BEAT THE CHAMPS: Danyeil Simmons-Oats the women's winner

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Danyeil Simmons-Oats give a thumbs-up in her new 2015 Ford Fiesta from Arlington Heights Ford after winning the Women’s Beat the Champions finals at Elk Grove Bowl in Elk Grove Village on Sunday, March 8, 2015. | Tim Boyle/For Sun-Times Media

It felt familiar.

First, tears came when the realization set in that Danyeil Simmons-Oats had won the women’s finals of Beat the Champions with a 1,010. Then came a hug from second-place finisher LaDesha Wilson at Elk Grove Bowl in Elk Grove Village.

Simmons-Oats, who advanced out of Castaways Bowl, bowls in four leagues, including Saturdays in the Union Elite League at Burr Oak Bowl with Wilson.

On Sunday, consistency made the difference for Simmons-Oats, who rolled games of 227, 254, 246 and 222 and had 61 pins of handicap. In the finals of BTC, bowlers bowl four games and jump two pairs of lanes after each game.

‘‘I just kept talking to myself: ‘Make good shots, keep the ball on the lane, eye on the mark and stay focused,’ ’’ said Simmons-Oats, an operations tech for the U.S. Postal Service. ‘‘I did not have to adjust too much; I just had to keep my speed on the ball.’’

Her best game came with seven straight strikes in the second game.

She enters BTC, cosponsored by the Sun-Times and the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association, every year and reached sectionals three times. This was her first time to the finals. And she stayed on target by focusing on her iPad and listening to R&B on her headphones.

Wilson, who advanced from Burr Oak, was in her own world, too.

‘‘I had no idea [of my finish] until they were counting down, and I realized, ‘Hey, there are only two left,’ ’’ she said.

The Chicago nurse also was very consistent with games of 204, 228, 208 and 213 with 111 pins of handicap for a 964.

‘‘It was a consistent shot; I just stayed with the shot, frame to frame,’’ Wilson said.

Wendy Mann, a nurse from South Elgin who advanced from Bowlway Lanes, finished third with a 949.

‘‘I have never done that well in a tournament, and to bowl that close to winning a car,’’ Mann said.

The big prize in the finals, where everybody receives a prize, is a 2015 Ford Fiesta from Local Ford Stores.

But the big winner is charity, as in $2,793,600.36 from more than 5.7 million entries in the first 53 years.


Sometimes little things in bowling make all the difference.

Tara Reed switched to a finger-tip bowling ball this year.

“I improved dramatically,’’ the Batavia homemaker said. ``I never expected to be here.’’

Here would not only be in the women’s finals of Beat The Champions, but finishing fourth at Elk Grove Bowl in Elk Grove Village with 942, including 324 pins of handicap.

GOOD SLOW GO: Donna Johnson finished fifth and took home the final big prize.

“Just keep it down and keep it slow,’’ said the Mokena woman, who works in accounting.

LEAGUE BUCKS: Champion Danyeil Simmons-Oats advanced from a league, Guys and Dolls on Thursday at Castaways Bowl, with 100 percent entry in BTC. So the league will receive $500 for its prize fund.

SCRATCH: The lone scratch bowler was Brandi Branka, who advanced out of Orland Park Bowl. She tied for seventh at 884 with Monica Biliskov, who added 104 pins of handicap.

NURSING: Nurses–Chicagoan LaDesha Wilson (964) and Wendy Mann (949) of South Elgin–finished second and third. Neither had trouble getting off work.

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