career earnings. He finished in the top 10 in earnings eight times, averaged 219.21 for 6,774 games and won the Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Award in 2004 and 2011.

A member of the World Bowling Writers and Finland Bowling Halls of Fame, Koivuniemi has won titles and bowled 300 games in 21 different countries. He bowled the 17th nationally-televised PBA 300 game during the finals of the 2003 Cambridge Credit Classic – the first standard PBA Tour event he won. He is the only foreign-born player to win both the USBC Masters and the U.S. Open, and he was the first European bowler to win the Japan Cup.

In his second year as a PBA50 Tour competitor, he added another major – the 2018 Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open.

Danielle McEwan Wins PBA International-WBT Thailand Title

Congratulations to this awesome young lady, Team Turbo Staff member Danielle McEwan.
 
As top qualifier Danielle turned back Stuart Williams, another Team Turbo Staff member, in a two-game championship match to win the PBA International-WBT Thailand at Blu-O Rhythm and Bowl Paragon (Bangkok, Thailand) on Friday.
 
McEwan, a four-time PWBA titlist, won the six-game qualifying round to earn the top berth in the eight-player stepladder finals by seven pins over Malaysia’s Rafiq Ismail, taking advantage of the eight handicap pins per game awarded to women in the tournament.
 
Williams, who qualified third, defeated Kyle Troup, 182-173, and Ismail, 206-205, to advance to the title match where he needed to beat McEwan twice to win the event. Williams won the first game, 232-218, but McEwan won the second, 225-179, to claim the $31,908 first prize.
 
McEwan is a PBA member, but won’t receive credit for a PBA title because she accepted the handicap pins.

Liz Johnson Strikes Again at Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open

Reigning three-time Professional Women’s Bowling Association Player of the Year and Team Turbo Staff member, Liz Johnson showed she’s ready for the final events of the PWBA Tour season by making a title-winning run at the Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open on Saturday.

Johnson rolled 23 strikes over three matches at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl to snag her 24th professional title. In the title match against top seed Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, Johnson flirted with a perfect game, connecting on her first nine shots before a 10 pin ended the run in a 278-202 victory.

Johnson started Saturday’s final round of qualifying with a 289 game, leaving a 10 pin on her second shot in the final frame.

“You couldn’t ask for a better day,” Johnson said. “I’ve had some troubles on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, (the lanes) seem to get a little tighter as the week goes on. I just made a couple of little changes, tweaked a little bit with my release.”

“I tried to keep it simple, stay with that game plan. For the most part, I stayed out of trouble, had a couple of big games, got to the show and then made some good shots.”

Pluhowsky remains without a PWBA title, having lost as the No. 1 seed for the third time. Her other two losses as the top seed came in 2016. Early in Saturday’s match, she left a 9 pin on a solid shot followed by an open frame despite a good shot on the spare attempt.

“A couple of hits here and there and the game’s different,” Pluhowsky said. “That’s what it takes to win. You have to get those hits, but you have to throw it there first. That’s why she’s the greatest one out here. She gets it done.”

Colombia’s Rocio Restrepo provided a tough test for Johnson in the semifinal. In a tight match throughout, Restrepo struck twice in the final frame to force Johnson to have to match her.

Johnson obliged in a 224-215 victory, though her second shot in the 10th did make for a little drama.

“I got away with it,” Johnson said of the light hit. “The second shot got away from me a little bit, and I caught a break, fortunately.”

Johnson started her run against Colombian native Clara Guerrero, striking on seven of her first eight shots. Guerrero, meanwhile, could not put together consecutive strikes as Johnson won, 234-205.

Guerrero did string together strikes in the opening match. She struck on four of her first five shots to build a 19-pin lead against rookie Jordan Richard of Tecumseh, Michigan, who was making her third consecutive television show.

While Guerrero left the 3-6-7-10 in the ninth frame, she had built a big enough lead and took a 210-198 victory.

The PWBA Tour heads to the Dallas area next week for the QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship at Plano Super Bowl, and Johnson is ready.

“I feel good,” Johnson said. “This is a great confidence booster going into Dallas.”

The Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open was the third and final elite-field event on the 2018 PWBA Tour. The top 24 bowlers on the PWBA points list after the U.S. Women’s Open qualified for the elite events with the remainder of the 32-player field at each event completed through a pre-tournament qualifier.

Competitors bowled 16 qualifying games on Friday before the field was cut to the top 12. Six additional games on Saturday morning determined the five players for the stepladder finals.

