Lawn Bowler Kottia Spangler Wins Gold at 2010 U.S. National Championships

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Kottia Spangler lawn bowlingArizona hosted the final lawn bowling competition in the U.S. this year, the 2010 United States National Championships.

The showdown began October 24 with all seven divisions allotted two teams to compete round-robin style, with each team playing their counterpart from other divisions. Bowlers from across the nation brought their A-game to the greens, but only six bowlers took home the gold.

Long Beach resident Kottia Spangler works in education, but cracks the whip on the lawn bowling greens. This was her 12th visit to the National Championships, previously winning one gold medal in singles and seven in pairs. Spangler also stepped it up on an international level, earning two bronze medals at the Asia Pacific Games.

Bring out the bomb squad for Anne Nunes, an engineer for Boeing- supporting the B-1 bomber. Nunes, began bowling in 1997 with her dad and has since traveled to England, Malaysia, Scotland, Australia and South Africa to compete in tournaments. She has won numerous tittles including the US Open in 2004 for pairs, the US Open in 2003 and 2009 for fours, and a bronze medal in the 2001 Asia Pacific Games. She currently resides in Placentia, CA.

Jack Behling (SCD) won Men’s singles, Rosa Gandara-Bear (SWD) won Women’s singles, Richard Broad and Jeff Covell (NWD) won Men’s pairs and Kottia Spangler and Anne Nunes (SWD stripes) won Women’s pairs.

Jack Behling is a Sun City local who began bowling in 1980 in his hometown of Milwaukee. The retired Battalion Commander of the Milwaukee Fire Department has previously attended 13 US Championships, taking home two gold medals. Behling’s lawn bowling career has included four national titles, traveling overseas with Team USA, being named the 90’s bowler of the decade and an induction into the Lawn Bowling Hall of Fame in 2007.

Thirty three-year-old San Diego native, Rosa Gandara-Bear, took gold in the US Championships for the fifth time this year after winning women’s singles in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. In 2008 and 2009 she made it all the way to the quarterfinals at the World Indoor Cup and is currently ranked the 13th bowler in the world for the Women’s Division.

The British born Richard Broad immigrated to the U.S. in 1966 and bowls in his current city of Seattle, WA. He has been a Team USA member since 2001, winning silver in triples in the 2001 Asia Pacific Games and gold in fours in the 2008 China Open. This was his 11th time at the national championships, previously winning pairs in 2000 and singles in 2005.

Jeff Covell was a rookie to the U.S. Championships, participating and winning gold in his first appearance. The 45-year-old Seattle resident has been bowling since 2005 and quickly climbed his way up the latter of lawn bowls. The free-lance writer has previously won tournaments across the US and recently in Paris.

Throughout the tournament, bowlers displayed skill and sportsmanship on the greens, although six players dominated the competition to become the new U.S. champions.

The USLBA is the governing body of the sport in the country. There are over 130 clubs across the U.S. among seven regional divisions that maintain their own active tournament schedules based on weather. Lawn bowls in the U.S. is sanctioned by the World Bowling Board, an international sports federation that represents 52 national authorities in 46 member nations. The sport is currently experiencing a renaissance and lawn bowlers around the globe are lobbying for Olympic recognition.

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