LAS VEGAS - Hours after the announcement of her election to the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame, Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, added another special milestone to her resume by winning the 2019 USBC Team USA Trials.
The 41-year-old right-hander outlasted a record field of 152 women in a five-day test of versatility on five lane conditions at the Gold Coast Bowling Center, while fellow USBC Hall of Famer John Janawicz of Winter Haven, Florida, topped a sold-out field of 175 men to claim his second career win at the event.
Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, and Wesley Low Jr. of Palmdale, California, the runners up in the overall standings at the USBC Team USA Trials, each earned some redemption Monday night by taking the titles at this year's United States National Amateur Bowling Championships
Kulick finished the Team USA Trials on Monday with 49 ranking points, accumulated over five rounds, to secure a spot on Team USA for the 15th time. She also became the oldest woman to win the tournament, topping the mark set by last year's champion, Shannon O'Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, who was 38.
Janawicz, the 2010 USBC Team USA Trials champion, became the second two-time winner on the men's side and the event's oldest winner at 46. He finished with 61 ranking points and will make his ninth appearance on Team USA.
Chris Barnes, who also will be inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame in 2019, won the 2014 Team USA Trials at age 43. The event first was held in 2008.
The players in the field earned points based on their finishing positions in each qualifying round. The top bowler of the block earned one ranking point, second place earned two points, etc., with the lowest total of ranking points after the five six-game blocks determining the 2019 Team USA Trials champions.
Clemmer finished the week with 57 ranking points, and Low collected 92.
Each round of the event was contested on a different oil pattern, varying in length from 36-45 feet.
Along with their automatic spots on Team USA, Kulick and Janawicz earned the chance to represent the United States at the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup. The location of the 2019 QubicaAMF World Cup has not yet been announced.
"This year, I put in a lot of time and effort to be ready for this event, and I'm really committed to 2019, both for Team USA and the (Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour)," said Kulick, who turned professional shortly after winning the U.S. Amateur title in 2000. "The effort and commitment are there, and my focus is strong. I'm excited to be on the team for another year, especially since there are some big events in 2019. I've also always wanted to bowl in the World Cup. I qualified once before, but left Team USA to turn pro (2001). It's one event I'm missing in my career, so I'm really looking forward to that, too."
Janawicz made the first of his eight previous appearances on Team USA in 2007, and he was able to use decades of competitive and lane-play experience to handle the week's challenging lane conditions.
"It has been really cool to see the evolution of the Team USA program and how it's getting younger, which is great, because that means the United States will be well-represented in the future," Janawicz said. "I'm just glad to be a part of it. I don't see myself doing this too much longer, but it's nice to know some of the things I've learned over the years, the experiences I've had and the changes I've made in recent years are making sense and paying off."
After the final qualifying round at the Team Trials, the top three amateur men and top three amateur women advanced to a stepladder to determine the U.S. Amateur champions. The U.S. Amateur champions also were guaranteed spots on Team USA.
That gave Clemmer and Low a second chance at leaving Las Vegas with a coveted trophy and title, and both were able to capitalize on the opportunity, earning their first berths on Team USA.
Clemmer, a 21-year-old right-hander, eased past 16-year-old Mabel Cummins of Elburn, Illinois, 217-181. Clemmer followed a second frame split with six consecutive strikes and was able to pull away for good.
The two were Junior Team USA teammates in 2018 and helped win the team gold medal for the United States at the 2018 World Bowling Youth Championships.
"I feel like this an amazing payoff for all the hard work and for all the support from my friends and family and coaches," said Clemmer, a five-time member of Junior Team USA. "I plan to continue working hard, so I can keep up with the talented women on Team USA and eventually the PWBA Tour. It also will be nice to hang out with my teammates and have fun doing what we love."
Low, a 21-year-old two-hander who attacks the lane from the left-side, got his redemption with a 216-198 win against Janawicz in the men's final.
Needing a mark in his final frame, Low nearly left a 9 pin on his first offering, but it slowly and dramatically tipped forward to lock up the title. Low earned five world championships in five years on Junior Team USA.
The victory came just a few months before he's scheduled to graduate from Wichita State University and may have been his last opportunity at the U.S. Amateur title, depending on whether he decides to join the Professional Bowlers Association in 2019 or 2020.
"I really can't find the words to describe this," said Low, a two-time winner at the Junior Gold Championships presented by the Brands of Ebonite. "One of my goals has been to try to win everything once, and if this is my last chance at the U.S. Amateur title, it couldn't have gone any better. To be on Junior Team USA for so long and now have the chance to be on the adult team to represent USBC and the United States again, is incredibly humbling."
In the opening matches of the stepladder finals, Low defeated fellow two-time Junior Gold Championships winner Solomon Salama of Beverly Hills, California, 204-173, while Cummins downed 2017 U.S. Amateur champion Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, 252-198.
By virtue of their top-four finishes in the overall Team USA Trials rankings, Low and Salama (116) also earned automatic spots on Team USA. They finished second and fourth, respectively. Nick Pate of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, a 2017 Team USA member, finished third with 101 points, guaranteeing his return to the team.
Additional automatic spots on the women's side went to Clemmer, Bond (73 points) and 2018 Team USA member Sydney Brummett of Wichita, Kansas (78 points).
Since automatic spots on Team USA were reserved for the U.S. Amateur champion, but Clemmer and Low already had claimed their places on the roster, the spots were awarded to the next-highest Team USA Trials qualifiers based on ranking points - 2018 team member Darren Tang of San Francisco on the men's side and six-time Team USA member Josie Barnes of Heritage, Tennessee, on the women's side.
Tang was the daily leader on Monday's 39-foot oil pattern and jumped from 17th place into fifth place overall with 144 points. Barnes finished fifth with 86 points.
