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Beat the Champions: Gritzenbach does higher bowling for higher education


Jennifer Gritzenbach shows off the check, won at the womens finals of Beat the Champs Sunday at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville; it will go for her daughter's college.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

All Jennifer Gritzenbach wanted to win was a two-ball bag, but she did far more than that.

Gritzenbach came on strong in the final game of women’s finals of the 58th Beat the Champions Sunday at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville to win with a 965.

“I came in with hopes of winning a two-ball bag, because mine is broke,” said Gritzenbach, a custodian from Tinley Park.

She started slow with games of 169, 193 and 160, before closing with a 213 to go with 230 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.

“I just slowed down a little bit and moved to the second arrow,” she said. “Actually, my dad told me too in the second game and I never listen to him.”

Good thing she did this time.

“I know how her ball moves, I’ve bowled enough with her,” Bill Gritzenbach said.

That put his daughter on the path to the top prize of $7,500, which will help with tuition for her daughter, Kylie Maloney, a freshman and golfer at Elmhurst College.

Gritzenbach also earned $500 for the Saturday Nite Rollers at Orland Bowl, because it has 100 percent entry in BTC.

Mise Payne, who started hot with a 235, finished second with a 944 that included 169 pins of handicap.

In the finals, bowlers roll four games, moving two pairs of lanes after each game.

“I wanted to win, well, at least finish in the top five,” said Payne, who works for the Chicago Board of Education.

Mission accomplished as she won a 55-inch LED Smart HDTV.

“It’s going in Snoopy’s room,” she said of her pit bull.

All 32 finalists received 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, is the $2,872,914.93 raised for charity, in its first 57 years, from 5,789,515 entries.


Bridgette Gordon (left), Tekila Spells, Ashley Jackson, Mise Payne and Jennifer Gritzenbach finished fifth through first (L-R) in the women’s finals of the 58th Beat the Champions Sunday at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

NOTES: None of the women finalists were scratch. But the two closest–Ashley Jackson (203 average, 61 pins of handicap) and Tekila Spells (202, 64)–put on strong showings, finishing third and fourth respectively.

Jackson opened with games of 247 and 242 and looked to be running away, but then had 193 and 195.

“I couldn’t make the adjustment quick enough and was leaving the 10-pin,” said Jackson, an operations supervisor from Merrillville, Ind. “Overall, I’m happy with what I did.”

Spells opened with a 186, then finished strong with 247, 225, 208.

“Overall, I’m satisfied, because I worked from 11-7, then I am going back again tonight,” said Spells, an LPN from Country Club Hills.

(bullet) Bridgette Gordon, a project manager for Comcast, took fifth, the final electronics slot with a 918, which included a 221 second game and 182 final.

“I just slowed down on my shot and tried to stay consistent,” the Markham woman said.

(bullet) Three women returned to the finals a second time. Malika Manouzi finished sixth, Jan Tau tied for 20th and Karen Mrozek was 30th.

(bullet) Jerry Morano, now the owner of Liberty Lanes, won the 2000 men’s finals and rolled the first 300 in the BTC finals. (bullet) Thirty of the 32 women finalists came from 100-percent leagues.


The top five finalists receive cool pins in the finals of the 58th Beat the Champions.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

* * * *

Scores of Women’s Finals
At Liberty Lanes, Carpentersville
Sunday’s results
Bowler, Center G1-G2-G3-G4-hcp–TOT
Jennifer Gritzenbach, Orland 169-193-160-213-230–965
Mise Payne, Burr Oak 235-167-167-206-169–944
Ashley Jackson, Centennial 247-242-193-195-61–938
Tekila Spells, Castaways 186-247-225-208-64–930
Bridgette Gordon, Lakewood 160-221-150-182-205–918
Malika Manouzi, Striker 244-195-181-168-129–917
Lisa Marroquin-Nunez, Lawn 165-137-161-132-316–911
Norean Mitchell, Rolling 149-134-152-169-302–906
Lorraine Moore, Skyway 167-127-151-125–331–901
Kim Hammelman, Suburbanite 269-131-201-217-82–900
Annie Handy, Castaways 189-170-147-248-140–894
Tricia Shellstrom, BZ-Woodridge 131-183-169-183-226–892
Lourdes Cardenas, Lakeside 141-133-245-176-194–889
Janis Jackson, Town Hall 181-116-139-160-291–887
Torie Sutton, Castaways 151-198-181-162-190–882
Teresa Duran, AMF Forest 129-156-169-144-280–878
@Heidi Rogers, BZ-Woodridge 137-148-127-149-313–874
@Helen White, Palos 117-146-137-143-331–874
Nina Schmelter, Wheaton 148-160-188-160-216–872
$Joyce Pledger, Castaways 168-161-181-188-172–870
$Jan Tau, Lisle 125-180-185-204-176–870
Nikita Lawrence, Burr Oak 207-188-183-192-86–856
Kim Milazzo, Classic 123-131-169-106-324–853
Vicki Zager, Lisle 116-125-140-119-349–849
&Kristen McCarthy, Palos 126-149-164-130-277–846
&Rose Willard, Lakewood 196-185-144-185-136–846
Carmen Arocho, Diversey 109-107-125-141–360#–842
Jacque Hennessy, Tinley 132-129-113-104-360#–838
Charmaine Orr, Castaways 124-127-110-111-360#–832
Karen Mrozek, Lawn 169-146-137-134-237–823
Theresa Kelsey, Bluebird 169-151-139-112-226–797
Lauren Block, Arlington 161-155-125-147-176–764
# Maximum handicap allowed, based on a minimum 120 average
& Tie for 25th
$ Tie for 20th
@ Tie for 17th
PRIZES: 1st: $7,500; 2nd: 55-inch LED Smart HDTV; 3rd: 43-inch Smart HDTV; 4th: 32-inch Smart HDTV; 5th: 28-inch LED HDTV; 6th-13th: Hammer Diesel Torque ball & Hammer two-ball tote bag; 14th-21st: Hammer Diesel Torque ball; 22nd-32nd: KR StrikeForce 2-ball roller bowling bag