Spoiler Alert: The following story contains information about the U15, U17 and U20 finals of the 2019 Junior Gold Championships presented by the Brands of Ebonite International. The stepladder finals will air on CBS Sports Network in the coming weeks and a complete story will be published after each broadcast.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The 2019 Junior Gold Championships presented by the Brands of Ebonite International crowned six champions with the stepladder finals in three divisions of the national youth bowling tournament taking place at Thunderbowl Lanes on Saturday.
Boys and girls champions were decided in the 15-and-under, the 17-and-under and the 20-and-under divisions. All finals were taped for broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
The U12 finals, which took place Friday, will kick off the broadcasts on Tuesday, July 23. The U15 finals will air July 30, the U17 title matches will be broadcast Aug. 6, and the U20 finals will air Aug. 13. All TV shows will start at 8 p.m. Eastern.
The 2019 Junior Gold Championships had a record field of more than 4,000 participants competing for national titles and spots on Junior Team USA.
In the U20 boys division, No. 3 seed Alec Keplinger of Coldwater, Michigan, overcame a big deficit in his opening match against Tom Hankey Jr. of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Hankey Jr. struck on his first five shots to open a 42-pin lead, but two late open frames allowed Keplinger to come back for a 234-209 victory.
In the title match, Daniel Chin of Daly City, California, missed a single-pin spare in the fourth frame while Keplinger got just enough of the single pins he left in the fourth and fifth frames to take a 27-pin lead. Keplinger then had three consecutive strikes, starting in the eighth frame, on his way to a 215-182 victory and the title.
Taylor Davis of Burton, Michigan, struck on four of her first six shots in the opening match in the U20 girls stepladder for a 200-169 victory over Cameron Strombeck of Durham, North Carolina.
Top seed Patricia Rosales of Orlando, Florida, had just two strikes heading into the final frame of the title match against Davis, but kept a clean scoresheet. After Davis struck out in the final frame, Rosales struck on her first two shots for a 198-188 victory.
This year’s U20 divisions had 809 boys and 440 girls.
In the opening match of the U17 girls finals, Amanda Naujokas of Lake Ronlonloma, New York, the 2015 U12 girls champion, held the lead against Caroline Thesier of Mooresville, North Carolina, despite leaving an unusual 7-8-10 split in the fourth. While Naujokas would post four consecutive strikes starting in the sixth frame, Thesier would go one better in a 219-197 victory.
Thesier would continue to strike in the title match against Morgan Gitlitz of Freehold, New Jersey. Starting in the fifth frame, Thesier struck seven consecutive times and had nine strikes overall to claim the title with a 265-225 victory.
In the boys division, Sidney Schroschk of Berlin, Germany, made his presence known for a second consecutive year. In the opening match against Nathan Smith of Noblesville, Indiana, Schroschk rolled to a 259-210 victory to advance against 2015 U12 runner-up Cameron Hurwitz of Rochester, New York.
Hurwitz held the lead in a tight match, and when Schroschk left the 6-8-10 in the eight frame and could not convert, Hurwitz took advantage and the title with a 227-211 victory.
The U17 divisions, which debuted this year, had the largest divisions of the tournament with 868 boys and 446 girls.
Defending U15 girls champion Annalise OBryant of Ball Ground, Georgia, had to work her way back though the elimination bracket to make the TV show, and faced the person who sent her to the lower bracket, Victoria Varano of Stony Point, New York, in the opening match.
OBryant stepped up in the final frame to deliver the two strikes she had to have to advance, reaching the final with a 208-200 victory.
The title match against Isabel Tetmeyer of Ankeny, Iowa, was not any easier, but OBryant posted four consecutive strikes starting in the seventh frame on her way to a 199-185 victory and her second consecutive title.
First time Junior Gold participant Ashton Yamasaki of Portland, Oregon, was in the pocket all night but left three consecutive corner pins while his opponent, Brandon Caruso of Channahon, Illinois, overcame an early open frame with a string of four strikes to take a 217-199 victory.
Top seed John Nunn of Jacksonville, Florida, opened with three strikes against Caruso in the title match before missing a single-pin spare in the fourth. Nunn, who bowls two-handed but shoots spares with one hand, had to convert another single-pin spare in the final frame for the title, and converted it for a 207-198 victory.
The U15 divisions had 715 boys and 359 girls.
Thunderbowl Lanes was one of eight centers that hosted qualifying and match-play rounds leading up to the stepladder finals. The other centers were AMF Rose Bowl Lanes in Roseville, Astro Lanes in Madison Heights, Bowl One Lanes in Troy, Century Bowl in Waterford Township, Skore Lanes in Taylor, Sterling Lanes in Sterling Heights, and Super Bowl Lanes in Canton.
Competitors in the U15, U17 and U20 divisions bowled 16 qualifying games over four days (four games each day) before the field was cut. Bowlers then bowled an additional five games before a second cut was made, and those remaining bowled an additional five games to determine the 16 bowlers for match play.
Match play was a double-elimination bracket with all matches two games with total pins determining the winner.
BowlTV.com had live coverage from select centers throughout the week’s competition.
Visit BOWL.com/JuniorGold for more information on the event and the Junior Gold program.
Junior Team USA spots determined
Six boys and six girls automatically earned spots on Junior Team USA for 2019 through their performances at Junior Gold this week.
Making the girls team are Jillian Martin, Stow, Ohio; Elise Chambers, Ocoee, Florida; Faith Welch, Savannah, Tennessee; Angelique Dalesandro, Rolling Meadows, Illinois; Taylor Davis, Burton, Michigan; and Patricia Rosales, Orlando, Florida.
Earning a spot on the boys team were Anthony Neuer, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; Cerell Cardine, Las Vegas; Joey Ocello, Neptune, New Jersey; Peyton Smith, Loganville, Georgia; Daniel Chin, Daly City, California; and Alec Keplinger, Coldwater, Michigan.
Four selections also were made for the U17 and U15 Developmental teams.
Making the U17 team are Jennifer Loredo, Fresno, California; Amanda Naujokas, Lake Ronlonloma, New York; Angelo Biondo, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; and Cameron Hurwitz, Rochester, New York.
Earning positions on the U15 team are Annalise OBryant, Ball Ground, Georgia; Elizabeth Coutta, Smyrna, Tennessee; Randal Dunbar, Milford, Maine; and John Nunn, Jacksonville, Florida.
Visit BOWL.com for more information on the Junior Gold Championships and Junior Team USA.