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Eight teams advance to semifinals at 2016 World Youth Championships

2016WYCTeamBoysUSA.jpgThe United States boys broke two more scoring records Sunday and locked up the top seed for the team semifinals at the 2016 World Bowling Youth Championships, but their performance over the last two days will seem insignificant if they can’t finish the job Monday at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States.

From top left, clockwise: United States, Sweden, Canada and Japan.

The two-time defending champions (pictured left) opened qualifying with the highest game in World Youth Championships history (1,012) and carried that momentum into Sunday’s second round, setting the three-game and six-game records with 2,797 and 5,581 (232.54 average), respectively.

2016WYCTeamBoysCanada.jpgFirst-time participant and doubles gold medalist Anthony Simonsen led the way for Junior Team USA with a 1,439 total and was followed by Kamron Doyle (1,396), Wesley Low (1,392) and Michael Tang (1,354).

Now, all pinfall, and a nearly 500-pin advantage, will disappear, and a shot at a third consecutive team gold medal will come down to a best-of-three Baker match against Canada (right), which earned the last spot in the semifinals with a 5,089 pinfall total (212.04).

The boys’ and girls’ semifinals get underway live on BowlTV on Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern. Winners then will battle for the gold medal, while losers share bronze.

2016WYCTeamBoysSweden.jpg2016WYCTeamBoysJapan.jpgThe other boys’ semifinal will feature No. 2 Sweden (left; 5,411) and No. 3 Japan (right; 5,319). On the way to the top four Sunday, Sweden simultaneously matched the three-game record of 2,797.

Sweden previously held the six-game qualifying record with 5,389, rolled at the 2012 World Youth Championships in Bangkok, while the three-game mark already belonged to the United States with 2,795, posted in 2014.

“The records and bowling so well to this point are nice, but we definitely need to come in with an open mind and not think about the past or last two days of qualifying,” said Low, who, along with Doyle, was a member of the Junior Team USA squad that successfully defended the team title in Hong Kong in 2014.

“We can’t underestimate any opponent. We need to stay focused and concentrate on one shot at a time. Hopefully, the experience Michael and I have with collegiate bowling and the Baker format, will help.”

In recent years, the team medal rounds included complete team games, where the one-game total pinfall determined who advanced or won. In the Baker format, the four players will alternate frames in a single line. But, unlike a five-player Baker game, where each team member bowls two frames, two bowlers now must bowl three times, making the lineup strategy even more important.

While determining the order players will bowl, coaches must consider factors like who’s had the best look on the 45-foot Rome oil pattern, particularly when the lanes were freshly oiled, the overall energy of the team and who could make the best shot under pressure.

“Tomorrow is a new day, and everything starts over, so how we bowled to this point doesn’t matter,” said Team USA head coach Rod Ross. “This is a new format for us, but we trained for it at training camp, and we came in prepared. Hopefully, that will pay off, and we can prevail for the three-peat.”

2016WYCTeamGirlsFinalistsBanner.jpg

2016WYCTeamGirlsUSA.jpg2016WYCTeamGirlsSweden.jpgThe Junior Team USA girls (left) also qualified for the team semifinals in record fashion, topping the standings with a 5,188 six-game total, 119 pins better than the previous record set by Germany (5,069) at the 2008 tournament in Orlando, Florida.

From top left, clockwise: United States, Malaysia, Sweden and Korea.

Gazmine Mason led the way for the United States with a 1,418 total and was joined by Jordan Richard (1,292), Julia Bond (1,261) and Stephanie Schwartz (1,217).

The United States now has a chance to complete the gold-medal sweep as it did at the 2012 event. In 2014, Japan topped Sweden for the girls’ gold.

2016WYCTeamGirlsMalaysia.jpg2016WYCTeamGirlsKorea.jpgThis year’s semifinal matchups on the girls’ side will be the United States against No. 4 Sweden (above right; 4,924) and No. 2 Malaysia (left; 5,089) taking on No. 3 Korea (right; 4,935).

The 2016 all-events medalists also were determined with the completion of team competition Sunday, and gold, silver and bronze medals were earned based on 18-game pinfall totals – six games of singles, doubles and team.

