U12 Junior Gold Title Matches Kick off CBS Sports Network Coverage

by Terry Bigham, USBC Communications 0

INDIANAPOLIS – The Junior Gold Championships presented by Storm, Roto Grip and Masters brought together the top youth bowlers in the country for a week of great competition, and 12 of those bowlers now will bowl for a title on national television.

The finals of the 12-and-under boys and girls divisions of the Junior Gold Championships presented by Storm, Roto Grip and Master will be televised on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern.

The U12 finals are the first of three Junior Gold Championships shows that will be televised on CBS Sports Network. The U15 finals will air Tuesday, Aug. 2, and the U20 title matches will be televised on Tuesday, Aug. 9. The U15 and U20 shows each will air at 9 p.m.Eastern.

The finals for each division, held at Western Bowl, will be two-games, total-pins matches to determine the champion.

In the girls’ U12 final, Elizabeth Coutta of Smyrna, Tennessee, will face Hannah Diem of Seminole, Florida, and then Edgar Burgos of Dorado, Puerto Rico, will meet Anthony Mastroianni of Brooklyn, New York, for the boys title.

Burgos was second after 16 games of qualifying, averaged 202 in the final advancers round to earn the top seed for match play, and then averaged 222 in winning three matches to reach the TV finals. He missed the cut at Junior Gold in 2014, finished 13th last year and credits this year’s success to bowling in a league at home that uses different Sport patterns, along with the support of his family and friends.

“The support of my dad, my sister, and all the fans of Puerto Rico who were watching me, it was amazing,” Burgos said. “It’s a little scary (being on TV), because I’ve never been on a TV show, but I think I can bowl well.”

Mastroianni advanced by dispatching a couple of his Youth Open Championships teammates in match play. He topped No. 2 seed Alex Horton of Douglassville, Pennsylvania, who led the division for the first 16 games and was runner-up at the 2014 Junior Gold Championships, and he then needed a roll-off to get past Jordan Malott of Austin, Texas.

Facing Horton once again for the right to bowl on TV, Mastroianni prevailed, 346-318.

Mastroianni, Horton, Malott and Brandon Bohn of Jackson, New Jersey, teamed for the Youth Open Championships before Junior Gold started, and they lead the U12 team event. Mastroianni and Horton also lead in doubles.

“I had a wonderful time bowling against my friends,” Mastroianni said about match play. “Me and Alex know each other very well. We bowl a lot of tournaments together.”

Coutta reached the final in her second year of Junior Gold competition, after finishing 10th last year. As the No. 6 seed for match play, Coutta lost to April Calatrava of Columbia, South Carolina, 332-310 in her opening match, but came back through the lower bracket to face Calatrava again. Needing to beat Coutta twice to advance to the title match, she won by scores of 296-284 and 404-319.

“She was the first person I had to bowl against and she beat me, so I was like, this is the chance to redeem myself,” Coutta said. “I thought it was kind of over in the beginning and now I’ve made it this far.”

Diem, who is the youngest person to bowl a certified 300 game (9 years, 6 months), made the cut to match play by just 11 pins. As the No. 8 seed, faced top seed Annalise O’Bryant of Ball Ground, Georgia, and took a 425-350 victory. But O’Bryant would fight back through the lower bracket to face Diem and decide who would advance to the TV show.

O’Bryant took a 44-pin lead after the first game, but Diem responded with a 210-165 victory in Game 2 to win the two-game, total pins match by a single pin.

“I knew I had a match to fall back on, and also knew if I could have a big game the first match I wouldn’t have to (bowl her again), so that would take off the pressure,” Diem said. “It was a lot of work getting here.”

Nearly 3,300 youth competitors took part in the 2016 Junior Gold Championships presented by Storm, Roto Grip and Master that was held in five centers in Indianapolis – Western Bowl, Woodland Bowl, Expo Bowl, All Star Bowl and Southern Bowl.

The premier national event for youth bowlers is operated by International Bowling Campus Youth Development and has three age-based divisions for boys and girls (12-and-under, 15-and-under, 20-and-under) to compete for national titles, spots on Junior Team USA and a $300,000 scholarship fund.

Go to BOWL.com/JuniorGold to learn more about the Junior Gold program.