Perry Crowell IV of Chesterfield, Michigan, and Sean Wilcox of Altamonte Springs, Florida, were selected by the National Selection Committee to join the men's team for 2019 based on their performances this week.
Andrew Anderson of Holly, Michigan; EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana; Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, North Carolina; Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona; and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington; were selected by the National Selection Committee to join Team USA 2019 based on submitted resumes.
Jordan Richard of Tecumseh, Michigan, and Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, were selected by the National Selection Committee to join the women's team based on their performances this week.
O'Keefe, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York; Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas; Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York; and Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio; were added to the 2019 Team USA roster by the National Selection Committee based on submitted resumes.
Age-eligible participants competing this week also were vying for spots on Junior Team USA 2019.
Earning automatic spots on the boys' team based on their overall performances were Salama; Wilcox; Nathan Stubler of LaSalle, Illinois; and Thomas McNeal of Puyallup, Washington.
Adam Zimmerman of Deer Park, New York, and Tom Hankey of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, were chosen by the National Selection Committee to join Junior Team USA 2019 based on their performances at the 2019 Team USA Trials and 2018 Junior Gold Championships.
They join the six boys who qualified for Junior Team USA through the 2018 Junior Gold Championships - Ryan Burton of Los Altos, California; Jacob Mullen of Bellingham, Washington; Anthony Neuer of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; Justin O'Shaughnessy of Canton, Michigan; Cortez Schenck of Phoenix; and Chad Stephen of Flint, Michigan.
The automatic spots on the girls' team went to Cummins; fellow 2018 world champion Caitlyn Johnson of Rockwell, North Carolina; Taylor Davis of Burton, Michigan; and Cayla Hicks of Salem, Virginia.
Destiny Truly of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and Caroline Thesier of Mooresville, North Carolina, were selected for the team based on performance.
They join six girls who earned their spots during the 2018 Junior Gold Championships - Kaitlyn Eder of Lithia, Florida; Olivia Farwell of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Addison Herzberg of Wichita, Kansas; Julia Huren of Westland, Michigan; Kamerin Peters of Toms River, New Jersey; and Adel Wahner of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
To be eligible for the U.S. Amateur, a bowler must not hold or have held a professional membership (PBA or PWBA) in 2018. Also, anyone who has won a professional title (regional, national or senior) as a professional was not eligible to compete as an amateur.
Bowlers age 20 or younger as of Jan. 1, 2019 were eligible for spots on Junior Team USA this week.
Four bowlers from Junior Gold have been slated for the U15 Developmental Team for 2019 - Deo Benard of Rio Rancho, New Mexico; Silas Lira of Tampa, Florida; Jaelle Hamman of Jarrell, Texas; and Annalise OBryant of Ball Ground, Georgia.
All 327 competitors at the 2019 Team USA Trials bowled 30 games over five days (six games each day).
BOWL.com's BowlTV provided wire-to-wire coverage of the events, including the announcement of Team USA and Junior Team USA 2019.
Visit BOWL.com/TeamUSA for more information about the Team USA program.
2019 USBC Team USA Trials
At Gold Coast Bowling Center, Las Vegas
(Position, name, hometown, total points. Points based on finishing position in each round).
1, John Janawicz, Winter Haven, Fla., 61
2, Wesley Low Jr., Palmdale, Calif., 92
3, Nick Pate, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 101
4, Solomon Salama, Beverly Hills, Calif., 116
5, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 144
6, Perry Crowell IV, Chesterfield, Mich., 151
7, Nathan Stubler, LaSalle, Ill., 153
8, Sean Wilcox, Altamonte Springs, Fla., 155
9, Calvin Au, Daly City, Calif., 160
10, Thomas McNeal, Puyallup, Wash., 175
11, Cortez Schenck, Phoenix, 176
12, Matt Farber, Plainview, N.Y., 181
13, Anthony Neuer, Lewisburg, Pa., 182
14, Matt Russo, Millstone Township, N.J., 194
15, Adam Zimmerman, Deer Park, N.Y., 195
16, Charlie Reid, San Antonio, 200
17, Tom Hankey, Great Barrington, Mass., 205
18, Nick Kruml, Downers Grove, Ill., 208
19, TJ Rock, Henderson, Nev., 209
20, Jeffery Mann, West Lafayette, Ind., 215
1, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 49
2, Breanna Clemmer, Clover, S.C., 57
3, Julia Bond, Aurora, Ill., 73
4, Sydney Brummett, Wichita, Kan., 78
5, Josie Barnes, Hermitage, Tenn., 86
6, Jordan Richard, Tecumseh, Mich., 88
7, Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 91
8, Mabel Cummins, Elburn, Ill., 111
9, Erin McCarthy, Omaha, Neb., 114
10, Brenda Padilla, Mansfield, Texas, 117
11, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 122
12, Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, 127
T13, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 128
T13, Taylor Bulthuis, Coral Springs, Fla., 128
15, Caitlyn Johnson, Rockwell, N.C., 129
T16, Bryanna Coté, Red Rock, Ariz., 137
T16, Cayla Hicks, Salem, Va., 137
18, Shannon O'Keefe, Shiloh, Ill., 149
19, Adel Wahner, Las Cruces, N.M., 153
20, Lauren Pate, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 154
U.S. AMATEUR STEPLADDER FINALS
Wesley Low Jr., Palmdale, Calif., def. Solomon Salama, Beverly Hills, Calif., 204-173
Low def. John Janawicz, Winter Haven, Fla., 216-198
Mabel Cummins, Elburn, Ill., def. Julia Bond, Aurora, Ill., 252-198
Breanna Clemmer, Clover, S.C., def. Cummins, 217-181