Hulsenberg, MacPherson, Conners Elected to PWBA Hall of Fame

by Terry Bigham, USBC Communications 2

ARLINGTON, Texas – Leanne Hulsenberg, Wendy Macpherson and Donna Conners will comprise the first class of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Hall of Fame in 16 years, following their election by the PWBA Hall of Fame committee.

Hulsenberg and Macpherson were elected in the Performance category, while Conners will go into the PWBA Hall of Fame in the Meritorious Service/Builder category.

The 2019 PWBA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place May 15 in Wichita, Kansas, in conjunction with the 2019 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Queens, a major event on the PWBA Tour. Details on the ceremony will be announced later.

Hulsenberg, 51, captured 26 PWBA titles from 1987 through 2002, including the 1999 USBC Queens, and won her second major title at the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open. She is third on the PWBA all-time titles list behind Lisa Wagner (32) and Aleta Sill (31), is one of just four competitors to surpass the $1 million mark in career PWBA earnings and made more than 100 appearances on television.

“I am so honored to be included in the return of the PWBA Hall of Fame and look forward to the ceremony in May,” Hulsenberg said. “My entire life has been, and continues to be, dedicated to the great sport of bowling, and to be recognized for that is very sweet. My sincerest gratitude goes out to the people who nominated me, the PWBA and the hall of fame committee.”

The 1987 PWBA Rookie of the Year, when she won three titles, Hulsenberg became the first bowler to capture back-to-back PWBA Player of the Year honors in 1990 and 1991. She was selected to the Bowlers Journal International All-American Team 18 times in her career, including 12 selections to the first team, and was named Women’s Pro Bowler of the Year three times (1990, 1991, 2002) by Bowling Digest.

She led the PWBA in season average four times and was the PWBA Robby Sportsmanship Award winner in 1990 and 1991. She was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame in 2008.

Macpherson, 51, was an 18-year-old high school senior in 1986 when she became the youngest bowler to win the  U.S. Women’s Open, the first of her 20 PWBA titles. She joined the pro tour that summer, claiming PWBA Rookie of the Year honors, and won five more major titles in her career – three USBC Queens (1998, 2000, 2003) and two Sam’s Town Invitational (1990, 1999) titles.

“Being selected to the PWBA Hall of Fame is an awesome feeling,” Macpherson said. “It is a feeling of being voted in, and added to, the greats of my sport. Bowling was, and still is, my life. I work every day running tournaments for High Roller Inc. and give many lessons and clinics for Storm. Every time I am involved with people in the bowling centers, they always tell me how they watched me on ESPN. I am often reminded of my career through these interactions, and I am honored to now say that I am in the PWBA Hall of Fame.”

She was named PWBA Player of the Year four times over a five-year stretch from 1996-2000 and is the PWBA all-time career earnings leader with more than $1.2 million. In 1997, she posted the highest single-season earnings mark with $165,425. She was selected to the Bowlers Journal All-American Team 12 times and selected as the publication’s Female Bowler of the Decade for the 1990s.

She is the youngest winner of the triple crown, completing the feat when she won the Sam’s Town Invitational in 1990 at age 22. She holds the record for most television appearances in a season (15) and was the first player to reach 100 television appearances.

Macpherson also has won 10 titles on the Japanese Professional Bowlers Association Tour. In 2006, she became the first woman to win a USBC Open Championships title with an 812 series in singles. She was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame in 2009.

Conners, 63, is the founder and executive director of the annual PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles tournament, growing the event from 32 teams in 2000 to its current 160 teams. She always has said the focus is on the players and always ensured she would find a partner for any woman who wanted to bowl in the event.

“When I received the call, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Conners said. “I’m so deeply honored to be a part of the PWBA Hall of Fame in what it represents in our sport. For me to be speechless is unheard of, to say the least. It absolutely means the world to me.”

A USBC Silver coach, she is co-owner of Carol Norman’s Pro Shop and has done layouts and ball drillings for numerous PWBA players. She has supported the women’s bowling program at Stephen F. Austin with bowling balls and layout advice, and supports Pat Costello’s girls high school bowling team in Oviedo, Florida.

Conners is a member of the Houston and Texas Bowling Halls of Fame and has won seven PWBA Regional titles.

The 2019 PWBA Hall of Fame class was selected by the PWBA Hall of Fame committee based on applications received. The committee is comprised of three PWBA Hall of Fame members, three Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA) board members, three USBC board members, and three media members.

The committee also voted to count major titles earned in the USBC Queens and at the U.S. Women’s Open during the PWBA’s hiatus from 2004-2014 as PWBA Tour titles.

Nominees in the Performance category had to be at least 50 years of age and needed a minimum of 10 PWBA Tour titles or a minimum of five PWBA Tour titles including two majors. Nominees in the Meritorious/Builder category had to show they advanced the PWBA as an organization, promoted the PWBA Tour through media and must show a minimum of five years of support.

The inaugural PWBA Hall of Fame class in 1995 included Donna Adamek, Patty Costello, Dorothy Fothergill, Mildred Ignizio, Marion Ladewig, and Betty Morris in the Performance category, LaVerne Carter, Helen Duvall and Shirley Garms in Pioneer, and Georgia Veatch in the Builder category. With the 2019 class, there are 38 members of the PWBA Hall of Fame – 21 in Performance, 10 in Pioneer and seven in Meritorious Service/Builder.

The 2019 PWBA Tour season will have 14 events, kicking off with the PWBA Greater Cleveland Open on April 25-27 at Yorktown Lanes.

Visit PWBA.com for more information on the PWBA and the PWBA Hall of Fame.

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