The Heidelberg Generals launched a major offensive in Stuttgart, virtually shutting out the six women’s and 18 men’s teams in the U.S. Armed Forces Europe Bowling Championships held April 21-23 at the Galaxy Entertainment Center on Panzer Kaserne.
After bowling 18 games in three events, the Lady Generals (Lakisha Cruz, Michelle Rene, Patricia McHenry and Marlys Davies) won the women’s division Commander’s Cup Challenge with a total pin count of 11,665, while Heidelberg’s number one men’s team captured the commander’s cup with 13,800 pins.
The Lady Generals also won the team event and high series.
Leading the charge for the Generals in the trophy count was Cruz, who won first place trophies for the women’s individual high game and high series, and doubles team, along with teammate Rene.
Cruz also placed second in the women’s single event and fired a 3,035 for a second place finish in the all events category.
With her results, its hard to believe Cruz got off to a slow start.
“The lanes were giving me problems on the first day. But I managed to pull it off on Thursday and Friday,” she said.
But it wasn’t necessarily all Cruz’s show.
The Generals’ number one men’s team, consisting of Paul Schardt, Pat Nolan, Lou Renna and Allan Smith, also earned first place trophies for the men’s team event high game and high series.
“We picked up our spares,” said Schardt, the team captain. “The patterns were definitely challenging, but being able to adjust to them and select the right ball helped us.”
Nolan won the men’s all events category, with 3,745 total pins. He also won second place in the men’s single event.
Nolan and Smith bring great depth to the team.
Nolan was recently hired to manage the bowling center in Heidelberg.
A professional bowler since 1996, Nolan has worked in the bowling industry for 15 years, and said he spent a year and a half on the national pro tour and holds several Professional Bowlers Association regional titles.
“I started bowling in San Diego as a kid. I like sports — this is the only one I had any talent in,” he said.
Smith, who just relocated to Heidelberg from Fort Gordon, Ga., competed in the 2009 PBA World Championship and also bowls on the European professional tour.
But he was humble. “I’m the worst bowler in my family,” he said.
“My mom was the bowler of the year for the state of Texas last year. My brother placed 14th in the U.S. [Bowling Congress] Championships — that’s out of 85,000 bowlers,” he said.
Yet with all his experience, Smith, who hails from Houston, said he did not fare well at the Stuttgart competition.
“It’s them,” he said of his teammates. “They carried me today. I was dead in the water.”
Good teammates were also the key for Kaiserslautern’s Tom Fehlman, who won the men’s single event with a pin count of 1,359.
“It all has to do with who you bowl with. Surround yourself with good people, and you get a good outcome,” he said.