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Bowling: Melissa Gawlik-Stadt throws second perfect game almost year to date after first one

MelissGawlik-Stadt recently rolled her second perfect game less than year. | Tony Baranek/Sun-Times Media

Melissa Gawlik-Stadt recently rolled her second perfect game in less than a year. | Tony Baranek/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 14, 2014 6:15AM



Melissa Gawlik-Stadt had quite the bowling anniversary Thursday at Centennial Lanes in Tinley Park.

Almost one year to the night of her first perfect game (Jan. 11, 2013), she tossed her second 300.

“It was one of those very silent 300s,” she said. “No one really was paying attention because it was on the first pair where the league starts on lanes 11 and 12. Nobody really knew until it was announced.”

Stadt is one of Centennial’s most active bowlers. The Burbank native, who works as an admissions adviser at DeVry University, competes full time in five leagues.

She’s averaging 215 in her Wednesday Rhino Mixed league, 212 in Saturday Night Mixed, 212 in Sunday Night Mixed and 210 in Friday Night Mixed.

On Thursday night, along with several other women, she bowls full time in the Thursday Miller Men’s league, where she carries a 208 average.

“Last year they needed another team and they ended up taking myself and another girl (Tereysa Wojnar) on our team,” Stadt said. “They didn’t have a problem with it because of our averages.

“It was a little intimidating at first, but now it’s fun competition.”

Stadt has been bowling since age 5.

“It was something to do,” she remembers. “My mom (Linda Gawlik) used to take me. We lived in Burbank and we used to go to El-Mar Bowl (in Bridgeview) all the time. I bowled in the kids leagues on weekends.”

At Reavis High School, Stadt was on the tennis, badminton and bowling teams. She was a member of the 2001-02 varsity bowling squad that advanced to state for the first time since 1988-89.

The Rams, coached by Don Bylut, captured the Hinsdale South Sectional. Stadt’s 1,125 total for six games was the highest on the team. She had games of 194 and 191 at state, but Reavis failed to make the cut on the first day.

“The truth is, we had gone to a restaurant on that Thursday night and got food poisoning,” Stadt said. “We didn’t do very well the next day.”

Stadt joined a women’s league while a student at Robert Morris College, and in her first season won a no-tap tournament at Centennial.

She says a big turning point in her bowling career took place four years ago when, struggling with her equipment, she took it in to Jason Wojar, the pro shop proprietor at Centennial.

“When he looked at it we realized that all of my equipment was off,” she said. “The fingers were off, the grips were off. He ended up redoing all of my equipment. He’s the reason my bowling has gotten so much better. I wouldn’t go to anyone else.”

Thursday’s gem was shot with a Columbia Crazy Antics. Her first 300 was thrown with an Ebonite Pursuit.

“It was on a Friday night and we were short of bowlers,” Stadt said of the first perfect game. “So it was a quick pace, just great for me. We were so far ahead of everybody that no one started realizing that I was going for a 300 until about the 11th ball.”

She buried her last two shots.

“Actually, I buried every one of them (in that game),” she said. “It was pretty crazy, one of those games where literally, you could say it was the best game you ever bowled.”

No-tap on tap

Centennial Lanes is hosting a No-Tap tournament on Saturday, open to all bowlers.

For more information, call (708) 633-0500.



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