SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains information about the finals of the two USA Bowling events that will air on CBS Sports Network in August. Complete stories will be distributed after each final airs.
ARLINGTON, Texas - It may have been a year later and in a different location, but the winning teams were the same at the 2018 USA Bowling National Championships presented by Sixlets, which concluded Saturday at the International Training and Research Center.
The event once again brought together the top youth teams from throughout the country to compete for national championships in two divisions - 12-and-under and 15-and-under - and the ITRC, the home of Team USA, was the backdrop as the top two teams in each category battled under the CBS Sports Network television lights.
Four the Love of Boba, featuring two members of last year's winning team, claimed the U12 title and will bring the coveted cup back to the Pacific Southwest for the second consecutive year. The Midwest representative in the U15 category, 3 Rights Make A Left, returned three players and reclaimed the crown with a strong finish.
The U12 competitors hit the lanes first, and Four the Love of Boba topped the Southwest representative, Vegas Incredibowls, 3-1, in the best-of-five modified-Baker match by scores of 180-149, 202-205, 181-177 and 206-161.
In the unique format, the first two bowlers in the lineup each bowl three frames per game (1-5-9 and 2-6-10, respectively), while the other two team members bowl two frames each (3-7 and 4-8).
The winning team included four NorCal Bowling Centers Youth Bowling Association All-Stars - Nihal Mareedu, Diego Jara, Saphyre Nofuente and Ethan Ranario.
Nihal and Diego were part of the Cloverleaf Strikers team that won the title in the Cleveland area in 2017, and when their other two title-winning teammates (Harley Shene and Joey Irvin) aged out of the U12 division, they found talented replacements within their NorCal All-Stars community.
Vegas Incredibowls was coached by former Junior Team USA member and Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion Jake Peters and United States Bowling Congress Open Championships titlist Adam Ishman.
The team's roster featured Christopher Faro, Sebastian Huffman, Tyler Hedges and Daryus Alo.
The U15 title match was a see-saw battle that went the maximum five games, before ending at the hands of U15 Developmental Team member Spencer Robarge, who threw two final-frame strikes for a 3-2 win against THE Ohio Storm from the Lower Great Lakes.
Spencer was joined on the lanes by fellow defending champions Brandon Bonta and Silas Limes, while newcomer, Piper Reams, rounded out the 3 Rights Make A Left roster. They successfully defended their title by scores of 247-193, 216-233, 239-202, 182-236 and 229-206.
THE Ohio Storm lost its first match Thursday and then rattled off six consecutive victories to make the TV show. The team included Angelo Biondo, Nolan Blessing, Kyle Hanzak, Ryan Hanzak, Kaylee Hitt and Jillian Martin.
The 2018 USA Bowling National Championships started with 30 teams - 14 in the U12 division and 16 in the U15 division - which bowled 13 and 15 one-game Baker matches, respectively, at AMF Garland Lanes in Garland, Texas, on Wednesday to determine seeding for the double-elimination match-play brackets.
Match play took place Thursday at nearby USA Bowl in Dallas and featured best-of-three Baker matches.
The event's finals were taped Saturday at the ITRC for delayed broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The U12 show will air Aug. 14 and the U15 final will run Aug. 21. Both shows are scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern.
CBS Sports Network is televising the final of both divisions for the third consecutive year, and both shows were taped Saturday in conjunction with the 2018 Junior Gold Championships presented by the Brands of Ebonite International and its own three TV shows.
All rounds of qualifying and match play leading up to the televised finals were broadcast on BowlTV.
The USA Bowling program was introduced at the regional level in 2013 and grew to include the first USA Bowling National Championships in Indianapolis in 2016.
The teams competing in the Dallas area this week all earned their spots at the national event by winning one of the regional tournaments held across the country throughout the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018.
The USA Bowling program was designed as a team-based youth program to introduce competitors to the sport, and it follows the same structure as other youth sports. It places children on a team, provides a coach for each team and conducts regular practices, along with weekly competitions.
USA Bowling is a product of the Youth Education Services (YES) Fund, a joint initiative of the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America and the United States Bowling Congress, supported by top bowling brands, including Bowling.com, Brunswick, Columbia 300, Ebonite, Hammer, QubicaAMF, Roto Grip, Storm and Track.
For more information on the USA Bowling National Championships presented by Sixlets, visit BOWL.com/USABowling.