Junior Team USA Dominates Doubles at 2019 PABCON Youth Championships

by Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications 0

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Junior Team USA had about as perfect of a day as it could during doubles at the 2019 Pan American Bowling Confederation Youth Championships, winning the gold and silver medals in both divisions Tuesday.

Kamerin Peters and Mabel Cummins struck gold first, winning the girls title with a 2,548 six-game total at the Sebelen Bowling Center. They topped their teammates, Caitlyn Johnson and Kaitlyn Eder by 39 pins (2,509), while Costa Rica's Ericka Quesada and Alexa Fernandez took the bronze medal with a 2,388 total.

Cortez Schenck and Sean Wilcox averaged more than 216 and cruised to the boys title with a 2,599 effort, 165 pins ahead of Junior Team USA's Anthony Neuer and Tom Hankey Jr., who finished second with 2,434.

There was a tie for the bronze medal between Mexico's Hector Pina and Sergio Barajas and Colombia's Sebastian Salazar and Felipe Gil (2,364).

"Today was a lot of fun and a very rewarding experience for both the players and the coaches," said Junior Team USA head coach Bryan O'Keefe. "We used what we learned yesterday during singles to adjust our game plans, and there's no better indication that we're on the right track than winning gold and silver on both sides. Now, we'll focus on taking that momentum into trios and team."

Tuesday's win was the second of the year for Peters and Cummins, who kicked off their 2019 Junior Team USA campaign with a doubles gold medal at the inaugural World Bowling Junior Championships in France.

On the way to their latest victory in the Dominican Republic, Peters and Cummins held the top spot in the standings after all but one of the six games. Peters set the pace with a 1,355 total, a 225.83 average, which included five games over 220, and Cummins added a 1,193 set.

They attribute their success on the lanes to great chemistry and being able to balance each other out. Cummins describes herself as the eyes and the analyst, while Peters brings energy to the team.

"While bowling together in March, Kam and I really figured out how to bowl together as partners - we feed off each other's energy and we communicate really well," Cummins said. "I think our communication is what really helps us with the initial lane strategy and then getting through the lane transition. She's more of a feel player, but I usually can get a read from what she's doing. It just works, and winning again is really special."

Peters agreed the duo works well together.

"It means a lot to win again with Mabel, and I think it does say a lot about our chemistry and how well we work together," said Peters, who started the week with a bronze medal in singles. "Taking what we learned yesterday about the lanes and how they were going to transition really helped us find success today."

Johnson and Eder were sixth halfway through doubles Tuesday but rallied with games of 426, 476 and 480. They both also made runs at the first perfect game of the week for the girls on the challenging 38-foot World Bowling Atlanta oil pattern, tossing eight and nine consecutive strikes, respectively, during the late push.

Johnson led the pair with a 1,284 total, and Eder contributed 1,225 to the effort.

Schenck and Wilcox also have had past success together, having teamed for a doubles win at the 2014 Lee Evans Tournament of the America, and both have enjoyed recent individual success while representing the United States.

Schenck earned a Masters gold medal at the 2018 World Bowling Youth Championships, and Wilcox's debut with the adult version of Team USA included two gold medals (doubles and team) and a bronze medal (all-events) at the 2019 PABCON Men's Championships.

"Every victory is sweet, and to share it with one of my best friends makes it even better, almost surreal," Wilcox said. "I learned a lot at the men's event earlier this year, which included focusing on our intensity. It's important to make every shot count, stay ahead of the moves and keep an eye on what the other players are doing on the pairs we're going to. Seeing it all come together is awesome."

After winning Junior Team USA's lone medal at last year's World Youth Championships, Schenck also was sentimental in describing Tuesday's win, because it's always more fun to share the spotlight with friends and teammates.

Schenck led the pair at the Sebelen Bowling Center with a 1,351 total, a 225.17 average, and Wilcox contributed a 1,248 total to their winning tally.

"It's really cool to share this with Sean, of all people, since we bowled well together last time and took advantage of the opportunity to team up again five years later," Schenck said. "It's always amazing to win gold, and it really is a surreal feeling. Doing it with this guy is awesome. We fought and fought all day, worked well as a team, grinded our butts off and really gave it our all, so to come out on top is incredible."

The 2019 PABCON Youth Championships includes two age-based categories - 16-and-under and 21-and-under - though the United States only is participating in the U21 category.

The U21 field this week features more than 80 competitors representing 12 countries on the boys side and 11 countries in the girls division.

Bowlers are competing for medals in singles, doubles, trios, team, all-events and Masters competition.

U21 competition at the 22-lane bowling center resumes Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern with trios. The Junior Team USA girls will take the lanes first, and the lineup will include Peters, Johnson and Eder. Cummins still will bowl the six games, and that pinfall will go toward her all-events total.

Neuer, Schenck and Wilcox will hit the lanes on the boys side, starting at 4:30 p.m. EDT, and Hankey will bowl his games nearby.

For more information on Junior Team USA, visit BOWL.com/JuniorTeamUSA.

PABCON includes competitors from North, Central and South America, along with the Caribbean.

For more information about the PABCON Youth Championships, visit PABCON.org.

At Sebelen Bowling Center
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Tuesday's results

DOUBLES (six games)


GOLD - Kamerin Peters/Mabel Cummins, United States, 2,548
SILVER - Caitlyn Johnson/Kaitlyn Eder, United States, 2,509
BRONZE - Ericka Quesada/Alexa Fernandez, Costa Rica, 2,388


GOLD - Cortez Schenck/Sean Wilcox, United States, 2,599
SILVER - Anthony Neuer/Tom Hankey Jr., United States, 2,434
BRONZE - Hector Pina/Sergio Barajas, Mexico, and Sebastian Salazar/Felipe Gil, Colombia, 2,364

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