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Beat the Champions: Experiencing a second chance at the women’s finals


Beat the Champions poster for 2018-19.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

Jan Tau is cramming for her second return to the women’s finals of Beat the Champions.

“I will be better prepared this year,” she emailed. “I had no clue what to expect in 2011 [when she won a bowling ball]. This year, besides being on two regular leagues, I have subbed on a few teams in the last month to get more competitive practice. I’ve also done the Lions Club charity tournament and the Illinois Women’s state tournament these last two weekends. I’ve bowled A LOT.”

The 32 women finalists of the 58th BTC meet at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville. In the finals, bowlers roll four games, moving two pairs of lanes after each game.

Tau, youth director at Lisle Lanes since 2000, has been to Liberty Lanes, but maybe just to see her daughter bowl. One of Tau’s bowling memories came when she rolled a 300 during the second game of the Lisle Saturday Morning Youth League’s 2012 BEAT THE COACH tournament.

“Fifty kids and their parents can all say that they have seen a 300 game now,” she emailed.

The Naperville woman comes with a 171 average and 176 pins of handicap. In BTC, the charity event by the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association, handicap is 90 percent of the difference an average is below 220. None of the finalists are scratch. The closest was Ashley Jackson, out of Centennial Lanes, with a 203 average and 61 pins of handicap.

“The Wednesday Strikers league [at Lisle Lanes] has been 100 percent in the Beat The Champs as long as I remember,” Tau noted.

She is not alone in returning to the finals. Malika Manouzi, a physical education teacher at Morton High School, took fifth three years ago. Karen Mrozek, a retiree from Chicago, reached the finals in the 1970s when she bowled at now-demolished Marzano’s Miami Bowl. She won a microwave.

All finalists receive a prize from bowling balls to electronics to the top prize of $7,500.

But the important numbers in BTC, which the Sun-Times helps sponsor, remains the $2,872,914.93 raised for charity, in its first 57 years, from 5,789,515 entries.

* * * *
Women’s Finalists
At Liberty Lanes, Carpentersville
2 P.M. Sunday
Bowler, Center Ave., Hcp
Carmen Arocho, Diversey 120#, 360
Lauren Block, Arlington 171, 176
Lourdes Cardenas, Lakeside 166, 194
Teresa Duran, AMF Forest 142, 280
Bridgette Gordan, Lakewood 163, 205
Jennifer Gritzenbach, Orland 156, 230
Kim Hammelman, Suburbanite 197, 82
Annie Handy, Castaways 181, 140
Jacque Hennessy, Tinley 120, 360
Ashley Jackson, Centennial 203, 61
Janis Jackson, Town Hall 139, 291
Theresa Kelsey, Bluebird 157, 22
Nikita Lawrence, Burr Oak 196, 86
Kristen McCarthy, Palos 143, 277
Malika Manouzi, Striker 184, 129
Lisa Marroquin-Nunez, Lawn 132, 316
Kim Milazzo, Classic 130, 324
Norean Mitchell, Rolling 136, 302
Lorraine Moore, Skyway 128, 331
Karen Mrozek, Lawn 154, 237
Charmaine Orr, Castaways 120#, 360
Mise Payne, Burr Oak 173, 169
Joyce Pledger, Castaways 172, 172
Heidi Rogers, BZ-Woodridge,133, 313
Nina Schmelter, Wheaton 160, 216
Tricia Shellstrom, BZ-Woodridge,157, 226 Tekila Spells, Castaways 202, 64
Torie Sutton, Castaways 167, 190
Jan Tau, Lisle 171, 176
Helen White, Palos 128, 331
Rose Willard, Lakewood 182, 136
Vicki Zager, Lisle 123, 349
# Maximum handicap allowed, based on a minimum 120 average