Team USA’s AJ Chapman
knows he has what it takes to compete on the biggest stages in bowling, and he proved it to his fellow competitors at the 2016 Pan American Bowling Confederation Adult Championships on Tuesday as he teamed with John Szczerbinski
to claim the doubles gold medal.
Chapman has progressed through the Junior Team USA and USBC Collegiate programs but hasn’t rushed the process, knowing a professional bowling career is possible and likely, but completing his degree in sport management is his first priority – or second behind his upcoming appearance on the medal stand.
From left, Marshall Kent, Ronnie Russell, John Szczerbinski, AJ Chapman, Francois Lavoie and Mitch Hupé.
The 22-year-old right-hander graduated to a new competitive plateau Tuesday with a six-game total of 1,398 at Bolera Departamental, which lifted him and Szczerbinski (1,388) to a 2,786 winning total. The victory marked the first medal of any kind for Chapman in PABCON Adult Championships competition. Szczerbinski earned the silver medal in singles Monday.
The two bowled on the first squad of the day and dodged a few close calls, including their teammates, Marshall Kent (1,405) and Ronnie Russell (1,361), who finished with a 469 game and claimed the silver medal with a 2,766 total.
“It’s hard to put into words what it means to bowl for your country and have Team USA on your back, and to bowl well, especially in a team environment, makes it even more special,” said Chapman, a winner at the 2015 Intercollegiate Team Championships with Wichita State.
“I have complete trust in John getting up there and throwing the important shots, and I know he feels the same way. Our communication today was solid, and that goes back to our college days. That’s something WSU does really well.”
Canada’s Francois Lavoie and Mitch Hupe, both products of the Wichita State bowling program, also had a shot at the lead heading into the final frames, but the run was slowed when Hupe left a 7-10 split in the seventh frame. That left both players needing to strike on at least their next four shots.
Their chance at gold or silver ended when Hupe left, and missed, the 3-10 split in the ninth frame. Lavoie continued to strike, however, and finished with the fourth perfect game of the tournament, joining his teammates Hupe (singles), David Simard (doubles) and Colombian star Andres Gomez (singles).
Lavoie (1,386) and Hupe (1,369) earned the bronze medal with a 2,755 effort, 68 pins ahead of Venezuela’s Reydnier Chavez and Ildemaro Ruiz (2,687).
With two out of four disciplines in the books, defending PABCON all-events champion Marshall Kent leads the 98-player field from 18 countries with 2868 total and an average of 239 for 12 games. John Szczerbinski was just five pins behind in second place with 2863, with Santiago Mejia of Colombia further 43 pins back in third place with 2820.
Competition continues Wednesday with two squads of trios, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern. The doubles medal ceremony will take place at Bolera Departamental on Wednesday afternoon.
The 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.
Team USA’s Sean Rash wins Men’s Singles at 2016 PABCON Championships
Ronnie Russell to make Team USA debut at 2016 PABCON Championships
XVII PABCON Adult Championship to start on Monday
U.S. Teams selected for 2016 PABCON Adult Championships
XVII PABCON Adult Championship – Men’s Doubles
300 games (2) – David Simard, Francois Lavoie.
XVII PABCON Adult Championship – Men’s All Events after 12/24 games
300 games (4) – Mitch Hupe (singles), Andres Gomez (singles), David Simard (doubles), Francois Lavoie (doubles).