Maybe Sue Nawojski should have thought about an 800 series sooner, but it's been on her mind for only a few weeks.
Then, last Thursday, it happened.
"That afternoon, Sue Jeziorski and I were at Mil-Sher talking about 800s," Nawojski recalled. "I said the only way I could do it is if the first two (games) were 300s. A couple of hours later I did it."
Competing in the Bowlers Choice League, a mixed doubles league at Thruway, Nawojski had games of 277, 247 and 280 for 804, her first 800.
Nawojski, 32, converted a 10-pin in the second frame of the last game and struck out for the 280. "It was a good shot but I left a 'ringer,' " she said of the ringing 10-pin.
In the first game, when she had a 277, her partner, Jack Jurek, had a 279. "We're teammates but it was like we were competing against each other," Nawojski said. "But I wasn't pressing. It was pretty stress-free."
Nawojski bowled a 300 in the final game to win a LPBT (now WPBA) Regional at Transit Lanes in 1994 and said the 800 ranks just as highly amid her career highlights.
"I didn't think about an 800 before this season," she said, "and that was just a few weeks ago. I had a chance for 800 then, but I opened in the 10th for 790.
"An 800 is the epitome of bowling. A 300 might come once in a while but to put three games together is more difficult. A guy like Mike Hanes, who does it a couple of times a year, that's definitely amazing."
Nawojski has a 209 composite for three leagues, including her first year in the BPA All Stars this season.
She plans on making five WPBA events this summer as well as bowling with a local team in the World Team Challenge qualifier on Staten Island -- all reasons for her entry into the All Stars.
"I wanted to bring my game to a higher level," Nawojski said. "I felt I needed the competition.
"Bowling with Jack and Steve John Jr. (two of her Manor Lanes teammates in the All-Star League), it's made a difference. There's more intensity and I've been more aggressive. That's the key."
Airport squad up to challenge
The Airport team of Dawn Saulter, Adam Thorpe, Brian Schlatterer and Chuck Jagodzinski won the last of the season's three BPA Challenge matches Sunday at Ideal.
Saulter, of the Crystal Lite league, had a 532 scratch with 102 handicap for 634. Thorpe, a member of the Dan Dee league, added 576-80-656. Schlatterer, of the Troyer Farms league, had 602-24-626. The BPA's Jogodzinski contributed a 684 to the team's winning 2,600.
Ideal was second with 2,559. Kelly Wojdan (Crystal Lite) had 559-87-646, Romaine Arrington (Dan Dee) 425-177-602, Ed Lavery (Troyer Farms) 674 scratch and Tom Harkins (BPA) 637. Manor was third with 2,542. Jamie Kuzdorfer (Crystal Lite) had 490-111-601, Adam Nowicki (Dan Dee) 453-135-588, Mike Brenda (Troyer Farms) 624-36-660 and Nawojski 693 with a 279 game.
Ideal proprietors Dave and Mary Grace Williamson contributed special awards of new bowling balls to the high junior bowlers. Colleen Merlino (Crystal Lite) was the girls winner with 555-183-738. Mike Mrak (Troyer Farms) earned the boys honor with a 705-9-714.
Jagodzinski was selected as the BPA's bowler of the quarter for the third block of the season. Jagodzinski had a 17-6 record for a winning percentage of .739 with two 700 series.
The All Stars bowl at 2 p.m. today at Orchard Park with first-place Manor leading runner-up Broadway Sports Center by 2 1/2 points.
Healey scores overseas
Pat Healey Jr. of Niagara Falls finished third and earned $20,000 in the United Arab Emirates International Championships this month in Abu Dhabi. Healey won his first match of the stepladder finals, 243-219, over Jouni Hellminen of Finland before losing to tournament runner-up Juoko Koussaari of Finland, 279-244.
Champion Tore Torgeson of Norway earned $50,000. Mike Neumannn of Buffalo finished 12th. Women's champion Cara Honeychurch of Australia earned $10,000.
Healey also made the leader board at the ABC Tournament in Reno with a 2,043 all events for 10th place. He is one pin behind early leader Jerry Carroll of the Town of Tonawanda, who was ninth in the March 15 update.
Around the lanes
April 4, next Saturday, is the entry deadline for the Buffalo Bowling Association's 72nd annual Championship and Handicap Tournament at Voelker's. Entry is $16 per person, per event for team, doubles and singles with $5 for optional all events. There are squad prizes for six teams or more. For details, call the BBA at 842-6610. . . . The Tonawandas Association earned special recognition for continuing service in public relations achievements at the ABC Convention in Reno. . . . An AMF Handicap Singles Tournament will be held today and Sunday at Thruway. Entry is $26 and re-entry is $24 with first place guaranteed $500. Today's squads are 3 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday's times are noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m. with match game finals at 4:30. . . . The ABA has a first place $1,000 guaranteed event today and Sunday at Mil-Sher. Today's squads are at 1:30, 3 and 4:30 p.m. with Sunday's qualifying at 10 and 11:30 a.m., 1 and 2:30 p.m. and finals at 4:30. . . . A Buffalo Gold YABA Tournament will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at Thruway. First place earns a paid entry to the Junior Olympic Gold National Tournament this summer. The top three places in the local event earn scholarship awards. Winners are determined by total pins from two three-game blocks.