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-Tish Johnson Sets New Record With 201st Consecutive Tournaments

06/18/2001 - PWBA
      FT. WORTH, Texas - Tish Johnson is professional bowling's new "Ironwoman," with 201 consecutive tournaments under her belt and no end to the string in sight.

      Johnson bypassed Jan Schmidt of Rochelle, Ill., who previously held the Professional Women's Bowling Association record for most consecutive tournaments by an individual, when she completed the first block of competition Monday at the Ft. Worth Classic at Don Carter Cityview Lanes in Ft. Worth, Texas. Schmidt had put the PWBA record at 200 during the 1999 season.

      Johnson, a 39-year-old lefthander from Northridge, Calif., has been competing on the PWBA circuit since 1982 and has been the tour's Player of the Year twice (1992 and 1995). She is the first and so far only woman to capture a "megabucks" bowling championship, winning the $100,000 first prize in the 1996 Super Hoinke Classic in Cincinnati. Johnson is also only $1,560 away from becoming the third woman to surpass the million-dollar mark in career earnings and could cross the barrier this week in Ft. Worth by finishing seventh or better.

      The 24-time national titlist makes no secret of her desire to set the "Ironwoman" standard as high as she possibly can. "I'm a competitor, and I plan to bowl as long as I think I can compete, and as long as my knees hold out," said Johnson, who has had seven knee surgeries thus far. "I decided to set the goal of having the most consecutive tournaments so that, after I retire, people will remember my name. There have been some great bowlers in the past, like [23-time titlist] Patty Costello, but you never hear of them anymore. I want to push the standard so high that everyone will remember who I was and the contributions I made to the sport of bowling."

      Johnson, who has 43 sanctioned 300 games and a high three-game series of 837, says simplicity of technique is the reason she's lasted so long; her most recent championship came this year at the $50,000 Wheelchair Awareness Classic in Mesa, Ariz. "My game hasn't really changed over the years, despite the technological changes that have occurred in bowling balls, pins and lane dressings. I like to send the ball as close to the gutter as I can, and I like it when some of the oil is taken off the lane, because then I can really get my hand into the shot and let it rip."

      Among other achievements and honors, Johnson holds the distinction of being one of only two women to win three consecutive PWBA tournaments (Lisa Wagner, Ft. Myers, Fla., is the other). She is a member of the PWBA Hall of Fame, a former WIBC Alberta E. Crowe Star of Tomorrow (1980), and a six-time Bowlers Journal All-America selection. Johnson has won the 1993 PWBA High Average Award and the 1982 WIBC National High Average Award, and was twice the PWBA's No. 1-ranked player for the season (1992 and 1995).




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