Nearly 40 years ago, Doris Coburn bowled an 813 series at Rose Bowl in West Seneca. It went into the books as the highest three-game series and first 800 ever bowled by a woman in Western New York.
How times have changed.
Monday night in the Alzena Wright Classic Doubles League at Classic Lanes in the Town of Tonawanda, Doris’ daughter, Cindy Coburn-Carroll, bowled a 289-279-279-847 as she and her doubles partner, Eric Johns of Niagara Falls, clinched the league championship for the third time in the five years they have bowled as a team. Making it all the sweeter, mom and dad, Doris and Frank, were on hand to witness it.
Coburn-Carroll left three 10 pins in her series. She struck on the front 10 in her opener, left another 10 in the seventh frame of the middle game and nailed the front seven in the third game.
Now 55, the one-time teen-age phenom and pro tour star is a once-a-week bowler but says she enjoys it perhaps more than ever.
Coburn-Carroll that maintaining her schedule as a pro had become “more of a burden than a pleasure.”
“There were too many things I had on my mind at home. It was just tough to compete and I had been doing it for so many years I got burned out,” she said.
The Alzena Wright league, founded by Alzena herself at Roc-Mar Lanes in the late 1970s, is certainly as competitive a league as most you will find in Western New York. Yet a more relaxed schedule suits Coburn-Carroll these days.
“It’s kind of rekindled my interest in the game,” she said.
Cindy will bowl in the Buffalo City and Tonawandas City tournaments and still is doing a lot of coaching and teaching of the game. One of her prize students is her daughter Hailey Carroll, a sophomore at Williamsville South and a Section VI all-star.
And, starting on May 21 at Manor II, Cindy and her mother Doris will start their summer series of bowling clinics. It’s open to all bowlers on a walk-in basis.
Coburn-Carroll won 15 titles on the now defunct Ladies Professional Bowling Tour and won the WIBC Queens Tournament, the most prestigious tournament for women. Five times she was the Women’s Bowling Association Bowler of the Year.
As powerful a display as it was, Coburn-Carroll’s score fell 21 pins shy of the WNY record of 868 (289-279-300) by Carolyn Key-Reed on March 4, 2003 at Ideal Lanes. At the time, Key-Reed’s 868 was the fourth-highest sanctioned series on record for a female bowler in the U.S.
A little over two years ago, Jennifer Grabowski bowled 300-279-279-858 at Allie Brandt Lanes in Lockport on April 22, 2011.
Doris Coburn’s 813 was amazing for its time. It was only the second on record by a woman in the U.S. Since then, at least seven (and perhaps more) WNY females have topped that 813. That’s according to a quick trip through the United States Bowling Congress data base, which goes only back to 1999.
Coburn-Carroll’s 847 is the third highest three-game series bowled by a female in Western New York. Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga once bowled an 863, which included two 300 games, at Classic Bowl in Chicago in 2011.
Johnson’s high series bowled here is a 288-240-300-828 at Abbott Lanes in 2009. It’s one of eight 800 series she has achieved on local lanes since 1999.
Cindy wasn’t thinking about bowling a personal high series Monday as she bowled her “eighth or ninth” 800. In the third game, she was aware that she had a chance to beat her husband Jerry’s 842 personal best. She now owns the family record.
• Matt McNiel, a 27-year-old left-hander from Prior Lake, Minn., made a run at it but John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda still leads the regular singles event in the USBC Open championships with his 789. McNiel, who is the defending doubles champion, bowled 258-277-242-787 in singles.
• Four-time PBA50 Player of the Year Tom Baker spared, then filled with nine in the 10th frame to defeat Bryan Goebel of Shawnee, Kan., 227-226, and win the PBA50 Greater Birmingham Open on Wednesday at Lightning Strikes Lanes in Alabama. It was the 10th PBA50 Tour title for Baker, a Buffalo native who now lives in King, N.C. It matches his 10 PBA Tour titles.
• Don’t look know, but that man is back in the news again – Terrell Owens. This time it’s for bowling, not football.
The former NFL wide receiver, who spent one season with the Buffalo Bills, this week made his debut in the USBC Open Championship in Reno, Nev.
Owens, 39, made his first march down the tournament’s famed Center Aisle and helped Bowlers Journal International of Chicago to games of 835, 850 and 880 for a 2,565 team total. Owens rolled games of 185, 129 and 161 for a 475 series.
The team included Professional Bowlers Association Commissioner Tom Clark, a former Buffalo State bowler, Mike Jakubowski and Jason Thomas, who are the on-air personalities for Xtra Frame, the PBA’s online bowling channel, and USBC Open Championships winner Ed Baur.