ARLINGTON, Texas - Four members of Team USA entered the Pan American Bowling Confederation Champion of Champions event in Puebla, Mexico, with one major goal in mind: Qualify for the 2017 World Games.
The group was able to accomplish that in memorable fashion, claiming seven medals along the way this week at Noria Pro Bowling.
The 2016 PABCON Champion of Champions event consisted of singles, doubles and Masters competition, and Team USA was represented by Stefanie Johnson, Shannon Pluhowsky, Chris Via and Tommy Jones.
Pluhowsky and Via found their way to the medal stand in singles, earning silver and bronze, respectively, while everything fell into place for doubles, allowing the United States (Pluhowsky/Johnson and Via/Jones) to sweep the gold medals.
The 16-game totals (eight games of singles and eight games of doubles) determined the eight men and eight women who advanced to Masters match play. Pinfall was reset, and the top four on each side, based on their seven game totals, including 20 bonus pins per win, advanced to the final bracket.
Johnson and Via were able to add to Team USA's medal count with Masters silver, while Pluhowsky earned bronze.
"We went to the Champions of Champions event focused on qualifying for the World Games in 2017, and to hopefully win some medals along the way," Team USA head coach Rod Ross said. "We were able to achieve both those goals, but to sweep the gold medals in the doubles event was exhilarating, and it was an honor to be part of that."
Each zone/continent is able to determine exactly how bowlers will advance to the 2017 World Games, scheduled for July 20-30 in Wroclaw, Poland.
PABCON chose to advance the top three from each event at the Champion of Champions and final two from PABCON (combined) Adult Championships, which will take place in Cali, Colombia, in September.
The World Games take place every four years in the year following the Olympic Games. The event showcases more than 25 sports, and approximately 4,500 athletes and officials from more than 100 countries take part. The athletes will compete for the gold medals in almost 180 disciplines during the event.
Since the World Games began in 1981, the United States has won one gold, three silver and three bronze medals in bowling. Kelly Kulick and Mike Fagan broke through for Team USA's first World Games gold medal when they teamed to win Mixed Doubles at the 2013 event in Cali. Kulick also earned the silver medal in singles.
2016 PABCON CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS
At Noria Pro Bowling, Puebla, Mexcio
April 22-26, 2016
Gold - Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 1,840
Silver - Shannon Pluhowsky, United States, 1,770
Bronze - Kamilah Dammers, Aruba, 1,763
Gold - Manuel Otalora, Colombia, 1,828
Silver - Ildemaro Ruiz Jr., Venezuela, 1,825
Bronze - Chris Via, United States, 1,790
Gold - Stefanie Johnson/Shannon Pluhowsky, United States, 3,541
Silver - Clara Guerrero/Rocio Restrepo, Colombia, 3,507
Bronze - Patricia De Faria/Karen Marcano, Venezuela, 3,270
Gold - Tommy Jones/Chris Via, United States, 3,532
Silver - Jaime Gonzalez/Manuel Otalora, Colombia, 3,512
Bronze - Fridegotto Massimiliano/Ildemaro Ruiz Jr., Venezuela, 3,482
Gold - Rocio Restrepo, Colombia
Silver - Stefanie Johnson, United States
Bronze - Shannon Pluhowsky, United States
Bronze - Clara Guerrero, Colombia
Gold - Francois Lavoie, Canada
Silver - Chris Via, United States
Bronze - Jaime Gonzalez, Colombia
Bronze - Gabriel Sanchez, Puerto Rico
For complete results from the 2016 PABCON Champion of Champions event, visit www.pabcon.org/pabcon.
For more information on Team USA, visit BOWL.com/TeamUSA.