ARLINGTON, Texas – The Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour will make its first appearance in Connecticut in almost 20 years when the PWBA East Hartford Open gets underway Thursday.
Silver Lanes will serve as the host center for the PWBA East Hartford Open, the first PWBA event in the state since the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open was held in Milford. Hartford last played host to a PWBA event in 1987, when the United States Bowling Congress Queens was held in conjunction with the USBC Women’s Championships.
While the PWBA Tour still has a certain newness and feel, one player enjoying all of the new experiences the PWBA has to offer is rookie Sydney Brummett, who recently graduated from Wichita State where she was a four-time All-American.
With the PWBA Tour in full force, Brummett made the decision to become a full-time PWBA member. She has competed in three of the four events, missing the Fountain Valley Open for graduation.
She enters the East Hartford Open with some momentum on the heels of a sixth-place finish at the USBC Queens, where she fell just short of making the televised stepladder finals.
“My Queens experience was phenomenal,” said Brummett, who made her fourth Queens appearance and has made match play three times. “I had the opportunity to go out and play against the best women in the world. I am extremely grateful for that alone. Ending just a few frames shy of making the show bothers me. Yes, I am proud of the performance, but I am nowhere near happy with it.”
Brummett isn’t one to be satisfied with moral victories, an attitude that not only will help her in 2018, but throughout what has the makings of a great career.
“I went to the Queens with the belief that I could win and bring home the tiara,” Brummett said. “Not doing so only makes me want to be better. I was close, but close doesn’t count. I’m going to allow this letdown to drive me to get better, be stronger when I’m put in the same position and to hopefully not let this happen again. I am proud, but not satisfied.”
Brummett, who originally hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is taking advantage of a PWBA Tour that didn’t exist when many of the tour’s best completed their collegiate careers.
“The tour experience has been unbelievable,” said Brummett, a two-time Team USA member. “I have heard many of the women talk about how they felt when the tour folded, and so for me to have the opportunity to come out and play each week only brings me joy. I am blessed to have a wonderful roommate and I am thankful to have such great sponsors that give me this opportunity.
“At the end of every event we have bowled so far, I immediately want to bowl the next event. You could say I’m happy to be out here.”
The 2018 PWBA rookie class could be the best in the four years since the tour restarted in 2015. Along with Brummett, recent graduates include Team USA member Jordan Richard and her sister, Haley Richard, who were All-Americans at Arkansas State; Jessica Mellott and Team USA member Sarah Wille, who won two national titles as teammates at McKendree; and Stephanie Schwartz, a four-time first-team All-American at Stephen F. Austin.
Other rookies include 2010 National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association Most Valuable Player Jennifer King (Pikeville), two-time All-American Laura Plazas (Wichita State), former collegiate standouts Sarah Germano (Pikeville) and Caycee Landers (Newman) and Team Mexico member Pamela Alvarez.
The winner of the 2018 PWBA Rookie of the Year award certainly will have to beat out a strong field, and it’s an award Brummett has her eye on. It’s not the only goal on her list in 2018.
“For me, winning rookie of the year just means that I had a really great season,” Brummett said. When it came to college bowling, we were rewarded for a good season based on our All- American status. But on tour, you’re only rewarded in a few ways. Those ways are to be the player of the year, the rookie of the year and to make the tour championship. So, for me, it’s important to have an overall good and consistent season and winning rookie of the year would mean that I did that.
“It’s also important to me because if you look back at the list of rookies of the year in the past, they have now won a few titles on tour and it seems that the rookie of the year has a good trend of becoming a regular contender to win titles. I strive to be one of the women who regularly bowl for a title each week.”
Also competing this week is Nicole Trudell of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who made her first career PWBA stepladder finals appearance at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open, where she finished fifth. Trudell was a three-time All-American at Sacred Heart, and was named the 2011 National Tenpins Coaches Association Rookie of the Year.
Qualifying and match-play rounds of PWBA Tour events are broadcast on Xtra Frame, which also will be the livestream home for the stepladder finals of seven standard events.