Tourney brings out the best

Top local bowlers compete for the coveted King of the Mountain title

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— By 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, the field of 26 men and 10 women bowlers who had gathered at the Snow Bowl had been cut to the final few.

At stake was the coveted King of the Mountain title and the crown in the biggest scratch tournament of the bowling season.

"I was really nervous," men's winner Sean White said after topping former KOM champ Dewey Whitecotton in the finals by a score of 229 to 194. "I didn't know I had it won until the final frame."

The women's winner for the second straight year was Katrina Hicks, who rolled a 211 in her final game of the day to beat top seed Jane Garrison for the title.

"It's wonderful to win for a second time," Hicks said. "You never expect to win something like this two times in a row."

The two-day scratch tournament (no handicaps are used) is a head-to-head matchup of the city's top bowlers. The field, which is made up of winners of the weekly KOM series, bowled a total of 12 games during two days. The top five men and top five women advance to a television-style roll off, where the top bowler advances to the next round until only one bowler remains the King of the Mountain.

Garrison led the women's field with a total score of 2,217. She averaged 185 pins per game in the first 12.

Hicks earned the second spot with a total of 2,211 and Laurie Buelow was the No. 3 bowler with a score of 2,163. The final two spots were taken by No. 4 Raquel Draper (2,012) and No. 5 Jenny McAndrew (1,981), who beat out Patty Johnson for the final spot.

White led all of the men through the first 12 games, averaging 211 pins per game for a total of 2,530. Whitecotton was No. 2 at 2,470 and Jim Wells of Craig came in No. 3 with a score of 2,356.

Tom Armstrong secured the No. 4 spot with a total of 2,356, and John Bergh, last year's champion, took the final slot with a score of 2,338.

The first roll off of the night was between the No. 4 and No. 5 bowlers. McAndrew upset Draper in the women's game by a score of 178 to 177. Armstrong also advanced by knocking off Bergh in a 175 to 156 contest.

Armstrong would move through the next roll off as well with a score of 208. The No. 3 bowler, Wells, kept things close most of the way but slipped off the pace in the final few frames to finish at 181.

Two late open frames cost McAndrew in her game with the No. 3 woman, Buelow. Buelow rolled a 196 to beat McAndrew, who finished with a 162.

In the semifinals, it was two former KOM winners taking center stage. Armstrong was knocked off by former champ Whitecotton in a 192-189 thriller. Hicks also won a tight game, outscoring Buelow in a 189-172 contest.

As expected, the finals drew some big scores from all of the top bowlers. Whitecotton rolled a 194, but it wasn't enough to beat White's 229 game.

"I was second two years ago, I think," White said after the match. "Dewey is a great bowler and I'm just glad that things came together for me this weekend."

Hicks rolled a 211 in her final effort to beat the top-ranked Garrison, also a former KOM champ, who rolled a 198.

Hicks was happy to win her second straight title and is hoping to be in the running for a third title next year.

"This is a great tournament," Hicks said. "The top bowlers come out here and it's just a lot of fun for everyone."

The KOM tournament is one of the longest-running events in Steamboat Springs.

To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@amigo.net

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