USBC Communications • Bowl.com
BUFFALO, N.Y. – National champions were crowned in six divisions Friday at the 2014 Junior Gold Championships presented by Ebonite, Columbia 300, Track and Hammer.
Tylor Greene of Davison, Michigan, and Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, claimed the 20-and-under titles, while Adam Zimmerman of Deer Park, New York, and Ashley Channell of Morris Chapel, Tennessee, won the 15-and-under division.
In the new 12-and-under division, Anthony Neuer of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and Madison Bailey of Rocklin, California, earned victories.
A record field of 2,479 United States Bowling Congress youth members from across the country took part in the event, which awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships.
Greene, 20, entered match play as the top seed and went undefeated in the double-elimination match-play bracket. He took down defending champion Wesley Low of Palmdale, California, 443-388, in the two-game title match.
“In the other years I made match play, I went 0-2, so it was a relief to get past the first few rounds,” Greene said. “Wesley and I are good friends. With him being the defending champion, it really put some pressure on me, but I think there was a lot on him as well trying to defend. Winning Junior Gold is unreal. It’s one of the biggest accomplishments of my life, and I won’t forget this moment.”
Two years after winning the U15 division, Clemmer, 16, found her way to the U20 title by defeating Rachael Albright of Genoa, Ohio, 387-353, in the title match.
“Being able to bowl with college girls for the past three or four years has helped me a lot,” Clemmer said. “Watching them bowl has really helped me understand how to play the lanes and what kind of mental game you need to have at Junior Gold. It feels good inside to know that I have won two titles at Junior Gold. It means that all of my hard work has paid off.”
The top two players in the U20 boys and girls divisions after 25 games of qualifying who were age eligible earned automatic spots on Junior Team USA in 2015. Those spots went to Michael Preston of Oswego, Illinois, Low, Melanie Hannon of Cheektowaga, New York, and Chenoa Rhoades of Lafayette, Indiana.
In addition, the players who advanced to the U20 championship match and were age eligible also earned automatic spots on Junior Team USA. The only player eligible was Clemmer. Since Low had already earned a spot and because Greene and Albright were not age eligible to earn spots, three additional selections went to the National Selection Committee.
The selections to Junior Team USA were Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tennessee, Kyle Sherman of O’Fallon, Missouri, Michael Coffey of Melbourne, Florida, Michael Tang of San Francisco, Stephanie Schwartz of Racine, Wisconsin, Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, and Katelyn Simpson, Emmett, Idaho.
In the U15 boys final, Zimmerman, 15, entered the championship round with one loss and needing to defeat Michael Schoerner of Plymouth, Wisconsin, twice to take the title. Zimmerman won consecutive matches, 377-350 and 387-274, to take the victory.
“Going into the second game, I was hoping to bowl the best I could and see what happens,” Zimmerman said. “To continue to make good shots for that many games is tough. To be able to call myself a Junior Gold champion is unbelievable. It means the world to me.”
Channell, 14, made it into the U15 girls championship match for the second consecutive year but this time turned a runner-up finish into a victory by defeating Brogan Zengel of Centerville, Ohio, 365-273.
“I went undefeated in match play last year,” Channell said. “I lost both matches in the championship match, so it meant a lot to win this year. It was a great experience, and there was a lot of great competition.”
Four U15 bowlers who were age eligible earned spots to compete in the Tournament of Americas in 2015 and to join the Junior Team USA development program. Those players were Cortez Schenck of Phoenix, Schoerner, Channell and Zengel.
In the one-game U12 boys championship match, Neuer, 12, defeated Alexander Horton, 169-131, to earn the victory.
“I thought it was a good experience,” Neuer said. “You need to make your spares in this kind of tournament, and it means a lot because there were a lot of good bowlers.”
Bailey, 12, entered as the top seed and rolled through match play, eventually defeating Sarah Sanes of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 151-135, in the title match.
“It was scary and I was really nervous since it was my first time at Junior Gold,” Bailey said. “But my dad says that hard works pays off, and it means everything to win.”