Photo provided by Cody Schmitt
ARLINGTON, Texas - To say Cody Schmitt of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, feels at home at Anchor Lanes may be an understatement.
The 26-year-old right-hander grew up bowling at the 12-lane center in Elkhart Lake before his family took over ownership of the facility in 2013, and he has been running the pro shop inside the center - Firehouse Pro Shop - since the summer of 2019.
He's surrounded by family and longtime friends each day he walks in, which made his experience of rolling three consecutive 300 games for a 900 series on Nov. 16 something he'll never forget.
Schmitt's perfect evening in the Tuesday GFL at Anchor Lanes has been approved by the United States Bowling Congress, making him the 37th bowler in history to achieve the feat.
The set is the 38th USBC-approved 900 overall and first since former Team USA member Wesley Low Jr. of Palmdale, California, rolled 900 to start a tournament in Glendale, Arizona, in July 2020.
Schmitt had put together a couple of big sets at Anchor Lanes prior to his run of 36 consecutive strikes last Tuesday, including an 859 series in 2018 and 879 in 2020.
His 879 also started with back-to-back 300 games, before a 4 pin early in Game 3 ended his streak. He leaned on what he learned in that experience as he approached his final few frames.
"I got to the fourth frame, I believe, before the ball checked up a little and I left a 4 pin," Schmitt said. "I think that experience helped me Tuesday night, too. Once I got past the fourth frame of the third game, I thought maybe I do have a chance at this."
As he got to the 10th frame of Game 3, a Facebook Live video from the Anchor Lanes account turned its attention to lanes 11 and 12, as Schmitt looked to roll three more strikes.
His second shot in the 10th was left of target but was able to hold line to the pocket, but his final shot left little doubt, earning him a spot in the USBC record book.
"I don't really think there's a way to prepare your mind for going up for a chance at 900," said Schmitt, who had 22 USBC-approved 300s and 18 800s prior to his 900 series. "I just focused on having good mechanics and throwing the shots I needed to make. The second ball in the 10th definitely was not my best pitch. I missed inside, but I had that miss room. When you shoot a big series, there has to be some amount of luck that goes into throwing it. I got the lucky breaks, and the pins were going the right way for me."
Schmitt became the fourth bowler to roll 900 in Wisconsin, joining Tony Roventini (1999), Mark Wukoman (2006) and PJ Giesfeldt (2007).
He needed every pin to set the house record at Anchor Lanes, as well. John Reiss rolled 899 on the same pair of lanes in January 2000.
Through social media, Schmitt has received countless well wishes and congratulations for the achievement, highlighted by six-time Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Jason Belmonte and PBA Tour commissioner Tom Clark.
"It has been extremely overwhelming," Schmitt said. "So many people have reached out to wish me congratulations, and I'm the kind of person that wants to thank every single person. Even if I don't get to everybody, I really do appreciate all the well wishes. It's something that's really humbling and cool."
While his hot streak continued with an 853 series (289-287-277) just two days after his 900 set, Schmitt is most appreciative of the individuals he was able to share the moment with at Anchor Lanes, including his parents, Dan and Linda.
"It certainly is special to do this at your home center in front of everybody you grew up with," Schmitt said. "My dad was the one filming the Facebook Live video, and my mom was there working. It's cool to have your family there for sure. One of the first things I did was hug my dad. There's not a lot of people that get to do that with their family present, and it's something that's really special for me."
The first USBC-approved 900 occurred Feb. 2, 1997, when Jeremy Sonnenfeld rolled three consecutive perfect games in Lincoln, Nebraska.
For more information on any USBC records, visit BOWL.com/Records.
USBC-Approved 900 Series (38)
Jeremy Sonnenfeld (R), Lincoln, Neb., Feb. 2, 1997
Tony Roventini (L), Greenfield, Wis., Nov. 9, 1998
Vince Wood (R), Moreno Valley, Calif., Sept, 29, 1999
Robby Portalatin (L), Jackson, Mich., Dec. 28, 2000
James Hylton (R), Salem, Ore., May 2, 2001
Jeff Campbell II (R), New Castle, Pa., June 12, 2004
Darin Pomije (R), New Prague, Minn., Dec. 9, 2004
Robert Mushtare (R), Fort Drum, N.Y., Dec. 5, 2005 and Feb. 19, 2006
Lonnie Billiter Jr. (R), Fairfield, Ohio, Feb. 13, 2006
Mark Wukoman (R), Greenfield, Wis., April 22, 2006
P.J. Giesfeldt (R), Milwaukee, Dec. 23, 2006
Rich Jerome Jr. (R), Baltimore, Dec. 22, 2008
Chris Aker (L), Winnemucca, Nev., Oct. 30, 2009
Andrew Teall (R), Medford, N.J., Nov. 2, 2009
Andrew Mank (R), Belleville, Ill., March 18, 2010
William Howell III (L), Middletown, N.Y., Oct. 21, 2010
Matt Latarski (R), Medina, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2010
Bob Kammer Jr. (R), Crown Point, Ind., Jan. 8, 2011
John Martorella Sr. (R), Greece, N.Y., April 12, 2012
Jimmy Schmitzer (R), Riverside, Calif., April 20, 2012
James Williams (R), Pawcatuck, Conn., (bowled in Wakefield, R.I.), April 16, 2013
Joe Scarborough (R), Charlotte, N.C., (bowled in The Villages, Fla.), April 21, 2013
Todd James (R), East New Market, Md., (bowled in Laurel, Del.), March 18, 2014
Amos Gordon (R), Colorado Springs, Colo., April 11, 2014
Earon Vollmar (R), Toledo, Ohio, Jan. 19, 2015
Hakim Emmanuel (R), Stoughton, Mass., Feb. 19, 2015
David Sewesky (L), Dearborn, Mich., Jan. 10, 2016
Dale Gerhard (R), Mill Hall, Pa., Jan. 12, 2016
Sean Osbourn (R), Houston, Nov. 21, 2016
John Buchanan III (R), Evansville, Ind., Jan. 11, 2017
Sam Esposito (R), Homer Glen, Ill., Feb. 3, 2017
Brady Stearns (R), St. Cloud, Minn., March 28, 2017
Joe Novara (R), East Patchogue, N.Y., Oct. 16, 2017
Jonathan Wilbur (R), North Clarendon, Vt., Jan. 14, 2019
Jeremy Milito (L), Holbrook, N.Y., April 25, 2019
Wesley Low Jr. (L), Palmdale, Calif. (bowled in Glendale, Ariz.), July 19, 2020
Cody Schmitt (R), Elkhart Lake, Wis., Nov. 16, 2021