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A near 300 by Lourdes Cardenas highlights opening sectional: Beat the Champions

Resized/Sun-Times

Lourdes Cardenas receives help from daughter Mila after winning in the Section 1 sectional of Beat the Champions.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

Lourdes Cardenas picked the right time to bowl the highest game of her life Saturday in the 58th Beat the Champions.

She rolled a 297 in the final game of the Section 1 sectional at Brunswick Zone Mount Prospect to win the women’s side with a 761.

Steve Sowinski, who opened with a 245, won the men’s side with a 760.

Cardenas, a Mundelein woman who works in human resources, left a 4-7-9 split on her 12th ball to just miss her first 300 before a hushed house.

“I never rolled more than five or strikes in a row before in my life,” she said.

Halfway through that game, her husband Cesar, who was taking care of their 2-year-old daughter Mila, saw the opening string of strikes.

“[Mila] wanted to go talk to her, but I said, `No,’ ” Cesar said.

It was what Cardenas, who advanced from Lakeside Recreational, needed. She opened with games of 170 and 149 to go with her 145 pins of handicap.

“[After the second game], I stopped overthinking it and threw a calm and relaxed ball and was able to do that the third game,” she said. “The person I sat with [Jaime Rous] kept me calm and collected.”

Sowinski used experience to advance.

“I bowled here before like 10 years ago,” said Sowinski, a Des Plaines man who is manager on duty at Classic Bowl in Morton Grove. “I practiced last night at a different place.”

He finished with games of 192 and 188 to go with 135 pins of handicap. In BTC, the charity event by the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association, handicap is 90 percent of the difference a bowler averages under 220.

Also advancing to the finals in March on the women’s were Kim Milazzo, a kindergarten aide from Northbrook, and Lauren Block, a registered nurse from Chicago.

The other three men advancing were Don Kohlndorfer, a Park Ridge man who works sales, Richard Ptack, a business analyst from Elmwood Park who finally made the finals after five trips to sectionals, and Alex Hulbert, a martial arts instructor from Tinley Park.

In the finals, the top prize for both the men and women is $7,500.

The biggest prize in BTC, of which the Sun-Times is a sponsor, is the $2,872,914.93 raised for charity in BTC’s first 57 years by 5,789,515 entries.

Section 1 Sectional scores
Saturday’s Results
Top four men and top three women, pending verification, advance to the finals.
Bowler, Center G1-G2-G3-Hdp–Tot
Steve Sowinski, Classic 245-192-188-135-760
Don Kohlndorfer, River Rand 212-214-234-83–743
Richard Ptack, Beverly 222-225-188-105–740
Alex Hulbert, River Rand 2225-165-246-97–733
Bill Nicholl, Lakeside 179-213-184-153–729
Juan Hernandez, Classic 214-233-203-75–725
Keith Krostal, Sunset 226-197-196-108–722
Jack Lippert, Classic 198-226-202-91–717
Reid Koenen, Lakeside 215-169-194-124–702
Brian Mroozian, Classic 192-202-169-124–687
Dan Klobucnik, BZ Niles 239-203-153-89–684
Ron Masters, Classic 191-213-163-113–680
Stephan Stander, Lakes 167-217-207-89–680
Jim Crawford, Lakes 180-217-225-54–676
Josh Borrego, Lakes 213-212-173-72–670
Floyd Lewandowski, Beverly 173-181-157-159–670
Joe Demo, River Rand 165-268-193-35–661
Roger Schneider, Arlington 167-236-196-62–66
Mike Krydynski, Beverly 149-153-141-216–659
Rafael Marquez, Sunset 172-156-237-91–656
Joe Starr, Beverly 146-157-201-148–652
Juan Rivera, BZ Niles 165-159-206-121–651
Steve Ellgass, BZ Mt Prospect 166-256-161-54–637
Howard Rothstein, Beverly 240-194-163-37–634
Michael Losacco, Arlington 204-158-168-97–627
Ron Ismar, Classic 156-166-191-113–626
Jason Melchert, BZ Mt Prospect 170-171-177-108–626
Tony Dussel, Beverly 176-186-201-59–622
Don Hillard, Arlington 164-171-231-54–620
Thomas Meck Jr, Arlington 204-215-165-32–616
Jim Schroeder, Classic 141-182-136-156–615
Michael Tomes, Lakeside 158-125-167-162–612
Gary Treacy, Sunset 191-151-174-81–597
Eric Nelson, Sunset 148-192-138-113–591
Women
Bowler, center G1-G2-G3-hdp–TOT
Lourdes Cardenas, Lakeside 170-149-297–145–761
Kim Milazzo, Classic 157-175-179-243–754
Lauren Block, Arlington 232-193-179-132–736
Renee Heuser, Lakes 204-257-242-21–724
Roslyn Gatewood-Austin, Classic 183-177-174-162–696
Nikki Lipka, River Rand 242-216-214-24–696
Allison Tompkins, Beverly 146-143-132-253–674
Cheryl Bleich, Beverly 183-204-248–32–667
Cindy Trojan, Classic 149-179-154-183–665
Sheiba Oats, Classic 171-154-199-140–664
Gloria Sexton, Classic 157-225-172-108–662
Kelly Bierer, Arlington 181-157-212-110–660
Gina Lipka, BZ Mt Prospect 178-137-141-194–650
Robin Petit, Lakes 149-159-191-151–650
Kathy Pearson, Lakes 96-202-210-137–645
Linda Reusch, Lakeside 148-150-224-108–630
Kimberly Corsaw, Sunset 146-125-207-151–629
Jaime Rous, Lakes 115-173-200-140–628
Pam Geisler, BZ Mt Prospect 163-135-128-197–623
Tonya Hughes, Beverly 113-120-126-261–620
Diane Hall, Arlington 188-134-180-113–615
Mary Thedford, Sunset 134-147-131-194–606
Jill Larson, BZ Mt Prospect 116-195-168-124–603
Carole Mohr, Beverly 130-128-135-197–590
Tina Kozil, BZ Niles 90-119-125-237–571
Barb Guthrie, Lakeside 111-116-107-213–547
PRIZE NOTE: Top male and female bowlers in each sectional win either a Storm Roto Grip or Hammer Black Widow.
SCHEDULE: Sectionals: Fox Valley, 10 a.m. today, Lisle Lanes . . . Section 2, 2 p.m. (women) and 5 p.m. (men) today, Rolling Lanes . . . Section 4/Will County, 10 a.m. (women) and 2 p.m. (men) Feb. 16, Arena Lanes . . . Section 3, 10 a.m. Feb. 17, Diversey River Bowl. Finals: Men’s, noon March 3, Beverly Lanes; women’s, 2 p.m. March 10, Liberty Lanes.