Only three times had there been a perfect game thrown by a female competitor in Hernando County. Nancy Ellison recently added her name to that elite company. Ellison, 65, joins Pat Brennan, Edie Jo Norman and Anita Hearl on an exclusive list in county bowling annals. She also became the oldest to tally a 300-game. "I was surprised when I found out that I was only the fourth (woman) to throw (a perfect game) here," Ellison said. "It's always exciting to do something like that."
Brennan first accomplished the feat Feb. 6, 1995, at Mariner Lanes. Then known as Pat Overly, Brennan made her mark one month prior to Anita Hearl posting the same honor score at Mariner.
For those who witnessed those two scores so close together, it seemed there might be a flurry of female 300s in the near future. However, it took more than five years before Norman threw the next perfect game June 19, 2000, at Mariner. Norman, who no longer competes in Hernando County, was the president of the local women's bowling association at the time.
It has since been almost nine years of strong female bowlers competing in lanes across the county and coming up short of the list time and again. That was the case until this month when Ellison, a 203-average bowler in the Coca-Cola Classic League on Monday nights at Mariner, broke through.
On Feb. 2, she strung together 12 consecutive strikes in the first game of her series that night. She finished with a 740 series. She followed up the first game with scores of 249 and 191 to end the evening.
It was the second time this season Ellison put up highlight reel totals. On Oct. 13, she put together a 725 series with games of 221, 236 and 268.
None of this comes as a surprise to Ellison, though. Although this is her first encounter down here, she is no stranger to U.S. Bowling Congress achievements. The fourth county female perfect game was actually her fourth career perfect game, as well.
A veteran of the sport for over 35 years, she tossed three prior 300s in New York. The first she threw was in Monroe, N.Y., and at the time, she was the first woman to accomplish that feat there. She threw another in Monroe and one more in Newburgh, N.Y. Even with this previous experience, it had been some time since she flirted with perfection.
She moved down to Spring Hill in 2006 and saw her average steadily rise after coming here. She went from the mid 180s right before she left New York to a 206 average in the Coca-Cola Classic League last season.
Ellison said her comfort level led to the success.
"I definitely don't have any quarrels with the weather down here, so that helps," she said. "Plus, the bowling (centers) down here are much nicer than they are in New York."
While most her age would be satisfied with the past accomplishments she has on the lanes, Ellison isn't backing down. Don't expect this to be the last time you see the senior setting records and making exclusive lists. She has as least one more goal in mind.
"I am not surprised at all with how I am doing right now," Ellison said. "I expect to get an 800 (series) one of these days."
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