Four Youth Bowlers Take National Titles At North Pointe Junior Gold Championships
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. - Four youth bowlers rose to the occasion and captured national youth titles Friday as the 2013 North Pointe Junior Gold Championships presented by Track, Columbia 300, Ebonite and Hammer came to a close.
Wesley Low of Palmdale, Calif., Julia Bond of Aurora, Ill., Cortez Schenck of Phoenix and Taylor Russell of Tupelo, Miss., all came away with championships in their respective divisions at Sunnybrook Lanes. A record 2,078 athletes took part in the event and competed for more than $275,000 in scholarships.
Low, 16, went undefeated in the double-elimination match-play bracket with a 5-0 record to claim the 20-and-under boys title. The two-handed lefty knocked off Ryan Zagar of Kenosha, Wis., 456-425, in the two-game title match.
"It feels like I accomplished something really big today," said Low, a current Junior Team USA member. "All the hard work I put into my spare shooting and practicing on the patterns really paid off and helped me."
After leading 25 games of qualifying by more than six pins a game on the field, Bond, 17, also went undefeated in match play to win the U20 girls title. She defeated current Junior Team USA member Sarah Lokker of New Baltimore, Mich., 386-339.
"It's all overwhelming - the ceremony, the people, the awards," Bond said. "The fact that I made it this far and was so successful means a lot. To be on the same level as all of the other great bowlers is amazing."
The top two players in the U20 boys and girls divisions after 25 games of qualifying earned automatic spots on Junior Team USA in 2014. Those spots went to Nick Kruml of Downers Grove, Ill., Andrew Anderson of Holly, Mich., Liz Kuhlkin of Rotterdam, N.Y., and Bond.
In addition, the players who advanced to the U20 championship match also earned automatic spots on Junior Team USA with Low, Zagar and Lokker earning those spots. Since Bond had already earned a spot, an additional section went to the National Selection Committee.
The selections to Junior Team USA were Matt Farber of Plainview, N.Y., Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tenn., Natalie Goodman of O'Fallon, Ill., Elise Bolton of Merritt Island, Fla., and Breanna Clemmer of Clover, S.C. Clemmer is the first player to be selected from the U15 division onto Junior Team USA.
Schenck, 14, who lost in the U15 boys title match last year, claimed the 2013 U15 boys title in dominating fashion. He lead qualifying and went undefeated in match play, taking the title with a 417-390 victory over Michael Martell of Brooklyn, N.Y.
"After finishing second last year, I just wanted to make sure I didn't choke, and I wanted to put on the best show that I could," Schenck said. "I just can't believe that I won Junior Gold. It's a great feeling and not every kid gets to do this."
In the U15 girls title match, Russell had to knock off previously unbeaten Ashley Channell of Morris Chapel, Tenn., in back-to-back matches. Russell, 15, won the first match 370-353 and took the deciding match 373-338.
"It's crazy because I never would have thought I would make it this far," Russell said. "It was a very challenging week, but I pushed myself through it."
Four U15 bowlers who were age eligible earned spots to compete in the Tournament of Americas in 2014 and to join the Team USA development team program. Those players were Schenck, Sean Wilcox of Altamonte Springs, Fla., Leah Glazer of Henderson, Nev., and Channell.
For more information on the North Pointe Junior Gold Championships, visit BOWL.com/JuniorGold.
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2013 NORTH POINTE JUNIOR GOLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Sunnybrook Lanes, Sterling Heights, Mich.
Two-game matches decided by total pinfall
Wesley Low, Palmdale, Calif., def. Ryan Zagar, Kenosha, Wish, 456-425
Julia Bond, Aurora, Ill., def. Sarah Lokker, New Baltimore, Mich., 386-339
Cortez Schenck, Phoenix def. Michael Martell, Brooklyn, N.Y., 417-390
Taylor Russell, Tupelo, Miss., def. Ashley Channell, Morris Chapel, Tenn., 370-353 (Channell's first match play loss; second championship match required)
Russell def. Channell, 373-338