With a record field, spots on Team USA and Junior Team USA up for grabs and qualifying beginning for the 2015 Pan American Games, there will be a lot on the line when the 2015 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials take place starting Saturday in Las Vegas.
The Team USA Trials will take place Jan. 3-7 at The Orleans Bowling Center. With a sold-out field of 175 men and a record 116 women signed up, the event is on pace to break the all-time entries record of 277 set last year.
The entire event will be broadcast live on BOWL.com's BowlTV, culminating with the stepladder finals for the men and women Jan. 7 at 10 p.m. Eastern.
"This year we will have one of the strongest and largest fields in Team USA Trials history," USBC Managing Director of National Governing Body Neil Stremmel said. "We continue to see great enthusiasm for this event as evidenced by the support we receive from our sport's rising stars."
The Team USA Trials puts players to the ultimate test - five grueling days of qualifying on five USBC Sport Bowling compliant lane conditions taken from the World Tenpin Bowling Association's bank of patterns. The players bowl six games each day for a 30-game total that determines the top three men and three women for the stepladder finals.
The top three men and top three women after qualifying already will be guaranteed spots on Team USA in 2015 and will bowl in the finals for the right to be declared champion, a spot in the QubicaAMF World Cup and prize money. Two more men and two more women from the event will be selected to join Team USA, while five men and five women will be selected from a pool of eligible bowlers based on their bowling resumes and Trials performance, if they competed.
For the fourth consecutive year, the standings at the Team USA Trials will be based on a points system. The unique system rewards consistency and versatility by ranking players in the field so performance on each lane condition has equal significance.
In each of the five rounds, players will be awarded points based on their finish in that day's round. For example, if a bowler finishes first, they will receive one point; second place receives two points; third place receives three points and so forth down the standings. The three men's players and three women's players with the lowest number of points will advance to the stepladder finals.
A total of eight Junior Team USA spots - four boys and four girls - also will be available. The top two boys and top two girls in the final points standings will earn automatic spots, while two boys and two girls spots will be at-large selections taken from either the Team USA Trials field or the finals field from the Junior Gold Championships held in July 2014. All bowlers 20 and under as of Jan. 1, 2015 are eligible for Junior Team USA.
The Team USA Trials will also serve as the first step in the qualifying process for the 2015 Pan American Games, which will take place in Toronto in July. Two men and two women will represent Team USA at the event, which is considered the most important event in the four-year cycle of the Team USA bowling program.
In order to represent the United States at the Pan American Games, athletes must be U.S. citizens and members of Team USA in 2015.
Sixty percent of the qualifying points for the Pan American Games will be determined at the Team USA Trials - 40 percent based on overall finish and 20 percent based on daily finish.
The final 40 percent of the points system will be based on performance at the USBC Masters (men) and USBC Queens (women) - 30 percent based on qualifying position and 10 percent based on final position in the bracket.
All USBC members are eligible to compete in the Team USA Trials and more information can be found at BOWL.com/TeamUSATrials.