Bowling: Monica Biliskov rolls into history at El-Mar Bowl
By Tony Baranek email@example.com March 23, 2014 7:16PM
Monica Biliskov rolled a 300 game March 12 at El-Mar Bowl in Bridgeview. | Tony Baranek/Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 25, 2014 6:14AM
Monica Biliskov was hoping a new ball would bring a change in her bowling fortunes.
It did — in historic proportion.
The 40-year-old Chicago resident debuted her new Storm Byte on March 12 at El-Mar Bowl. She took two practice shots. Then practice made perfect when she opened with 12 consecutive strikes to become just the third woman in El-Mar history to toss a sanctioned 300 game.
Biliskov joined Cindy Spriesch (Dec. 4, 2009) and Amy Armalis (April 9, 2012) in an exclusive class at El-Mar, which was built in 1957.
“We get a lot of women who do come close, who shoot 279, 280 and 290s,” El-Mar owner and manager Janice Zelensky said. “But to string 12 (strikes) you get up there and your knees are knocking and your adrenaline is going. It’s scary.
“I’ll be honest, though. I’ve been thinking that she would be the (next woman) who would do it.”
The 300 was the first of Biliskov’s career. Her previous high game was a 289, achieved earlier this year at El-Mar. Her career high series is 711.
Biliskov, a Queen of Peace High School graduate, has been bowling in the Wednesday Night Mixers league at El-Mar for 18 years. She began bowling in her early 20s after meeting her husband, Bob.
“My father-in-law bowled on the league,” Biliskov said. “We started at Clearing Bowl and then they closed, and then we went to Argo (Bowl), and then they closed. And we were trying to find a league and joined this mixed league.”
Her average peaked at 201 last season, but a seasonlong slump had Biliskov at 181 going into what would be her biggest bowling night.
“I’d been struggling all year. I think it’s something with my mechanics,” she said. “I hadn’t had a new bowl in a couple of years, so I thought, ‘Ah, I’ve been looking at the Storms for a while, so I’m going to go and get it.’
“At the (lanes) I threw a couple of practice shots and that was it.”
The first 11 strikes, Biliskov said, were pocket hits. The 12th was an adventure.
“I wasn’t even thinking about a 300 game, to be honest,” she said. “I’d come close to 11 in a row twice this year, so when I got it I was pretty excited that I was going to get a plaque.
“I threw the 12th ball like I did on the others, but it didn’t make the turn. It finally did at the end, but when it did I left the 4-9. And then I don’t know what pin it was, but the pin came spinning.”
The messenger took out the 9 first, and then kept spinning, finally wrapping itself around the 4 and taking it down just before the rack came down.
“My friends were like, “Really? Did you have do it like you were in a movie?’ I was just like, ‘Hah, hah,’ ” Biliskov said, laughing. “It was pretty exciting.”