BY GENE J. KANAK
2022 JUNIOR GOLD NOTEBOOK – ROUND 4
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Qualifying came to an end and the first cuts were made in all three age-based divisions (18-and-under, 15-and-under and 12-and-under) at the 2022 Junior Gold Championships Thursday.
The U18 boys division has typically been the largest at the Junior Gold Championships, and this year’s tournament was no exception as 1,207 bowlers took to the lanes in U18 boys action. After four days and 16 games of qualifying, only the top 172 remain.
Carter Street of Dublin, Ohio, walked away with first-place honors at the end of qualifying. Street used a final-game 279 to put up a 952 set on Thursday, giving him 3,721 for the tournament.
Ashton Yamasaki of Portland, Oregon, actually bested Street on Thursday, using a pair of 257s to put up a block total of 964. It wasn’t enough to catch the leader, however, leaving Yamasaki to settle for second place with 3,614.
Chris LeSueur of Kent, Ohio, finished third with 3,591, but the round of the day went to Gregorio (Bud) Sicard III of Milwaukie, Oregon.
Sicard shot 258, 246, 300 and 221 for a blistering 1,025 block that propelled him to fourth place with 3,554. Wesley Boyd of Connersville, Indiana, finished fifth with 3,529.
Spots six through ten went to Brody Wildenmann of Somerset, Pennsylvania (3,520), Nate VanderBeek of Grandville, Michigan (3,500), Joseph Spagnola of Barnegat, New Jersey (3,495), Carter Wescott of Green Bay, Wisconsin (3,492) and Brandon Caruso of Channahon, Illinois (3,489).
The final cut number for U18 boys wound up being 3,132, and it was shared by Asante Barquet of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and Nathan DeMello of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Barquet and DeMello both finished strong to get to the magic number with Barquet shooting 212 his last game while DeMello put up 257. Those scores were sorely needed as it helped the pair hold off six bowlers who finished within ten pins of the final cut number.
However, moving on from qualifying does not afford these 172 bowlers an opportunity to relax as now they’ll face two five-game advancers rounds at Westgate Bowl Friday. The first five-game block will start at 7:30 a.m., and the second takes place at 1:30 p.m.
Another cut will occur once advancers-round competition is over, paring the field down from 172 bowlers to just the final 16. The 16 survivors will move on to take part in match play, which will consist of two-game, total-pinfall matches in a true double-elimination bracket.
Northway Lanes will host all six rounds of U18 boys match play, the first two rounds of which will take place Friday night at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. The remaining four rounds of matches are scheduled for Saturday morning at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
Once match play is completed, the three boys who have survived will have qualified for the live BowlTV finals, which will be held at Fairlanes Bowling Center at 6 p.m.
There were 570 bowlers in the U18 girls field at this year’s Junior Gold Championships; now, just 82 remain.
Haley Lindley of Greenwood, South Carolina, authored the top qualifying score, using a 919 set Thursday to finish with 3,464.
Junior Team USA member Jillian Martin of Stow, Ohio, wasn’t far behind, firing a final-round 937 to finish ten pins back of Lindley with 3,454.
Brooke Salzman of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, and Brianna Rogers of Florence, South Carolina, finished third and fourth with 3,341 and 3,304, respectively.
Two-time Junior Gold U15 girls champion Annalise O’Bryant of Ball Ground, Georgia, captured fifth place with 3,263.
Karina Capron of Fremont, Nebraska (3,259), Rachel Moore of Keokuk, Iowa (3,259), Kaylee Black of Derby, Kansas (3,257), Elizabeth Drescher of Keller, Texas (3,255) and Melia Mitskavich of DuBois, Pennsylvania, (3,252) also secured top-ten finishes.
Madison Phillips of Springfield, Missouri, closed with 201 to establish a four-day total of 2,920, which gave her the 82nd and final place inside the U18 girls cut line.
Now that qualifying-round action has been completed, the 82 bowlers that remain will hit the lanes for two five-game advancers rounds at Fairlanes Bowling Center Friday. Round 1 will begin at 7:30 a.m. with Round 2 following it up at 1:30 p.m.
Once the advancers round has been completed, a new cut will take place, this one dropping the U18 girls field down to the final 16 bowlers. Those 16 will advance to match play, which will consist of two-game, total-pinfall matches in a true double-elimination bracket.