2016WYCAllEventsBoysGoldPontusAnderssonBronzeJesperSvensson.jpgHeading into the final game, Sweden’s Pontus Andersson (left with teammate Jesper Svensson, right) trailed Wesley Low (right), the defending champion and all-events record-holder, by 15 pins. Andersson opened the final game with 10 consecutive strikes to catapult himself to the gold medal with a 4,220 total, a 234.44 average, which is four pins shy of Low’s record score, posted in 2014.

2016WYCAllEventsBoysSilverWesleyLowGirlsGoldGazmineMason.jpgLow (pictured with girls’ all-events gold medalist, Gazmine Mason) held on for the silver medal with 4,139, to go along with a pair of golds this week in singles and doubles. Sweden’s Jesper Svensson, who rolled one of two perfect games this week, matched his bronze-medal performance from 2014, this time with a 4,120 total.

“I’m having a hard time describing how it feels,” said Andersson, a doubles champion at the 2014 World Youth Championships with Markus Jansson.

2016WYCAllEventsGirlsSilverParkJuNa.jpg“I just took it one shot at a time, focused on myself and didn’t worry about everything going on around me. It feels amazing to get to the medal round in team with these guys, especially since we missed by three pins at the last championships. It’s such a relief to make it. Now, we’ll reset and focus for the semifinals and take it from there.”

Junior Team USA’s Gazmine Mason started the final game with eight consecutive strikes to solidify her place atop the standings, claiming her second gold medal of the week with a record 4,100 all-events total. Korea’s Kim Moon-Jeong previously held the record with 3,922, posted in 2010.

Mason started the week with a singles victory and teamed with Bond for a silver medal in doubles.

2016WYCAllEventsGirlsBronzeFilippaPersson.jpg2016WYCAllEventsGirlsBronzeVictoriaChin.jpgKorea’s Park Yu Na (above left), a doubles gold medalist this week, earned the silver medal in all-events (3,959), while Sweden’s Filippa Persson (left), the owner of the first 300 game this event, tossed two strikes and a nine-count in her final frame to tie Victoria Chin (right) of Malaysia for the bronze medal with a 3,872 total.

The top 24 in each set of all-events standings will advance to Masters match play, which begins Monday afternoon and will feature best-of-three single-elimination matches. The top eight in each division will receive first-round byes. It took an average of 209.11 to make the cut on the boys’ side and 197.33 for the girls.

The defending Masters champions, Jesper Svensson and Mirai Ishimoto (11th) of Japan, both finished among the top 24 and will have a chance to repeat in 2016.

2016WYCLogo.jpgThis 2016 World Bowling Youth Championships included more than 200 competitors from 37 countries, acompeting for medals in five events – singles, doubles, team, all-events and masters.

Bowling fans from around the globe can watch the competition live on BOWL.com’s BowlTV with continued coverage of all qualifying, semifinal and final rounds. The complete live-streaming schedule (all times Eastern) can be found here.

For complete information on the World Youth Championships, click here.

Photos courtesy of ABF Online.

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14th WYC – Boys Team Preliminaries

Players with position, country and 6-game total. Top 4 advance to the playoffs.

14th WYC – Girls Team Preliminaries

Players with position, country and 6-game total. Top 4 advance to the playoffs.

14th WYC – Boys All-Events (Final Standings)

Players with position, country and pinfall total. Top 24 after 18 games (six games each in Singles, Doubles and Team preliminaries) advance to the Masters finals, top 8 receive a first-round bye.

2016WYCAllEventsBoysMedalistsBanner.jpg

Medalists in All-Events: L-R Wesley Low Jr. (silver), Pontus Andersson (gold) and Jesper Svensson (bronze).

14th WYC – Girls All-Events (Final Standings)

Players with position, country and pinfall total. Top 24 after 18 games (six games each in Singles, Doubles and Team preliminaries) advance to the Masters finals, top 8 receive a first-round bye.

2016WYCAllEventsGirlsMedalistsBanner.jpg

Medalists in All-Events, top right, counterclockwise: Gazmine Mason (gold), Park Yu Na (silver), Victoria Chin and Filippa Persson (tied for bronze).

Author: Herbert Bickel
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