Kelly Kulick, John Janawicz Bowling 2019 QubicaAMF World Cup in Indonesia

by Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications 0

ARLINGTON, Texas - Decades of experience and success at various levels of their sport helped earn Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, and John Janawicz of Winter Haven, Florida, spots in the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame.

Their legacies include nearly a quarter of a century on Team USA, tens of thousands of miles traveled and more than 60 international medals.

But, despite all they've seen and accomplished, the two are about to embark on a journey that will allow them to do something for the first time - represent the United States at the prestigious QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup.

They earned the opportunity with wins at the 2019 USBC Team USA Trials, something they'd each done once before, though circumstances kept them from parlaying those victories into QubicaAMF World Cup experiences.

Kulick and Janawicz now will be among the nearly 140 competitors from 79 countries headed to Palembang, Indonesia, this week for the 2019 event at the vast Jakabaring Sport City.

"This tournament has always been on my bucket list, and I'm really looking forward to experiencing it for the first time," said Janawicz, a nine-time member of Team USA. "Just to bowl is special, especially with all of the countries that are represented. To win would be incredible. The list of winners for both the men and women is like a who's who of our sport."

When Janawicz won the Team USA Trials for the first time in 2010, the win didn't include an automatic chance to represent the team at the World Cup.

When Kulick won the title in 2000, it was a time when professionals were not able to compete for Team USA. She opted to join the Professional Women's Bowling Association and had to give up the chance at hoisting the coveted World Cup trophy.

The 2019 World Cup field is expected to include 75 men and 62 women. The defending champions are the United States on the women's side and Australia for the men.

While Team USA's Shannon O'Keefe won't be there to defend the title she won last year in Las Vegas, Kulick is excited to accept the responsibility. Defending men's champion Sam Cooley will be back to put his title on the line.

"Team USA definitely has had a huge presence at the World Cup, and it has been a testament to the steppingstones and progression we have, starting with a solid youth program," said Kulick, a 42-year-old right-hander who is on Team USA for the 15th time. "Shannon was able to bring it home for us last year, and I want to do justice by that. I am as prepared as possible, from bowling on the proposed pattern to being thorough with my ball selections."

Official practice at the 2019 World Cup will take place Nov.17, and competition will get underway Nov. 18.

All competitors will bowl 24 games of qualifying over four days (six games each day), before the field is cut to the top 24 for eight additional games. Total pinfall after 32 games will determine the eight men and eight women who will advance to round-robin match play.

The top four in each division then will move on to the knockout-style semifinals based on their 40-game totals, including bonus pins for each win in match play.

The lengthy format at the World Cup certainly will test the players and their endurance, but it also will give them a chance to enjoy the amazing social aspect of the event and the chance to interact with fellow competitors from so many different places.

"Building relationships with people from other places and cultures is such a special bonus of the World Cup," Kulick said. "Usually, Team USA events are team events, and your focus is on your teammates and collective goals. Bowling is a sport that unites the world, and this trip will include time for much more one-on-one interaction. Yes, we'll all be competitors and athletes on the lanes, but I'm looking forward to making new friends off the lanes."

Janawicz, a 47-year-old right-hander, also is looking forward to some of the off-lane opportunities, and getting to share the experience with a longtime friend and teammate like Kulick makes it even better.

His years in bowling, both as an athlete and in his lane maintenance role with Kegel, have taken him to about 40 countries, including Indonesia and Jakabaring Sport City, which he visited in a working role for the 2018 Asian Games.

Along with being known for his hard work in the industry, Janawicz also has earned a reputation for his love of shopping and desserts, something that is fun and different in each country.

Though his previous visit to Palembang in 2018 allowed him to learn a lot about the 40-lane bowling center and its tendencies, which no doubt will help him, Kulick and Team USA head coach Rod Ross during the World Cup, he didn't have much time to see what the city he had to offer.

"Kelly is fantastic, and we've bowled with and against each other for many years," Janawicz said. "I know we'll be able to work together and communicate on the lanes, and it will be fun to explore the city a little bit, too. Everyone knows I love to check out the shopping scene, and I've been known to enjoy a dessert or two. Trying all the local food also is a fun part of seeing so many places."

At the 2018 World Cup, O'Keefe and Team USA's Kyle Troup nearly became the second duo in 54 years of World Cup history to sweep both titles, a feat Sweden accomplished in 1986.

Troup, who was dominant all week, including a perfect game during qualifying, fell to Cooley in the championship match. O'Keefe defeated Malaysia's Sin Li Jane.

O'Keefe became the ninth woman from the United States to win the World Cup, and she was the first to do so since her Team USA teammates - Shannon Pluhowsky, Lynda Barnes and Diandra Asbaty - won three consecutive times from 2004-2006. The win marked the record 20th World Cup title for the United States.

To see the complete schedule for the 2019 World Cup, visit QubicaAMF.com.

For more information on Team USA, visit BOWL.com/TeamUSA.

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