All U18 girls match play will be held at Fairlanes Bowling Center. The first two rounds will take place Friday night at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. An additional four rounds are scheduled for Saturday morning at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
At the conclusion of match play, three girls will have qualified for the live BowlTV finals, which will be held at Fairlanes Bowling Center at 6 p.m.
A field of 90 bowlers remains in contention for the U15 boys title, down from an original cast of 630.
Griffin Jordan of Sycamore, Illinois, used a mammoth closing set to walk away with first place at the end of qualifying. Jordan shot 201, 216, 259 and 279 Thursday. That gave him 955 for the block and 3,456 overall.
Kai Strothers of Maplewood, New Jersey, started with 256 and closed with 245, giving him a final-round 877 that helped him secure second place with 3,451.
Landon Jordan of Sycamore, Illinois, brother of overall leader Griffin Jordan, qualified third with 3,432.
Keegan Alexander of Killeen, Texas (3,395) and Cadyn Pranger of Rockford, Michigan (3,359) claimed the other two spots in the U15 boys top five.
Joseph DeGuzman of Raleigh, North Carolina (3,326), Caidyn Lambrecht of Unadilla, New York (3,315), Nicholas Schaberg of Holt, Michigan (3,302), Dylan Hubley of Murfreesboro, Tennessee (3,300) and Christian Mouton of Wesley Chapel, Florida (3,294) claimed spots six through ten.
The score needed to move on to the advancers round for U15 boys was 2,983, and it was shared by Bradyn Brogan of Stony Brook, New York, and Rush Steen of Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The 90 bowlers who advanced will now bowl two five-game advancers rounds at Northway Lanes Friday. The first is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m., and the second is slated for 1:30 p.m.
At the end of ten games of advancers-round competition, the U15 boys field will be cut to the top 16 bowlers. Those individuals will take part in match play, which will consist of two-game, total-pinfall matches in a true double-elimination bracket.
There will be two rounds of match play at Northway Lanes Friday night, the first at 7:30 p.m. and the second at 8:30 p.m. Four more rounds of match play will take place at Northway Saturday morning. Those are scheduled for 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
Once match-play competition is completed, three boys will move on to the live BowlTV finals, which will be held at Fairlanes Bowling Center at 2 p.m.
When qualifying got underway Monday morning, 307 girls had hopes of winning the U15 girls national championship. Once Thursday’s final round of qualifying was finished, only the top 44 remained in contention.
Kaitlyn Stull of Raleigh, North Carolina, ended qualifying in first place after posting a four-day total of 3,414.
Gianna Brandolino of Joliet, Illinois, closed the gap on Stull by firing a final-round 847, but she came up just short of catching the leader and settled for second place with 3,405.
Katelyn Abigania of San Diego remained third with 3,323 while Abigail Starkey of Schaumburg, Illinois, placed fourth with 3,253. Avery Domaguin of San Diego and Haley Swindle of Newnan, Georgia, finished tied for fifth place with 3,233.
The remaining spots in the U15 girls top ten were taken up by Samantha Kanehailua of Pearl City, Hawaii (3,158), Kayla Starr of Crofton, Maryland (3,074), Kailyn Bloch of East Islip, New York (3,068) and Miya Greene of Lemon Grove, California (3,063).
It took a four-day total of 2,795 to advance out of U15 girls qualifying. Amber Benson of Dunkirk, Maryland, used a final-game 209 to get set that mark and hold of four competitors who finished less than ten pins behind.
The roster of 44 bowlers who moved on from U15 girls qualifying will face two five-game advancers rounds Friday. The first will be held at AMF Eastbrook Lanes starting at 7:30 a.m. The second will be hosted by Fairlanes Bowling Center starting at 1:30 p.m.
When advancers-round competition is completed, the top 16 bowlers will move on to match play, which will consist of two-game, total-pinfall matches in a true double-elimination bracket.
There will be two rounds of match play Friday night for bowlers in the U15 girls draw. Both rounds will be held at Fairlanes Bowling Center with Round 1 scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. with Round 2 to follow at 8:30 p.m.
There will be four additional rounds of match play Saturday morning. Those are scheduled for 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
When the sixth and final round of match play is completed, three girls will advance to the live BowlTV finals, which will take place at Fairlanes Bowling Center at 2 p.m.
A U12 boys field that started with 227 bowlers has now been whittled down to the final 33 after the first cut was made following Thursday’s final four-game qualifying block.
Ridgely Potter Jr. of Clearwater, Florida, made it a clean sweep by landing in first place for the fourth day in a row. Potter shot 228, 255, 215 and 191 Thursday for a round-four best 889 set that moved his final qualifying total to 3,415.
