The 16-year-old right-hander, who was making her debut in the U20 division, had games of 279, 257 and 267 for an 803 series on her way to a 1,001 total, a 250.25 average, at Brunswick Westcreek in Fort Worth.
Kamerin (featured photo), who helped Bring It On to a runner-up finish in the U15 division at the 2017 USA Bowling National Championships, missed match play by six pins last year in Cleveland, and her performance Monday helped her confidence as she looks forward to the week of competition in Dallas.
“This was really exciting, because I’ve never done this before,” Kamerin said. “Coming in here, I at least hoped to make it to the next round, since they’re older and a lot of the girls are in college, but now that I know I can do this, I think I have a chance.”
Chip Mountcastle, 19, of Margate, Florida, began his first – and last – appearance at the Junior Gold Championships, competing in the U20 boys division. He produced one of the top efforts on the 7 a.m. squad at Forum Bowl in Grand Prairie.
While he opened with a 179 game, admitting there were a few butterflies, his closing game of 266 gave him an 846 total. He bowled at Coral Springs High School, and he said competing in sport leagues and tournaments in Florida have prepared him for the competition.
“In ways, it is like every other tournament, but in other ways it is much bigger,” Mountcastle said. “It is very big and surreal. But it’s pretty exciting.”
Brogran Zengel, 18, of Centerville, Ohio, is a veteran of the Junior Gold Championships, having bowled her first event in 2014 in Buffalo, New York, and finishing as the runner-up in the U15 division.
“I knew going into it that I needed to make a ton of spares and keep my mental game strong,” said Zengel, a U20 left-hander who had an 850 set to tie for the squad lead at Sparetime Lanes in Arlington. “But I have definitely seen progression throughout the years, and I have stayed more patient.”
While she said she does not set goals when bowling events, choosing to take it frame by frame, she does have plans in the fall, as the former Team USA U15 Developmental Team member has signed to bowl with Vanderbilt.
Sanchez, competing in the U20 boys division, fired games of 248, 255, 215 and 246 for a 964 total to pace his squad.
Sanchez is making his sixth appearance at Junior Gold this year and rolled the highest squad of his Junior Gold career. He left USA Bowl feeling satisfied with today’s performance.
“This is my last year, so I’m happy I got off to a good start,” said Sanchez, who bowls collegiately at Calumet College of St. Joseph.
“Every year, I’ve been borderline for the cut for the advancers round, so to get off to a start like this is great. This is the best squad I’ve bowled in all my years bowling Junior Gold, and it’s satisfying knowing all my hard work’s paying off. I have to realize it’s only Day 1 and make sure I keep the momentum going.”
Last week, Sanchez kicked off his Junior Gold experience by participating in the Bowling.com Youth Open Championships at Cityview Lanes in Fort Worth. Sanchez struggled during his set but gained some confidence after rolling his first career 300 game during the event.
“It’s been a great week,” Sanchez said. “I won a local event before making the trip to Dallas, then on Friday, I shot 300. I didn’t bowl well during the event, but the 300 gave me a lot of confidence and helped me realize what I needed to do on each shot. It was my first 300 game, so it was great to come in today with the right mindset.”
Gabe Alvarez (left) of Wichita, Kansas, rolled the first 300 game of the 2018 Junior Gold Championships. Alvarez, 17, reached perfection in Game 2 at USA Bowl and added games of 188, 179 and 238 for a four-game total of 905.
“This means a lot,” Alvarez said. “I never thought I could actually shoot 300 here because the patterns are so tough. It’s just a really good feeling to know I can shoot 300 on this. Plus, it was really cool to have my dad here to see me shoot 300. He’s seen me shoot some at home, but it’s different at Junior Gold.”
Joining Alvarez in the 300 club through the first three squads include Kennon McFalls of Belmont, North Carolina, and Deo Benard of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, who rolled perfect games at AMF Garland and Brunswick Westcreek, respectively.
Sunday’s opening ceremony for the Junior Gold Championships offered a new twist as three bowlers showed off their non-bowling skills in the Athlete Talent Showcase.
Junior Team USA’s Jeffery Mann of West Lafayette, Indiana, Madi Phillips of Springfield, Missouri, and Tori Colvard of Merritt Island, Florida, each performed a musical number for the crowd at the American Airlines Center, home of the National Basketball Association’s Dallas Mavericks and National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars.
If you missed their performance or would like to watch the entire opening ceremony, click here.
2018 Junior Gold Championships kicks off this week in Dallas
America’s Got Talent finalist to headline Junior Gold Opening Ceremony
Junior Gold Championships will have record field for 2018 event in Dallas
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