Joanne Schwab Harris started bowling while a freshman at the University of Texas. By the end of her first college league, she was averaging in the high 120s. The next summer at Bowl America Burke, she learned how to hook the ball in an adult/youth league and soon averaged in the mid-130s.
Upon her return to Texas, she was urged by a dorm mate to try out for the school bowling team. She did -- and succeeded. Coaching, gaining knowledge by being around good bowlers, learning a spare-shooting system, obtaining a finger-tip urethane ball, and much practice boosted her average into the 150s and then the 170s-and earned her Rookie of the Year honors on the UT team.
Joanne continued to bowl for UT for another 2½ years and picked up All Conference, Conference MVP, and UT Bowler of the Year honors. She was most proud that her team ranked 10th in the nation during her last semester.
Raised in the team bowling environment, she had difficulty adjusting to individual competition, but gained confidence with successful experiences in many local and regional tournament programs.
In 1992, she qualified via a Women's All-Star Association tournament for the Virginia finals of U.S. Amateur Championships. Despite much early frustration with the heavy oil conditions, she came from behind to win in the ?nal game and advanced to the National Amateur Championships in San Diego, Calif., where she finished 23rd.
Joanne won the state championships again in 1993 and 1994, finishing 16th at the national finals in Minneapolis in 1994, which qualified her for the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1995. She was thrilled with her success at the festival, winning gold medals in the singles and team (with Lisa Bishop, Kendra Cameron, and Jeanne Zappulla) events, and a silver medal in the doubles event (with Bishop).
Joanne's other accomplishments include membership on the Virginia State Tournament Division 1 championship team in 1989; three Virginia Bowling Queens titles (1990, 1991 , and 1995); a WDCAWBA Division 1 doubles title (with Lisa Rand in 1993); and WDCAWBA's top-ranked bowler in 1993-94 with a 206.31 composite average. Her individual highs are a 215 average, a 300 game, and a 773 series.
Never afraid to lump up on a soapbox or take pen to hand to advocate the merits of women's bowling, Joanne Schwab Harris has a record that unquestionably demonstrates merit on the lanes. She is a superb addition to the WDCAWBA Hall of Fame.