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Canada leads as Team event reaches halfway point

The team event at the 2016 Pan American Bowling Confederation Adult Championships reached its halfway point Thursday at Bolera Departamental in Cali, Colombia, with Canada turning in another strong performance to lead the field.

From left, Francois Lavoie, Travis Cauley, Zach Wilkins, David Simard and Mitch Hupé.

The Canadians averaged more than 229 as a team on the way to a 3,440 three-game total and lead Team USA by 68 pins heading into Friday’s final three games. The United States finished the day with a 3,372 total,

Colombia, the defending champion in the team event is third with 3,364, Mexico is fourth at 3,229 and Puerto Rico is fifth with 3,214.

David Simard, who shot 300 earlier in the week in doubles, led the way for Canada with a 723 series and was followed by Zach Wilkins and Travis Cauley with 701 apiece, Mitch Hupé (670) and Francois Lavoie (645). Wilkins, Hupé‚ and Lavoie are fresh off a dominating run in trios as well.

Team USA - from left, Ronnie Russell, AJ Chapman, Rob Gotchall, Sean Rash, John Szczerbinski and Marshall Kent.

Team USA – from left, Ronnie Russell, AJ Chapman, Rob Gotchall, Sean Rash, John Szczerbinski and Marshall Kent.

Team USA – from left, Ronnie Russell, AJ Chapman, Rob Gotchall, Sean Rash, John Szczerbinski and Marshall Kent.[/caption]Team USA’s performance was a bit of a roller coaster, where all five players struggled to get going at the same time. They excelled at picking each other up and provided some exciting moments, but head coach Bryan O’Keefe said they’ll need to put all the pieces together Friday in order to make a run at the gold medal.

“Everyone saw the total picture of what needed to happen, but they saw it at different times and didn’t all see it at once,” O’Keefe said. “We were able to grind it out and put up a good score, but it may not seem like it on paper. Canada bowled their butts off, and it’s going to be tough to catch them if they have the same look and execution as today.”

Marshall Kent got off to a hot start for the United States, opening with 10 consecutive strikes, before a split left him with a 286 game. He finished with a 747 set and was joined by Ronnie Russell (691), John Szczerbinski (654), Sean Rash (643) and AJ Chapman (637).

Russell closed the day in exciting fashion, starting the final game with 11 consecutive strikes. A 2 pin on his final offering left him with 299 and short of his second perfect game of the week. The first came during trios Wednesday and is one of five at this year’s PABCON Adult Championships.

Team USA did lose some pins on missed spares, something they’ll need to focus more on as the event winds down.

“We struggled a little bit on some spares today, but I think that was just a lack of focus at times, where the guys probably were thinking about the first shot or what they were going to do in the next frame,” O’Keefe said. “We missed seven or eight makeable spares today, and that’s the difference between leading and where we are right now.”

The all-events race also will be decided Friday afternoon, and gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded based on the 24-game pinfall totals (six games of singles, doubles, trios and team).

Zach Wilkins tops the standings after 21 games with a 4,942 total, a 235.33 average. Ronnie Russell is second with 4,867 and followed by defending champion Marshall Kent (4,865), Mitch Hupé (4,861) and Colombia’s Santiago Mejia (4,794).

The top 16 bowlers in the all-events standings after 24 games will advance to Saturday’s best-of-five match-play Masters bracket. The trios and team medal ceremonies will take place at Bolera Departamental on Saturday afternoon before the Masters semifinals.

2016PABCONLogoSliderThe 2016 PABCON Adult Championships includes more than a dozen countries, with more on the line than just gold medals.

The top eight men’s teams and top eight women’s teams will qualify for the combined 2017 World Championships in Kuwait. This will be determined by a combined total pinfall from the following categories in each division – top four singles scores, top two doubles scores, top trios set and pinfall in team competition.

The top two countries will qualify for the X World Games, which is held every fourth year and next will be contested in Wroclaw, Poland, in July 2017. This will be a combined pinfall total for the top two men and top two women for each country during the 24 games at the PABCON event.

The United States, Venezuela and Colombia previously qualified for the 2017 World Games through the PABCON Champion of Champions event in Mexico last April.

The women hit the lanes at Bolera Departamental starting next Monday.

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Author: Herbert Bickel
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