Mohr Wins PBA60 Dick Weber Championship

When you’re hot, you’re hot! Congratulations once again to Team Turbo staff member Ron Mohr on winning the PBA60 Dick Weber Championship in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
 
The 62-year old and recent PBA Hall of Fame inductee won all four stepladder finals matches and threw three strikes in the 10th frame of the title match to win.
 
“I felt really confident on the right lane so I wasn’t worried about that,” said Mohr, who bowled his 10th frame on the right lane. “The left lane was the challenge and I found myself having to make a number of adjustments. I just had to read and react, stay in the moment and keep telling myself to stay slow.”
 
It was Mohr’s second senior win of the season after winning the PBA50 Northern California Classic in May for his 10th PBA50 Tour title.
 
Mohr found himself dangerously close to elimination more than once in the tournament. He started the tournament 44th after the first qualifying round and scrambled to make the cut to match play finishing second round qualifying in 25th after dropping as low as 31st. He then had to win his position round match in the final game of match play Thursday morning to take the fifth qualifying spot for the finals.
 
“I’ve made a lot of comebacks in a tournament for a good finish, or to win, but this one ranks right at the top,” said Mohr, who now makes his home in Las Vegas. “I don’t recall ever being on the brink of being eliminated as much as I was in this tournament.
 
“It’s a spectacular way to wrap up the season where I accomplished way more than I thought I would,” he added. “This is extra special because I grew up here.”
 
A shout out as well to Turbo Team members, Harry Sullins, Sam Ventura and Chris Keane who also finished in the top 5 for the event!

Zavjalova Wins Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open

SEMINOLE, Fla. – A high-scoring week at Seminole Lanes became a much more difficult test in the stepladder finals of the Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open on Saturday.

But No. 5 seed Diana Zavjalova of Latvia was able to fight through to win her opening match, then climbed the stepladder to capture her third PWBA title with a 201-158 victory over top-seed Daria Pajak of Poland.

The finals of the Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open, which had five bowlers who are all in their 20s, were televised live on CBS Sports Network.

Zavjalova, who celebrated her 27th birthday on Wednesday, admitted that after a high-scoring week, she didn’t know what to expect with the finals on a pair of lanes not used during the week.

“I was nervous,” Zavjalova said. “I didn’t throw it well in the first game. Once I got through the first game, I got more comfortable, kept moving left and the other girls were struggling. I just kept moving left and just got more comfortable as the games went on.”

An early double in the title match helped Zavjalova to an 18-pin lead after six frames, and when Pajak, 25, missed a single-pin spare attempt for the second time in the match, Zavjalova simply continued to make her spares.

“I did not see the right shape, and when I threw it good, I didn’t carry,” Pajak said. “I tried to make adjustments, and that’s when I threw bad shots. And you cannot win when you miss two spares.”

In the semifinal match against Liz Kuhlkin, 24, of Schenectady, New York, Zavjalova was in a groove, striking on six of her first seven shots. Kuhlkin, who ran the stepladder to win the U.S. Women’s Open in June, managed only two strikes in the 225-157 loss.

Zavjalova had missed two spare attempts in the opening five frames of her second match against Jordan Richard, 22, of Tipton, Michigan. After a missed 10-pin spare attempt in the fifth frame, Zavjalova did not miss anything the rest of the match, finishing with seven consecutive strikes in a 226-172 victory.

“I hate missing spares,” Zavjalova said. “Once I missed, I sat down, decided to start fresh and said ‘Let’s do this.’”

In the opening match, Zavjalova slipped past Verity Crawley, 24, of England, 185-168, in a match that took some big momentum swings in the final frames. Zavjalova had a 10-pin lead entering the ninth frame, but left the 2-4-10 on her first shot and could not convert.

Crawley, with a chance to clear the deficit, hit the pocket only to leave the 7-10 split. Zavjalova struck on her first shot in the final frame to clinch.

For Zavjalova, winning the title meant going through Crawley in the opening match and Pajak in the title match. The three were teammates at Webber International and travel together on the PWBA Tour.

“We’ve known each other for a long time and I love the girls more than anything,” Zavjalova said. “But it’s really tough to bowl against them. I’m happy that I won, but Verity and Daria bowled amazing all week. That’s the beauty of the game – it comes down to one game in the finals and it worked in my favor.”

The Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open is the first of three elite-field events that will take place in August. Following the U.S. Women’s Open, the top 24 players on the PWBA points list earned their way into the elite-field events with the remainder of the 32-player field determined through a pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ).

Players had 16 games of qualifying on Friday before the field was cut to the top 12. Six additional games on Saturday morning determined the five players for the stepladder finals.