Miles Gordon of Columbus, Ohio, shot 842 to finish in second place with 3,199.
Dawson Kohl of Dyersville, Iowa, placed third with 3,102, and Sebastian Vetter of Oak Lawn, Illinois, was fourth at 3,089.
Ryan Campbell of Clinton, South Carolina, snagged the final spot in the U12 boys top five. He shot 839 Thursday to finish qualifying at 3,087, which was good enough for fifth.
Isaiah Durflinger of Beavercreek, Ohio (3,046), Eason Taylor of Chicago (2,967), Do Hoon Kwon of Vancouver, Washington (2,950), Landon Rocco of Heyworth, Illinois (2,945) and Blake Glines of Euless, Texas (2,926) also landed in the U12 boys top ten.
Jayden Burrell of Glenn Dale, Maryland, set the cut number as his four-day total of 2,699 put him in 33rd place and gave him the final ticket to the advancers round.
The 33 bowlers who survived qualifying will participate in a four-game advancers round at AMF Eastbrook Lanes Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. After that four-game block, the field will be cut again, this time to the top eight bowlers.
The top eight will move on to match play, which will consist of two-game, total-pinfall matches in a true double-elimination bracket. Match play will be held at AMF Eastbrook Lanes with rounds scheduled to start at 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
At the end of match play Friday evening, only three boys will remain in contention for the U12 boys title. Those three bowlers will square off Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in the live BowlTV finals at Fairlanes Bowling Center.
Now that qualifying-round competition is completed, 16 bowlers remain in contention for the U12 girls title.
Anna Antony of Farmington, Connecticut, remained in first place as qualifying came to an end. Her four-day total of 3,055 put her more than 300 pins ahead of second-place finisher Kennedi Spears of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, who came in at 2,736.
Makanalei Carrick of Waianae, Hawaii, Ashlyn Henry of Fayetteville, North Carolina and Jayna Larson of Three Rivers, Michigan, rounded out the top five with 2,734, 2,710 and 2,668, respectively.
Kourtlyn Hopkins of Dickinson, Texas (2,618), Ava Mazza of Utica, Michigan (2,611), Ariana Yamashiro of Ewa Beach, Hawaii (2,604), Victoria LaRouche of Atleboro, Massachusetts (2,599) and Sadrianna Erb of Farmington, New York (2,595) grabbed the remaining spots in the top ten.
Tiffany McCarthy of Rochester, New York (2,594), Avani Rowan of Bradenton, Florida (2,562), Alyssa Bechtol of Erlanger, Kentucky (2,549), Alexandra McCowan of Anaheim, California (2,547), Bailey Forrest of Jacksonville, Florida (2,529) and Alivia Portillo of Bellevue, Michigan (2,502) secured the remaining spots in the U12 girls advancers round by claiming spots 11-16.
Those 16 bowlers will participate in a four-game advancers round at Fairlanes Bowling Center Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. At the end of those four games, the top eight bowlers will advance to match play.
Match-play will consist of two-game, total-pinfall matches and will follow a true double-elimination format. Competition will be held at AMF Eastbrook Lanes with rounds scheduled to start at 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
When match play is completed Friday evening, three competitors will remain. Those three girls will participate in the live BowlTV finals at Fairlanes Bowling Center at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
Despite missing cut, Minnesota bowler realizes dream during Junior Gold debut
Teddy Mans of Finlayson, Minnesota, has had to fight since the moment he took his first breath.
He was born 27 weeks premature, causing him to weigh just two pounds, one ounce at birth. At that time, doctors believed he would never walk or talk.
But Teddy had other ideas.
Then, Teddy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which caused him to suffer a series of strokes that left him with significant weakness on the left side of his body. Due to those obstacles, it appeared unlikely that sports would be in his future.
But Teddy had other ideas.
Teddy took up bowling and immediately fell in love with the sport. He bowled at every opportunity, sometimes spending as many as 12 hours at a time inside his local center, bowling upwards of 80 games in a single day.
His goal was to continue improving so that he could one day compete in the Junior Gold Championships, but, sadly, that dream was not easily realized as Teddy failed to qualify year after year. Many bowlers would’ve let the disappointment convince them to give up.
But Teddy had other ideas.
Teddy used the disappointment as fuel and kept working, determined to reach his goal. Unfortunately, that’s when another health issue emerged, one that threatened to take Teddy off the lanes permanently.
