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      April 24, 2001:

-The National Tequila Rose Mixed Doubles Tournament Title goes to Maryland Team

04/24/2001 -BPAA
      LAS VEGAS - A total of $125,000 in cash and prizes went home with competitors in the National Tequila Rose Mixed Doubles Tournament held Saturday, April 21, 2001 at the Texas Station Casino and Bowling Center in Las Vegas.

      The $20,000 prize and the National Tequila Rose Mixed Doubles Tournament title left with Marcus Whitley a 31-year-old electrician and Tommie Jones a 32-year-old security officer of Temple Hills, Md. Whitley and Jones came out firing in the first games, both starting with powerful strikes. Whitley sent his second frame shot a little wide, resulting in a washout and an open frame, but he bounced back with three strikes in frames 3-5. Jones left the big 5 split in the fourth frame, but it was his only big mistake. He went 'off the sheet' with an 8-bagger to roll a huge 261 game. Whitley added 191.

      Janie Vallejo and Marvin Schwartz of Alliance, Neb. recovered in the second half of the match. Vallejo made three strikes in frames 7-9, and Schwartz doubled in the tenth, but it was not nearly enough; the final score was 452-325. With handicap added, Whitley and Jones prevailed 542-463.

      After warming up in the wings, the event leaders, Preston Richert and Jeffrey Tipton of Winfield, Kan. came on to take on the hot challengers. With similar averages, the handicap difference in the final match was only 17 pins in favor of the leaders, but it wouldn't become a factor.

      After finishing the first game with the 8-bagger, Jones started with a turkey for 11 consecutive strikes. Tipton opened the first frame, and Richert stayed clean throughout the first five frames, alternating strikes and spares.

      Whitley, however, became the star of the championship match. After a 10 pin spare in the second he never missed again until the second ball of the 10th, rolling a huge 264. Jones added 226 to give the team a monstrous 490 scratch game. Richert and Tipton couldn't put strikes together and wound up with games of 163 and 158. The final score was 490-321. With handicap, the total read 580-428.

      Whitley and Jones won $20,000 with $10,000 going to the runner-ups Richert and Tipton while Vallejo and Schwartz took home $6,000 for finishing third.

      "We were really in the zone," said Jones. "In the qualifying, we just couldn't get together and bowl good at the same time, but that last game we finally did." "We knew we were the best team," said Whitley. "We just had to get together, and in the last game, we did."

      "It was like trying to stop a speeding freight train," said Richert. "Those guys were fired up and we just couldn't get a double."

      Whitley and Jones also said their experience bowling together was a help. They bowl together in leagues and local tournaments. They previously won the Empire City Senate Doubles, a National Bowling League tournament in New York City. The Tequila Rose National Mixed Doubles Tournament is presented by McCormick Distilling company, makers of Tequila Rose liqueur, and The Bowling Proprietors' Association of America. The second annual event brought hundreds of teams to compete across the nation with 34 teams representing 31 states going to national finals.

      McCormick Distilling, the third largest privately held spirit company in the U.S., was founded in 1856 and offers products in more than a dozen categories.

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