BY BLAIR BLUMENSCHEID
Storm All-American Team decided at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas
BRIGHAM CITY, Utah - Many professional athletes speak about defining moments as a youth throughout their entire career and through these stories of passion, determination, and dedication, it’s evident that these athletes become committed to their sport at a very young age and work hard to reach their goals.
The Storm Youth Championships (SYC) gives youth bowlers the chance to set goals for their future and showcase their talents on a national stage. After two days of competition, six smiling youth athletes were proud to hold the SYC trophies high above their heads.
"The Storm Youth Championships is an event that celebrates all the best parts of bowling," said Gary Hulsenberg, Vice President of Business Development at Storm Bowling. "Families come together to support growing athletes doing what they love to do, while supporting a great charity that helps improve the lives of people going through a tough time."
The first SYC of 2019 was held in Las Vegas, Nev., February 15-17, at South Point Bowling Plaza. More than 200 youth bowlers from 28 different states, including 7 bowlers from Puerto Rico, and one bowler from Poland traveled to compete at the South Point Bowling Plaza. The youth bowlers competed in four five-game rounds on four different Kegel patterns in six different divisions determined by gender and age (U20 Boys, U20 Girls, U15 Boys, U15 Girls, U12 Boys, U12 Girls) for a national title and a portion of the $19,950 scholarship fund.
The overall champions at the SYC demonstrated consistency across all four patterns and were decided based on their 20 game total pinfall. In the U12 Girls division, Katelyn Abigania battled a wrist injury to earn the title finishing 194 pins ahead of the field. She also earned the gold medal in all four rounds of competition. Elias O’Hollaren dominated the U12 Boys division, finishing with a 442-pin lead. His best block was the long pattern, finishing with a 226 average. Bowling for the first time in the U15 Girls Division, Saphyre Nofuente averaged 216 her final block to take home her second SYC title, while Alexander Horton picked up his first SYC title, averaging 226 for the event. In the U20 Division, two past SYC Champions, Mabel Cummins and Spencer Robarge, outlasted the competition to capture their fourth SYC Titles.
The talent of the youth bowlers at the Storm Youth Championships is always remarkable. The top two competitors in each division were named to the Storm All-American Team. Avery Domaguin, Sebastian Huffman, Samantha Conti, Ashton Yamasaki, Jennifer Loredo, and Cerell Cardines will join the Las Vegas champions on the 2019 Storm All-American Team.
In addition to the overall champions, the top three bowlers in each division were presented a gold, silver, or bronze medal after each round. Each round proved challenging, but several youth bowlers conquered the patterns and rose to the top. Some highlights included TJ Rock throwing two 279 games in a five game block to earn the gold on short, Ashton Yamasaki with 11-in-a-row in game three averaging 247 to earn the gold medal on the medium pattern in the U15 Division, and Solomon Salama dominated the medium pattern in the U20 division throwing games of 278, 279, 243, 264, 300 to capture the gold medal.
Throughout the weekend participants and their families were able to attend the “How To Make A Storm Bowling Ball” seminar with Storm’s Technical Director, Chad McLean. They also were able to meet and practice with members of the Storm Bowling Pro Staff, and discuss lane play strategies with Storm Tour Representatives, Mike DeVaney and Del Ballard Jr. Every bowler who entered the tournament received a Storm Phaze II bowling ball to add to their tournament arsenal and were given the opportunity to have it drilled at the South Point Pro Shop.
Charitable giving also continues to be a focus for the Storm Youth Championships. A donation of $10 from each entry goes directly to BVBC also known as Ballard vs. the Big “C.” BVBC raises funds for continued research in cancer treatment, specifically in head, neck, and throat cancer, through the sport of bowling. BVBC also raises money for nutritional supplements and treatments for those going through the cancer journey. The Ballard Family was on site to host a BVBC silent auction, raffles and more throughout the weekend. The SYC event raised $8,900 for BVBC.
"At Storm, we're incredibly lucky to have owners who give back through the sport of bowling as much as they can," Hulsenberg said. "Bill and Barbara Chrisman's generosity is felt through the events that they sponsor and the community that they have built throughout the world."
This tournament would not be possible without the support of our sponsors; Storm, Roto Grip, Logo Infusion, Turbo 2-N-1 Grips, Kegel, 3G Shoes, and Bowlers Journal International. The event was livestreamed throughout the two days of competition on the Storm Bowling Facebook Page.
The 2019 SYC Tour will host a total of six events in 2019. The SYC will travel to Double Decker Lanes in Rohnert Park, California, March 22-24. This event is sold-out with a waiting list. Entries for the next event in Smyrna, Tenn., May 24-26, will open on March 18 at Noon MST. This event sold-out quickly in 2018. Two new cities, Lincoln, Neb. and Wichita, Kan., will host events in June and August. In October, the SYC will return to Shallotte, N.C. For more information about our upcoming events visit our website, http://www.stormbowling.com/syc or check the StormJr Facebook Page.