The new obstacle was Scheuermann’s disease, a condition that causes multiple vertebrae of the neck and/or back to wedge together, resulting in significant pain and limitation of movement.
The pain from Scheuermann’s disease forced Teddy into a wheelchair for a matter of months, but even sitting caused him pain that was almost unbearable. At that point, Teddy’s outlook was grim, and, for the first time, he considered giving up on bowling.
“At one point, I literally asked my parents to throw my bowling equipment in the garbage can because I honestly didn’t think I’d ever bowl again, and it hurt too much to have that stuff sitting there,” Teddy said.
But Teddy’s parents had other ideas.
They weren’t about to let their son give up, so instead of throwing away his bowling balls, they went out looking for a way to help Teddy fight through his latest challenge. They found the answer they were looking for in a rather unconventional place.
“We actually turned to wholistic medicine and acupuncture since there was really no treatment for Scheuermann’s disease,” Teddy’s father, Minnesota State USBC Director Dan Mans said. “That got him back to walking and eventually back to bowling, so we were all thrilled.”
Teddy was thrilled to get back to the sport that he loved, but, from an outsider’s perspective, the goal of qualifying for Junior Gold still seemed like it was a million miles away.
But Teddy had other ideas.
After seven years of unspeakable pain, constant frustration and more challenges than most people face in a lifetime, Teddy Mans beat the odds yet again; he qualified for the 2022 Junior Gold Championships.
Despite all that he’s overcome, the magnitude of the achievement was not lost on him.
“Being here is absolutely everything to me,” Teddy said. “I know how hard I’ve had to fight to get here, and I know that it wasn’t given to me. I had to earn my place just like everyone else. I know that I deserve to be here.”
Dan Mans agreed with his son’s assessment.
“It’s amazing what Teddy’s been able to do,” Mans said, clearly fighting back tears. “I just enjoy seeing him do what he loves, and bowling is something that he took to and has been able to have some success at despite the physical obstacles he’s had to face.”
Also, Teddy’s passion for the sport is what inspired his father to become more active in bowling and to pursue a leadership role with the Minnesota State USBC.
“I came more from the recreational side, but Teddy has driven me to do more to give back to the sport that’s given so much to him,” Mans said. “That’s why I got involved; I wanted to give more opportunities to the kids in the northern part of the state.”
Dan Mans’ work and that of his counterparts is what allows bowlers like Teddy to keep pursuing their dreams.
Many of those young boys and girls will one day reach their goal of making it to Junior Gold just like Teddy, and hopefully they’ll enjoy their debut just as much as Teddy enjoyed his.
“Even though it’s been very hard, this has been a very rewarding experience,” Teddy said. “It’s been fun to meet and bowl with people from different states, get together with new groups of people and share some fun experiences with my mom and dad outside the bowling center. This isn’t just my first trip to Junior Gold; it’s my first trip to Michigan, and it’s been great.”
Teddy was unable to move on to the U18 boys advancers round, but that didn’t tarnish his tournament experience one bit.
“Some people may wonder how I was able to keep my composure and enjoy the experience despite not bowling any big scores, but I’m just happy that I was able to be here to compete in the first place,” Teddy said. “Bowling is my passion, so I’m just happy that I got here and was able to do this.”
Nobody knows what the future holds for Teddy Mans, but now that he’s gotten a taste of Junior Gold competition, he’s going to continue working hard in the hopes of returning next year.
Given his medical history and the obstacles he’s been forced to overcome because of them, some people may doubt Teddy’s chances of getting back to Junior Gold.
But Teddy has other ideas.
Bowlers of all ages can take lesson from U12 bowler’s show of sportsmanship
Junior Gold is a highly competitive environment. After all, bowlers have to work hard just to qualify, and once the competition starts, national titles and spots on Junior Team USA are on the line.
The pressure gets even higher on Thursday of Junior Gold week when each age-based division (18-and-under, 15-and-under and 12-and-under) makes its first cuts. On that day, a small percentage of the field is elated at having advanced while the majority of bowlers are forced to accept that their tournament run is over for that year.
With so much on the line, it’s easy to understand why some bowlers spend their time at Junior Gold almost completely focused on themselves.
But Tanner Pahos of Superior, Wisconsin, is different. Despite his drive to bowl well individually, he dedicated time and effort to lend support to a fellow competitor who needed a friendly face and an encouraging word.
Thanks to Tanner’s kindness, that fellow bowler was able to work through his disappointment and frustration and walk away from his first Junior Gold experience with positive memories that will keep him wanting to come back to the tournament again and again.