EJ Tackett, Liz Johnson Win PBA-PWBA Storm Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Title with Dramatic Come-From-Behind Finish

HOUSTON, Texas (July 29, 2018) – EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., and Liz Johnson of Palatine, Ill., survived a dramatic final game to win the 19th PBA-PWBA Storm Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles title at Copperfield Bowl Sunday, sending Australia’s Jason Belmonte and Chicago’s Diandra Asbaty to their second straight runner-up finish.

Tackett, PBA’s 2016 Player of the Year, and Johnson, one of two women ever to win a PBA Tour title, led the tournament through 17 games before being overtaken by Belmonte and Asbaty. Trailing Belmonte and Asbaty by 10 pins going into the final match, victory in the tournament was going to be decided by whichever team won the game.

Thanks in great part to a bold move by Johnson to move to an extreme outside angle on the left lane while continuing to play an inside angle along with the rest of the field on the right lane, she gave her team the edge with a 212-192 margin over Asbaty. Tackett was unable to strike in his 10th frame, but Belmonte, needing a double for the win, left a 10 pin on his first shot in his 10th frame. While Belmonte out-scored Tackett, 214-208, but it wasn’t quite enough. Tackett and Johnson, bowling as partners for the first time in the event, won the final match, 420-406, and earned 30 match play bonus pins to post a composite 20-game total of 8,797 pins to win by a 34-pin margin.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Tackett, who earned his 11th PBA Tour title and second of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season. “I’m so happy for Liz. I’m so proud to be part of this win. There was not a single person in this building who could have done what she did in that last game. It was absolutely amazing watching her play outside on one lane, inside on the other.

“There are only two people in the world who can do what Liz did – her and Norm Duke. That’s one reason she is the greatest woman bowler of all-time.”

“I’m pretty numb,” Johnson said of her 20th PWBA title. “It’s taken me 17 years to win here. People say ‘You’ve won everything,’ but this is a major title to me. I’m so proud. This is my favorite tournament of the year.

“This has always been an event unlike any we bowl all year and it’s getting bigger and bigger,” she added. “When I started bowling this event I think I was one of the only ones coming from out of town. Now players come from all over the country and all over the world.”

Collegiate Expo VIII a Big Hit in Texas

“It is hard to believe that we’ve wrapped up our eighth Collegiate Expo,” said Turbo President Lori Mraz on July 11. “Our team works hard all year long getting ready and listening to the feedback from our students, parents, and college representatives to ensure a meaningful and rewarding event, and this one here in Texas will certainly be remembered as a very special year. “
The 8th Annual TurboTech Collegiate Expo was held at AMF Cityview Lanes in Fort Worth, Texas July 8 – 11, just days prior to the USBC Junior Gold Tournament held in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It attracted 163 student athletes from 32 states including students from Aruba, Finland and Mexico. 35 colleges participated and offered information on their academic and bowling programs along with the scholarships available for students.
The primary purpose of Collegiate Expo is to give young bowlers and their parents a chance to meet and talk with college coaches about the possibility of bowling at the college level after high school graduation. An Audition Tournament was held on the final day of the event where students wear different colored jerseys by grade level so the college coaches can easily identify their eligibility status.
Logo Infusion, one of more than a dozen industry sponsors, presented the tournament and added an additional $500 in scholarship awards this year. This year’s winners were Melanie Katen San Jose, California in the girls division, and Roberto Perez in the boys division. Perez attended Expo after winning his spot in the Copa Mexico event sponsored by Turbo partner QubicaAMF Mexico.
Another major attraction for students and parents is the chance to meet and learn from some of the best bowlers and coaches in the world, members of the Turbo Coaching Staff. This year’s line-up included Del and Carolyn Ballard, Lindsay Boomershine, Tom Carter, Jason Couch, Anne Marie Duggan, Paul Fleming, Rob Gotchall, Liz Johnson, Tim Mack, Billy Murphy, Randy Pedersen, Shannon Pluhowsky, J R Raymond, Chris Sand, Mike Shady, Jordan Vanover, Del Warren along featured presenters r. Dean Hinitz, Chuck Gardner, Brad Hagen, Susie Minshew, Gary Sparks and Randy Stoughton.
A few of them conducted special seminars. Coach Brad Hagen of Sam Houston State University presented a new seminar that was very well received entitled ‘Reality Check: Are you ready for College Team Competition?’ Coach Del Warren’s ‘Mastering Transition’ was popular with students, and Coach Gary Sparks continued to help parents and students navigate the world of college bowling by explaining NCAA, NAIA, and USBC Collegiate Programs.
“Every year, Turbo Collegiate Expo seems to find new ways to innovate its message and mission,” said Hagen. “It was a great honor being a part of this event. It elevates an experience unlike any other and gives students valuable exposure which is not only meaningful and everlasting, but defines their futures.”
Another new presentation was made by USBC Gold Coach Susie Minshew, called ‘Coaching Ability’. It was aimed at giving the college coaches in attendance unique coaching tools to help their students learn more clearly and quickly. The always popular Sports Psychologist Dr. Dean Hinitz shared his insights into the mental game once again, and offered a special “Wake Up” segment that got everyone’s attention. Kegel Coach Randy Stoughton presented his ‘Venus v. Mars’ segment with tips on preparing male and female athletes for bowling completion.
Collegiate Expo VIII also strives to support bowling charities. This year, student jerseys were adorned with the logo of the Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL), and raised $800 through the sale of event photos with all proceeds benefiting BVL. Turbo will match that amount to make a $1600 contribution later this year.
“It has been a privilege to work alongside some of the best technicians and professionals in the sport,” said Mraz. “It is a very rewarding experience for everyone who is passionate about our sport.”
TurboTech Collegiate Expo IX is scheduled to be held next summer in Detroit On-line Registration will be available in December.
Be sure to reach out and send THANKS to our MANY wonderful sponsors: Ballard’s Bowling Academy, Bowl4Life, 900 Global, Bowlers Journal, bowlingball.com, Brunswick, Classic Products, Columbia 300, Dexter Shoes, DV8, Ebonite, Kegel, Kids Bowl Free, KR Strikeforce, Logo Infusion, Motiv, On the Ball Bowling, PBA, Roto Grip, Storm, Track, UCanBowl2, Metro Detroit USBC Association and XBowling.

