Bowler Christie Durbin, who propels the ball unconventionally, with her right foot leading, showed yesterday why she knew all along she was putting her best shoe forward. She bowled 123 in the second game of her head-to-head final match to win the girls Duckpin Invitational championship at Fair Lanes Laurel.
Durbin, a 15-year-old who attends Northwestern High School, clinched her victory by getting a spare in the final frame of the second and last game to defeat Sue Ciotola, 18, of Rosedale, Md.
Durbin received a round of hugs from friends and family, all of whom probably bowl off their left foot.
"I saw somebody in a league do it when I was 8," said Durbin, who is right-handed. "I thought it was easier to go off the right foot. They call me 'goofy foot.'
"I was tired of being like everybody else," she said with a smile.
It was Durbin's first title since she began competing four years ago in the tournament, which includes bowlers from the Baltimore and Washington areas. Before yesterday, she had never made it to the final round.
But yesterday she completed a fine performance that began Monday in the first round. Along the way, she bowled a personal-high 194, and yesterday had two strikes and three spares in her 226 two-game total. Ciotola finished with 221.
To get her spare in the final frame, Durbin knocked over the 10 pin on her second roll. In duckpins, a bowler gets three rolls, but a spare can only be obtained on the second roll.
"I was nervous at first," said Durbin. "I knew she wasn't far behind me. But I normally don't miss corner pins."
Ciotola, being a good sport, said she wasn't rooting for Durbin to fail. But "in the back of my mind, I was thinking I wanted her to miss," she said. "But I knew she was a good bowler, and she wouldn't miss."
In the boys title match, Chris Clayton, a 19-year-old who attends Loyola College in Baltimore, won this tournament for the first time, bowling 268 over two games to defeat Glenn Stewart, 20, of Waldorf. Stewart finished with 253.
Clayton was seeded fourth, which meant he had to win two matches to get a chance to meet Stewart, who was top-seeded.
"If I had lost, it would have still been an accomplishment," Clayton said. "It's a lot nicer working up. I thought I had a shot, but I knew the people in front of me. I was nervous more than anything."