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Coronavirus prevents Jen Sparks from making run at York County women's bowling record

BARRY SPARKS
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Jen Sparks
  • Jen Sparks led all York County female bowlers in average in 2019-2020 at 235.
  • The Yorker established that mark over 104 games at Colony Park Lanes.
  • The average was a personal high for Sparks. It came in the Wednesday Scratch Doubles League.
  • Sparks has led all York County women in average for five of the last six seasons.

Jen Sparks owns a T-shirt that says: "The Coronavirus ruined my bowling season." 

After finding out that the 32-year-old right-hander averaged 235 during the 2019-2020 season and led York County women in average, you may ask how could her season have been ruined?

Well, maybe not completely ruined, but certainly slightly marred.

Here's how:

The coronavirus pandemic caused the Wednesday Scratch Doubles League at Colony Park Lanes to abruptly cut its season seven weeks short. At the time, Sparks was averaging 235 for 104 games, her personal high.

She was, however, within striking distance of Lindy Decker's all-time county-high average for women of 236, set during the 2008-09 season.

In season of firsts, York bowler Mike Spangler averages 250 to lead all York County men

"I believe I was one week away from tying Lindy's mark," Sparks said. "And, I think I could have passed it in the final six weeks of the season. I had been bowling well all season."

Sparks, who rolls four games a week in the doubles league, had been averaging more than 237 during the final weeks of the season.

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"It was very disappointing," said Sparks, who has led county women in average five of the past six seasons. "Beating Lindy's average has been my goal for a while. It's extremely difficult to average 236, and I had an excellent shot at it."

Expecting twins: Determined, Sparks still has her sights set on breaking Decker's record. This season, however, the Yorker will be able to compete in only the first half of the season. She is pregnant and expecting twins, with a due date of April 6. It will be the first children for she and her husband, Travis.

"I am hoping to bowl every week in the first half," said Sparks, who was elated to find out she was pregnant. She figures she can roll at least 66 games, which is the minimum required to qualify for the top average.

She doesn't expect to lose her competitive spirit, motivation or goals when she becomes a new mom. Although she plans to return to the lanes after the birth of the twins, she doesn't know when.

"I'm very excited about the future," she said.  "Things certainly will be different, but Travis and I can't wait. "

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

YORK COUNTY WOMEN

Top averages for 2019-20

(Minimum of 60 games)

Bowler                                    Avg.                Games             Center

Jennifer Sparks                       235                  104                  Colony Park North

Stephanie Whipple-Miller        229                    60                  Suburban Bowlerama

Kerry Smith                             226                    90                  Laser Alleys

Julie Carson                            221                    92                  Colony Park North

Jen Schaffer                            220                    84                  Suburban Bowlerama

Chelsea Poff                           220                    63                  Colony Park North

Tracy Hedrick                         214                    72                  Suburban Bowlerama

Morgan Daub                          213                    84                  Suburban Bowlerama

Stephanie Schultz                   213                    81                  Suburban Bowlerama

Brenda Danfelt                       212                    88                  Colony Park North

Brandy Waltersdorff              209                    71                  Suburban Bowlerama

Deb Beachtel                          208                    63                  Hanover Bowling Centre

Samantha Schnur                    208                    63                  East Lincoln

Melissa Pickett                       205                    81                  Hanover Bowling Centre

Amy Hoff                               205                    81                  Suburban Bowlerama

Kristen Gessner                      204                    63                  Hanover Bowling Centre

Brittany Poff                           204                    69                  Laser Alleys

Delicia Brown                         203                    81                  Suburban Bowlerama

Lisa Benedict                          202                    78                  Suburban Bowlerama

Jill Moore                               200                    75                  East Lincoln  

Kimberly Beckman                199                    90                  Colony Park North

Brooke Bowers                       199                    81                  Suburban Bowlerama

Kristin Wernig                        198                    63                  Suburban Bowlerama

Cheyenne Shoemaker             198                    87                  Surburban Bowlerama

Rebecca Heltzel                      197                    75                  Suburban Bowlerama