INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Campbell of Clinton, South Carolina, and Alexandra McCowan of Anaheim, California, are the 2023 Junior Gold Championships 12-and-under division national champions.

Ryan got to the winner’s circle by striking on seven of his first eight shots enroute to a 230-144 victory over Kristofer Wagner of Deland, Florida, during stepladder finals action at Royal Pin Western

With the victory, Ryan was able to fully erase the disappointment of last year’s runner-up finish and officially add his name to the very decorated list of Junior Gold champions.

When asked how it felt to join such a legendary group, Ryan wasn’t sure how to respond.

“I’m speechless. I never thought I was going to be on that list of great bowlers, but now I am,” Ryan said. “Winning takes a lot of weight off my back because now I can actually tell people that I won Junior Gold.”

And Ryan didn’t just win; he won impressively.

The two-hander started the title match with three strikes in a row before coming in light and leaving the 2 pin in the fourth.

Undaunted, Ryan converted the spare easily and then ripped off a four-bagger in frames five through eight to put the match away before either player stepped up for their final frames.

“It was around the seventh frame when it hit me that I was going to win,” Ryan said. “I was on a roll, and Kristofer had a few splits in a row at that same time. When I knew I had won, it was a feeling that I’ve never had before in my life. I’ve never been so nervous and so happy.”

Part of Ryan’s happiness was due to the realization that he’d bested a very strong opponent to get to the winner’s circle.

Kristofer made that quite clear during his 256-168 semifinal victory over No. 3 seed Miles Gordon of Columbus, Ohio.

Kristofer started that match with six strikes in a row before his seventh shot crept high, leaving the 6-9-10 and ending his bid for perfection.

Nevertheless, Kristofer converted the spare and struck on three of his final four shots to breeze to victory.

Unfortunately, Kristofer was unable to maintain the momentum during the title match.

After starting spare, strike, spare, spare, Kristofer split during four of the next five frames, allowing Ryan to establish an unsurmountable lead and take home this year’s U12 boys national title.

It’s a victory that Ryan will carry with him as he takes the next steps in his bowling career.

“I never thought this was going to happen, but it feels incredible,” Ryan said. “Now, I’m just going to keep working hard and continue striving.”

U12 Girls
Alexandra led this year’s U12 girls division from wire to wire, so it was fitting that she capped her impressive week of bowling off by defeating Jayne Juhasz of Ormond Beach, Florida, 188-160, to take home the 2023 U12 girls national title.

Both bowlers were solid throughout the title match, but as had been the case all week long, in the end, Alexandra’s striking power was just too strong.

Alexandra notched clutch doubles in the third and fourth and sixth and seventh frames to establish a 33 pin lead over Jayne with just three frames to go.

Jayne delivered a flush strike in the eighth, but when her first shot in the ninth came in light and left a 4-5 split, it was clear that Alexandra would be taking home this year’s title.

Nevertheless, Alexandra maintained the same cool, business-like expression and body language that she’d displayed all week long.

When asked later how she managed to stay so relaxed and under control, Alexandra made it clear that that’s just how she is.

“That’s just kind of the way I appear all the time,” Alexandra said. “Also, I had a pretty good head start, so I wasn’t nervous at all.”

That shows just how poised Alexandra is because most bowlers would’ve been a bit uneasy after watching Jayne’s performance in the semifinals.

Jayne was in complete control of her nerves and the lane conditions during that battle with No. 3 seed Isabella Jones of Edinburgh, Indiana, locking in on the 1-3 pocket and staying clean enroute to a comfortable 200-155 victory.

Jayne attempted to employ a similar strategy during the title match, but a pair of splits and a missed single pin was just too much to overcome, allowing Alexandra to take home the title.

It was one that she didn’t necessarily see coming; nevertheless, she’s very happy to have attained it.

“I competed last year, and I didn’t do very well,” Alexandra said. “So, I wasn’t really expecting to do that well this year, but after making the advancers round, match play and now this, I’m really excited.”

The U12 division featured 102 girls and 226 boys at the 2023 Junior Gold Championships.

More than 3,250 United States Bowling Congress Youth members competed at Junior Gold 2023, traveling across six bowling centers in the Indianapolis area in hopes of winning a sizable portion of the approximately $450,000 scholarship fund, making a run at a national title and claiming a spot on Junior Team USA. provided livestream coverage of every round of the 2023 event leading up to the stepladder finals in each division.