Teen champs crowned

by Bob Johnson 0

Zack Hattori of Las Vegas and Morgan O’Brien of Lomira, Wis., won the high school boys and girls titles in the 14th annual Teen Masters at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno on Thursday.

Hattori won a $4,000 scholarship as high school boys winner, while McKenzie Eaton of Wyoming, Mich., earned $2,000 as runner-up. O’Brien won a $3,000 scholarship and Kaylee Magazine of Clearwater, Fla., got $1,500 as high school girls champion and runner-up, respectively.

Hattori, who will be a senior at Silverado High School in Las Vegas this fall, defeated Eaton, 4-2 (167-197, 236-216, 208-204, 209-187, 229-248, 234-203) in the best-of-seven-game championship match.

“I had a good line but the first game I wasn’t executing really well,” said Hattori, who was bowling in his fourth Teen Masters. “It was hard for me to double because I couldn’t get the left lane down (long pattern). I switched balls and got in more, so that’s when I started making good shots and it started to come together.

“I didn’t know much about McKenzie coming into this week, but we were rooting for each other in the championship match and I just happened to come out on top.”
O’Brien, who will be a senior at St. Marys Springs High School this fall, took advantage of an open frame by Magazine in the 10th frame of game seven to win the girls championship match, 4-3 (187-211, 158-193, 169-163, 221-180, 216-186, 193-194, 181-175). O’Brien had a spare and strike in the 10th to clinch the final game.

“She had me in the first two games,” said O’Brien, bowling for the third time in the Teen Masters. “After that, I made an adjustment and a ball change, and that made a big difference. I also saw how she was playing and I decided to adjust to use her line.

“My coaches told me to not focus on beating my opponent but beating the pins, so that’s what I did — but my heart was still beating out of my chest.”

In the 14-and-under division, 14-year-old Greg Young of Viera, Fla., captured the boys title with a 3-1 victory (202-194, 200-219, 226-203, 188-184) in the best-of-five-game championship match over Jeffrey Juarez of East Meadow, N.Y., to win a $1,200 scholarship. Juarez received $1,000.

“I did not want to go into game five,” said Young, bowling in his first Teen Masters. “I was struggling on the long pattern and the ball was checking up. I had some nerves and was glad to win it in game four.”

In the girls 14-and-under title match, 13-year-old Ashley Dunn of Palmdale, Calif., defeated Chevelle Holstein of Sparks, Nev., 3-1 (191-171, 224-158, 135-199, 195-146) for a $1,000 scholarship. Holstein won $700 for second place.

“I’m very excited,” Dunn said.  "I got more confident as the week went on and that helped me. In the last match I had to switch my ball on the long pattern and move left on the short pattern, and those moves got me to the pocket and got more carry.”
In addition to competing for scholarship prizes, Teen Masters champions O’Brien and Hattori will join Danielle McEwan, Rockland, N.Y., and Mike Fujita, El Sobrante, Calif., from the Collegiate Masters in receiving invitations to bowl alongside the best bowlers in the world in the 2010 PBA World Series of Bowling, Oct. 24-Nov. 6, at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas.

The Teen Masters was created by Gary Beck, founder of Killer B Promotions, in 1997 and has provided young bowlers with more than $1 million in scholarships over a span of 14 years.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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