A walk through any of the eight Dallas-area bowling centers hosting qualifying rounds of the 2018 Junior Gold Championships presented by the Brands of Ebonite International will illustrate two-handed bowling is a popular style among the young competitors.
But the style only is for the boys, right?
“Not at all,” said Emma Price (featured photo) of Macomb, Michigan, a two-hander competing in her first Junior Gold Championships in the 15-and-under division. “Girls can do it, too.”
She used the two-handed style when practicing with her older brother, who was competing in high school at the time, and said when she started competing in the seventh grade she didn’t want to take her second hand off the ball.
Emma thinks the style might start to grow among girls, but doubts many would try to make the switch because it is more difficult. And she has not seen too many girls throwing it the same as her.
“I didn’t know a single girl (who uses the style) until I came here,” Emma said. “I met one other girl who is throwing two-handed.”
Emma said the high school state championships was the biggest bowling event in which she’s competed – until Junior Gold.
“I’m learning a lot,” Emma said. “It was overwhelming the first day, but I didn’t let it get to me. I had a bad first game (137), but came back with a 234.”
Wednesday marked the third of four days of qualifying. More than 3,800 of the top youth bowlers in the country are competing for national titles plus spots on Junior Team USA and part of a tournament record $350,000 scholarship fund.
The city of Dallas and the Dallas Sports Commission are hosts for this year’s Junior Gold Championships.
Next stop, World Youth Championships
Daniel Bolan (pictured), 19, of Orlando, Florida, is competing in the U20 boys division at the Junior Gold Championships. Soon after, he will compete in the World Bowling Youth Championships, which starts in late July in Detroit.
He will compete for Romania, where he was born before coming to the United States at age 2. He’ll also finally get to meet his teammates.
“We have talked on Facebook and other social media,” Bolan said. “It will be an eye-opening experience. I’m very excited. I wanted to bowl with Team Romania.”
The 2016 United States Bowling Congress Ambassador of the Year, Bolan is working with Hard Eight BBQ on a Strike for Vets and Wounded Warrior charity event at one of their area restaurants.
“I have a meeting with them at 11 a.m. and then I’m bowling at 4 p.m.,” Bolan said of his schedule for Thursday. “It’s going to be a pretty packed day.”
Off to a fast start
Michael Martel of Brooklyn, New York, kicked off his four-game block at Forum Bowl in Grand Prairie with a 279 game. He added games of 246, 207 and 200 for a 932 total, one of the best scores posted in the center through three days.
“It helps free up your swing a little bit,” the left-handed Martel said of starting with a big game. “You throw one a little left off your hand, you get the light mixer. Throw one a little far up the lane, you roll the 6 pin. I threw a lot of good ones that game, got a couple of breaks. You have to catch a couple breaks to catch a score.”
The Junior Team USA member finished third at last year’s Junior Gold event and was the runner-up in the U15 division in 2013.
Anthony Neuer of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, who won the first U12 boys title in 2014 and was the runner-up in the U15 division last year, opened this year’s event with a four-game total of 775.
He rebounded nicely on Day 2 with a 910, moving up more than 270 spots into the top 40. The climb continued on Wednesday with a 919 set at USA Bowl in Dallas.
“I came out here expecting to do well and then when you bowl 20-under, you look at yourself and say ‘What are you doing?'” Neuer said. “Then you just have to bring it back and regroup.”
Close to perfection
While he came up just short of a perfect game, leaving a 2 pin on his final attempt on Wednesday at USA Bowl, Adam Glickman of New York said it was “confidence booster.” While he followed with a 170 game, he used what he learned from the 299 game to finish strong.
“I tried what I did in my 299 game and the lanes played the same,” Glickman said of his closing game. “I took advantage, kept making shots, and I got to 230.”
With the 230 closing game, Glickman, who just completed his sophomore year on the Webber International bowling team, posted an 876 set.
Be a good sport
Friday is the final day to turn in nominations for the David Dahms Sportsmanship Award at the 2018 Junior Gold Championships.
The award is given to competitors who best exemplify sportsmanship, leadership, positive attitude and enthusiasm. One boy and one girl will be selected in each age-based division – U12, U15 and U20 – by the event management team, based on nominations received from event participants.
Winners in the U12 division will receive a $250 scholarship, while winners in U15 and U20 will receive $500 scholarships.
Nomination forms are available at each of the eight centers. They must be completed and returned by 10 p.m. Friday to be considered.
Click here for results and more information on the Junior Gold Championships.
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