Page aims to remain hot at Men's World Championships

    08/16/08

    United States

    PBA Rookie of the Year took home four medals from 2006 event

    2008MWCRhinoPage.jpg Arguably the greatest rookie season in the history of the Denny's Professional Bowlers Association Tour almost never happened.

    Rhino Page of Topeka, KS, would likely still be an amateur this day if professionals still were ineligible to bowl in international competition. And he was OK with that.

    Fortunately for Page, he didn't have to play the "What if?" game as he'll continue his successful Team USA career at the upcoming World Tenpin Bowling Association Men's World Championships, scheduled for Aug. 22-30 in Bangkok, Thailand.

    "If Team USA didn't have professionals, I probably wouldn't be a pro and I wouldn't have had the season I had because I wanted to be a part of this Thailand team so bad," said Page, the 2007-08 PBA Rookie of the Year who has been on Team USA since 2004. "This program means a ton to me, and to be able to be a professional as well was a big relief to me."

    This event marks the much anticipated first appearance of professionals at the World Championships. Joining Page in Thailand on the six-player Team USA squad are fellow Denny's Professional Bowlers Association Tour stars Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, FL, Chris Barnes of Double Oak, TX, Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, FL, and Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, SC, along with amateur Bill Hoffman of Columbus, OH.

    Professionals are now eligible to compete with Team USA in international competition, thanks to a change in WTBA legislation last August.

    2006MWCTeamUSA.jpg At the 2006 World Championships, Page and Hoffman helped the United States (pictured left with head coach Jeri Edwards) win the team gold medal for the first time since 1971, highlighted by Hoffman's 300 in the second-to-last game. Page also won singles and all events silver and masters bronze in 2006.

    Even more might be expected from Team USA this time around, considering the squad features players with a combined 77 PBA Tour titles plus the reigning QubicaAMF World Cup champion in Hoffman.

    "We obviously have a great chance of bowling well there and taking home a few medals," said Page, who won singles and doubles gold medals at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil.

    2007PBA19RhinoPage2.jpg Page, who, at age 25, is the youngest member of U.S. team in Thailand, set several rookie records and various other PBA records last season as a non-exempt member - highlighted by his first career PBA Tour title in his fifth TV appearance of the season, the Go RVing Classic in Norwich, Conn.

    Having plenty of recent international experience, Page feels he and Hoffman can provide their teammates a different perspective on what to expect from the competition and the bowling environment.

    "Sometimes because these guys are as good as they are, it's hard for us to give advice," said Page, who finished ninth in the points standings in 2007-08 despite having to qualify for each tournament. "Who are we to tell a PBA Player of the Year how to bowl? I think we did that, however, when we trained together a couple months ago by just bowling - showing them which types of balls work well and why. It's kind of a trial and error thing.

    "We need to bring the team together. It can be a little different coming together if you haven't had much team experience in the past."

    The Men's World Championships, which will be held at SF Strike Bowl Ngamwonwan, will feature more than 300 athletes from 56 countries competing in six disciplines - doubles, trios, team, singles, all-events and Masters.