The bowler Tanner reached out to was fellow U12 boys competitor Michael Poulich of Jeannette, Pennsylvania.
Michael has a rare form of dwarfism known as hypochondroplasia, which is a genetic disorder characterized by small stature and disproportionately short arms, legs, hands and feet.
The condition has prevented Michael from participating in most sports, but he found his niche with bowling.
Now 10-years-old, Michael has been bowling since he was four. He maintains a 167 average back home and was excited to qualify for his first Junior Gold appearance this year in Grand Rapids.
Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, the success Michael enjoys on the lanes back home failed to show up during his Junior Gold debut. As is also often the case, that forced Michael to confront a great deal of disappointment.
Despite his father’s best attempts to console him, Michael was having a very hard time shaking off the frustration on Day 1 of U12 boys qualifying. Enter Tanner Pahos.
Seeing one of his lane-mates having hard time, Tanner immediately took it upon himself to sit down and talk with Michael, telling him to keep his head up and remain positive.
Tanner continued offering Michael encouragement throughout the rest of the four-game block, helping him take some positivity away from a disappointing day on the lanes.
After the round was completed, Tanner and Michael went their separate ways, and since they wouldn’t be bowling together during the remaining rounds of qualifying, it would’ve been very easy for the pair to never meet again.
That wasn’t the case, however, as Tanner went out of his way to find and speak with Michael again during Thursday’s final round of qualifying. Tanner sought Michael out briefly during the round and again after its completion, putting his own disappointment at having missed the cut aside in order to make sure Michael was doing okay after his tournament run officially came to an end.
Michael’s father Mike greatly appreciated Tanner’s gesture, and he’s sure that his son did as well.
“For Tanner to come down and check on Michael after not performing at his best shows a lot about Tanner’s character,” Mike Poulich said. “There’s a lot to be said for young men like Tanner, and that is the sportsmanship that makes bowling special.
“We will always remember this trip and how much fun we had, but I will never forget that moment and Tanner’s kindness. That’s what it’s all about.”
Seven bowlers make trek from military bases in Germany to participate in Junior Gold
Anyone who has bowled the Junior Gold Championships knows that sometimes getting to the tournament involves a significant amount of travel.
After all, regardless of where the tournament is being held in a given year, bowlers travel from all over the United States to compete in the prestigious national championship event.
Nevertheless, this year, one group took the concept of “significant amount of travel” to a whole new level. That’s because this year’s field featured a group of seven bowlers who made the journey to Grand Rapids all the way from various military bases in Germany.
Six of the seven bowlers made the trip from Wiesbaden in the western German state of Hesse while one traveled from Kaiserslautern, a city in southwestern Germany set at the north end of the Palatinate Forest.
The contingent attending from Germany included the following competitors: Katheryn Chapman (U12 girls); Stanley Golonka (U12 boys); Molly Singleton and Analise Mae Bishop (U15 girls); Milo Singleton (U15 boys); Anjelica Chapman (U18 girls) and Jonathan Putnam (U18 boys).
The fact that these bowlers, their families, and their coaches were willing to travel around the world to compete is a testament to their love of bowling and to the prestige of the Junior Gold Championships.
Nine bowlers shoot 300 during qualifying at Junior Gold
Shooting 300 is always a special accomplishment, but when a bowler can do so during a prestigious national championship tournament like Junior Gold, it’s something he or she will never forget.
Nine bowlers managed to record perfect games during qualifying-round competition at the 2022 Junior Gold Championships. Those bowlers are as follows:
- Juliana Kerrigan; Ashland, Virginia; U18 girls; Round 2; Game 3
- Melia Mitskavich; DuBois, Pennsylvania; U18 girls; Round 2; Game 4
- Connor Rogus; Macomb, Michigan; U18 boys; Round 3; Game 1
- Ethan Caruso; Channahon, Illinois; U18 boys; Round 3; Game 3
- Ayden Long; Oostburg, Wisconsin; U18 boys; Round 3; Game 4
- Melanie Straub; Chesterfield, Michigan; U18 girls; Round 4; Game 2
- Pedro Irzarry Ramos; Ponce, Puerto Rico; U18 boys; Round 4; Game 3
- Gregorio (Bud) Sicard III; Milwaukie, Oregon; U18 boys; Round 4; Game 3
- Winston Petri; Wauconda, Illinois; U15 boys; Round 4; Game 4