SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - For the fourth consecutive time in Pan American Bowling Confederation competition, the Team USA women are the trios gold medalists.
The latest triumph for the United States was a runaway victory for Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio (1,423), Jordan Richard of Tecumseh, Michigan (1,308), and Shannon O'Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois (1,279), who averaged nearly 223 over six games Thursday at Sebelen Bowling Center to reach the top of the standings at the 2018 PABCON Women's Championships with a 4,010 pinfall total.
Their teammates, Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California (1,302), Sydney Brummett of Fort Wayne, Indiana (1,299), and Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York (1,267), used a strong last frame to claim the silver medal with a 3,868 effort.
Brummett and Kuhlkin both tossed three strikes in the final frame, and Parkin struck on her first offering to lift the team past Colombia's Clara Guerrero (1,327), Maria Jose Rodriguez (1,277) and Rocio Restrepo (1,256), who held on for the bronze medal with 3,860, four pins ahead of their own teammates.
The win marked the third consecutive trios title, and fourth overall, for O'Keefe in PABCON competition. In Cali, Colombia, in 2016, she teamed with Pluhowsky and Josie Barnes of Nashville, Tennessee, for the victory.
Whether she's competing with Team USA or leading the McKendree University bowling team, O'Keefe considers all of the team members family, and there's nothing more special than sharing such incredible moments with the people she loves.
"I didn't bowl in college, so bowling was always individual, and bowling on the PWBA (Professional Women's Bowling Association) Tour is individual, so these events are the No. 1 thing I love, outside of representing my country," said O'Keefe, a 14-time Team USA member who also has a pair of trios wins at the World Bowling Championships. "I love bowling with my friends, and being able to bowl well, win gold medals and hear our national anthem for doing something we love is amazing. I feel I really thrive in this environment, and it makes me want to keep doing it."
The one-two finish for Team USA came a day after the group became the first women's team in tournament history to win all three doubles medals in a single year.
O'Keefe and Richard were the doubles gold medalists, Brummett and Parkin earned silver and Kuhlkin and Pluhowsky took the bronze medal. Pluhowsky also earned the bronze medal in singles Tuesday.
The teammates now are excited to have the momentum heading into Friday's team event.
All competitors will return to Sebelen Bowling Center for six games of traditional five-player team competition, beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern.
The field this week features 51 competitors representing nine countries - Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and the United States.
Colombia is the defending champion in the team event, after a nail-biting, final-frame win on its home turf in 2016. Team USA took home the silver medal. The difference was 11 pins.
Along with the team title on the line, the all-events medalists also will be determined Friday based on the week's 24 games - six games in singles, doubles, trios and team.
The top 16 players in the all-events standings will advance to Saturday's Masters match play.
Pluhowsky, Team USA's lone left-hander this week, is second in the all-events standings through 18 games with a 4,153 total and in position for a chance to defend the Masters title she won in Cali in 2016.
Brazil's Stephanie Martins, this week's singles winner, leads the all-events race with 4,246, and Colombian left-hander Anggie Ramirez Perea is third with 4,059.
All six Team USA women are in the top 16 after three days of competition. Parkin is fourth with 4,024, Brummett is seventh (3,922), O'Keefe is eighth (3,908), Kuhlkin is 11th (3,867) and Richard is 12th (3,854). Puerto Rico's Pamela Perez is in the 16th position after 18 games with a 3,765 total, a 209.17 average.
"Our goal today was just to have fun, and if we did that, we'd make better shots," said Pluhowsky, who has been on Team USA since 2001. "Now, we're going into the team event, and it seems that the more players we add to our team, the stronger we get. Everyone's got a really good look, so if they play the same, we should be good to go."
For more information on Team USA, visit BOWL.com/TeamUSA.
For more information, or to follow the scores from the PABCON Women's Championships, visit PABCON.org.
2018 PABCON WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Sebelen Bowling Center
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
GOLD - Shannon O'Keefe/Shannon Pluhowsky/Jordan Richard, United States, 4,010
SILVER - Sydney Brummett/Liz Kuhlkin/Missy Parkin, United States, 3,868
BRONZE - Clara Guerrero/Rocio Restrepo/Maria Jose Rodriguez, Colombia, 3,860