Qualifying results: IBC Classic | BowlTV Classic
ARLINGTON, Texas - In just a few months as a professional bowler, Stephanie Zavala of Downey, California, has experienced all of the success and emotions young bowlers dream of, along with some feelings she'd probably prefer to avoid as much as possible.
But, even at just 25 years old, Zavala already knows the value of the lessons that can come from the less-desirable moments, and she used one as motivation Friday at the 2021 Professional Women's Bowling Association International Bowling Campus Classic.
Zavala entered the International Training and Research Center well-rested and very motivated after missing the cut at the first event of this week's PWBA Summer Classic Series, and she averaged nearly 231 over nine games in her rebound opportunity.
The young right-hander and former Team USA member started the day with games 257, 279, 225 and 247 to make an early statement about her resilience and the day's 38-foot oil pattern, and though she faltered briefly with 168 in Game 5, the head start was enough to catapult her to the top of the standings for good.
Zavala finished the qualifying round with a 2,078 total and will return to the lanes Saturday to lead the day's top 12 competitors into 12 games of round-robin match play. The performance also had bigger implications and lifted the two-time PWBA Tour champion into the field for the 24-player PWBA BowlTV Classic, which gets underway Monday.
She was followed in the IBC Classic standings Friday by Bryanna Coté of Tucson, Arizona (2,071), United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey (2,043), England's Verity Crawley (2,025) and Clara Guerrero of Colombia (2,019).
"Striking a lot today was way more fun than what happened a couple days ago," Zavala said. "I had a good look on the fresh today, then got a little lost in the middle, but I kept my head on straight, which I think was the biggest difference from my last qualifying block to today."
In the first event of the week, the PWBA Go Bowling Classic, Zavala rolled a perfect game early in her nine-game qualifying block but ended the day 14 pins shy of the cut to match play.
"It was great to go out there and shoot 300, which was amazing for my confidence, but it was definitely disappointing to leave knowing how things turned out and that I wouldn't be bowling the next day."
The day was both special and disappointing, and she knew how she handled it was important.
While match play and the stepladder finals of the Go Bowling Classic commenced without her, Zavala used the day off to recharge her body and mind.
"Yesterday could've gone a lot differently, but I took the time I needed to be upset, got my head back together and focused on coming back in today with a clear mind," Zavala said. "I walked in ready to just bowl. I planned to do the things I'm comfortable with and forget about the past, because I can't change it."
Prior to the Summer Classic Series, Zavala had participated in just eight singles events as a PWBA member, two of which she'd won, making her a top candidate for the 2021 PWBA Rookie of the Year.
That quest will continue beyond the conclusion of the IBC Classic on Saturday with the start of the BowlTV Classic on Monday.
The BowlTV Classic will feature the top 24 players from the Go Bowling Classic and IBC Classic, based on their 18-game qualifying totals.
Total pinfall will drop at the start of the BowlTV Classic, and the 24 advancers will bowl 24 games of round-robin match play Monday and Tuesday to determine the five bowlers for the stepladder finals, based on total pinfall and bonus pins.
Zavala's big day Friday also helped her to the top of the BowlTV Classic standings with an 18-game total of 3,927, a 218.16 average.
She was followed in the long trek by Crawley (3,912), Kulick (3,887), Go Bowling Classic champion Birgit Noreiks of Germany (3,877) and 2019 PWBA Rookie of the Year Valerie Bercier of Muskegon, Michigan (3,875).
"I came in today knowing I was going to be on the bubble for the bigger event, so I'd need to post a big number," said Zavala, who won the 2021 PWBA Greater Cleveland Open and PWBA BVL Open. "I just tried to take it one frame at a time. I knew I wouldn't be able to get to plus 250 if I was worrying about the three games ahead of me. The goal was to keep it small and let the bigger picture come together."
All competition at the Summer Classic Series is being broadcast live at BowlTV.com.
Match play for the IBC Classic will get underway Saturday at 11 a.m. Eastern, followed by the live stepladder finals at 9 p.m. EDT.
On Sunday, the ITRC will host the PWBA Dallas/Fort Worth Regional, which will feature an eight-game qualifying block, with the top four players, based on total pinfall, advancing to the stepladder finals. The championship round of the regional will begin Sunday night at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Bowlers with PWBA national titles, as well as those who qualify for the BowlTV Classic, will not be eligible for the regional event.
The week's top performers will return to the lanes Monday morning at 11 a.m. Eastern for the start of the BowlTV Classic. The event will conclude with the final live stepladder of the week, beginning Tuesday at 9 p.m. EDT.
Crawley is the only bowler to make the cut in all three national events this week.
The first two national events at the Summer Classic Series featured 56 entries and brought players from more than a dozen countries to the ITRC. It was the second of three Classic Series events on the 2021 PWBA Tour schedule.
The first was the season-opening PWBA Kickoff Classic Series, also at the ITRC, in January. The final installment, the PWBA Fall Classic Series, will bring the tour back to the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, in October for the last three events of the year.