Turbo Named “The Official Grip of Ebonite Demo Days”

Announced during Bowl Expo, Turbo reaches agreement with Ebonite International to become “The Official Grip of Demo Days”.

Demo Day events give bowlers an opportunity to try the latest product from Columbia 300, Ebonite, Hammer and Track before making a purchase. Demo Day balls will feature Turbo Switch Grip products, the #1 Interchangeable Insert Worldwide.

“Any time you have two industry leaders come to an agreement of this magnitude, it’s a win for the bowlers,” David Wodka, Global Marketing Manager for Ebonite International, said.

“Creating a defined partnership with the brands of Ebonite International was an easy decision,” said Lori Mraz, President of Turbo. “The EBI demo program allows us to showcase our line of insert products, including the tremendously popular Switch Grip.”

Wodka said bowlers who may not be familiar with the Turbo Switch Grip will benefit from being able to test-drive it while trying EBI’s latest product.

“The EBI team puts a lot of effort into their demo program and we’re delighted to help support,” said Mraz. “These events continue to be a great opportunity for consumers try new bowling balls before they actually buy.”

As part of the agreement, Turbo will have a display of finger and thumb insert products at all EBI Demo Days, including the one held in conjunction with Junior Gold, as well as other sponsored events by local retailers. For a schedule of events go to, http://www.ebibowling.com/demo-days

USBC Bronze Certification Course

USBC COACHING CERTIFICATION AND DEVELOPMENT
The USBC Coaching Certification and Development Department’s main focus is to provide coaches of all levels with the materials necessary to give them the best opportunities for coaching.

USBC is the only coaching program for bowling recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and we are continuously working to build a stronger relationship with proprietors, pro shop operators and bowlers.

USBC COACHING CERTIFICATION – BRONZE
To take the USBC Coaching Bronze course, individuals first must successfully complete Level I certification.

A Bronze class is intermediate level training designed to increase coaching skills and professionalism. This certification is recommended for high school coaches.

The Bronze certification conference focuses on coaching fundamentals and covers:

  • Philosophy of coaching
  • Fine tuning the physical game
  • Lane conditions and adjustments
  • The mental game
  • Components of the bowling ball
  • Dynamics of ball motion
  • Video recording
  • Video analysis
  • Giving a lesson

Prerequisites: Must be at least 16 years of age and a USBC Level I coach. United States citizens 18 or older will not receive access to tests until they have been approved through the Registered Volunteer Program (RVP). RVP is a background check to help ensure a safe environment for USBC youth members and everyone involved. For more information on RVP, go to www.bowl.com

Fees: $295 (includes all materials).  Register at www.bowl.com