USBC Communications • Published: July 3, 2014 | Bowl.com
RENO, Nev. – United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Robin Romeo of Newhall, Calif., made her way through the stepladder finals to capture the coveted tiara at the 2014 USBC Senior Queens presented by Storm on Thursday.
The 57-year-old right-hander defeated fellow hall of famer and top seed Tish Johnson of Colorado Springs, Colo., 241-188, to take home the $3,500 top prize at the National Bowling Stadium. It was her first victory in more than 30 years of USBC Queens and Senior Queens competition.
Romeo opened Thursday’s stepladder finals with a 217-191 victory over USBC Hall of Famer and defending champion Lucy Sandelin of Tampa, Fla. She then bested 2011 Senior Queens champion Paula Vidad of Sun City, Calif., 234-191, to set up the meeting with Johnson, who was the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive year.
“I knew I had a pretty good shot and was comfortable with where I was playing,” said Romeo, who finished third at the 1980 Queens. “Sometimes, when you have to win a few matches to make it to the title match, you have to treat each match separate. Once I got through the first one, I calmed down and felt pretty good after that.”
The final match was tightly-contested until the seventh frame, when Johnson left the 4-6-10 split and was unable to convert it. As she stepped up for her final frame, Johnson still had the chance to put pressure on Romeo, but a 7-10 split gave Romeo the win and Johnson her second runner-up finish in her three Senior Queens appearances. Johnson earned $2,000 for the effort.
“I knew Tish was going to give it her all in the ninth and 10th frames,” said Romeo, who won the 2012 Bowling’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open, also at the NBS. “I was prepared to have to strike out to win. It was a very emotional moment. I’ve been bowling for a long time, and there are certain titles you really work hard for. It’s pretty awesome, and it makes me feel good.”
Romeo nearly didn’t participate in the Senior Queens after having surgery on her left thumb, but she was able to start practicing at the beginning of June. Prior to the Senior Queens, she stopped at the nearby Reno-Sparks Convention Center to compete at the 2014 USBC Women’s Championships and teamed with fellow hall of famer Jeanne Naccarato of Tacoma, Wash., to take the lead in Division 1 Doubles.
“I had surgery on my left thumb, and it was a six-month recovery,” Romeo said. “Even though it’s my left hand, I wasn’t able to hold the ball because it hadn’t healed. I only had a couple of weeks to practice and was planning on going home after Nationals, but I felt good and was bowling well, and everyone back home told me to stay and bowl.”
The 2014 Senior Queens featured 56 of the top female USBC members age 50 and older competing for a chance at part of the $21,000 prize fund, which included a $5,000 contribution by presenting sponsor Storm. All competitors bowled 15 qualifying games over three days before the field was cut to the top 16 for match play.
The stepladders finals were broadcast live on BowlTV.
The Senior Queens marks the second stop of the Senior Women’s Triple Crown Series presented by The Orleans. The Triple Crown Series is a special competition for bowlers who compete in the Senior Queens, National Golden Ladies Classic and Bowling’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
The top 10 players in the Triple Crown standings, which combines qualifying totals from all three events, will take part in the Triple Crown Shoot-Out presented by The Orleans.
The Triple Crown Shoot-Out will be held after the U.S. Senior Women’s Open qualifying rounds July 24 at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford, Ill.