Defending champion in position to make history at USBC Open Championships


    United States

    Team All-Events champions won't repeat in 2015; two live stream broadcasts from the Open Championships this week

    2015USBCOCAnthonyLaCaze.jpgDefending champion Anthony LaCaze (pictured left) of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, is in position to become the second bowler in 112 years of United States Bowling Congress Open Championships history to win titles in three consecutive years.

    2015USBCOCUSASupport1.jpgThe 32-year-old right-hander, a 2013 Team All-Events champion and the 2014 Regular All-Events winner, helped Junior Team USA Support 1 of Las Vegas to the top of the leaderboard in Regular Team (3,359) and Team All-Events (10,064) at the El Paso Convention Center in El Paso, Texas, on April 3-4.

    The team averaged more than 223 to easily move past Team All-Events leader, ND Storm of Mandan, South Dakota, by more than 650 pins.

    2015USBCOCErikVermilyea.jpgFor the third consecutive year, Junior Team USA Support 1 eclipsed the 10,000 mark, a run that includes a Team All-Events title in 2013 and a 10th-place finish in 2014. There have been 58 scores of 10,000 or better since Team All-Events started being tracked in 1947.

    Erik Vermilyea (left) led the way for Junior Team USA Support 1, taking the all-events torch from LaCaze with a 2,083 effort that included 762 in team, 715 in singles and 606 in doubles. Matt Smallin of Glenburn, North Dakota, a member of ND Storm, previously held the lead with 2,062.

    Vermilyea was followed by the rest of the 2013 Team All-Events champions, Matthew Tuckfield (2,048), LaCaze (1,988), Steve Novak (1,982) and Jeffrey Mersch (1,963). Tuckfield settled into second place in Regular Singles with a 771 series, one pin behind leader Chad Oachs of Mankato, Minnesota, and all five members are in the top 15 in Regular All-Events.

    LaCaze now looks to join USBC Hall of Famer Les Zikes of Palatine, Illinois, who won Open Championships titles in 1962, 1963 and 1964.


    Team All-Events champions won't repeat in 2015

    2015USBCOCJanzsHI.jpgThe members of Janz's H.I. of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (pictured left), soaked in every moment of their experience at the 2015 USBC Open Championships, which included being introduced as tournament champions for the first time, and they made a late run at the top of the standings April 3.

    The group started slowly at the El Paso Convention Center but got progressively better. Though they will not repeat as Team All-Events champions, they made their presence known across this year's standings. A strong singles performance catapulted Janz's H.I. to a 9,118 Team All-Events total, which now is third overall.

    2015USBCOCAndyBunkoske.jpgAndy Bunkoske led the way with a 1,974 all-events total and was followed by 2014 all-events runner-up Tim Damerow (1,916), Tim Janz (1,844), Joe Janz (1,758) and Randy Hupf (1,626).

    "For us, coming from a small town, it was nice to go through this whole experience, from taking the lead last year, to everything that came along with it this year," Bunkoske said. "To win an eagle really was a dream come true for me, and to bowl well again this year was special, too."


    A look ahead

    2015USBCOCLogo.jpgThere will be two live stream broadcasts from the 2015 USBC Open Championships this week.

    First will be Motion Plus Lanes of Cudahy, Wisconsin, last year's Regular Team runner-up. The team's 2014 effort included the second-highest team score in tournament history (3,561) and followed a fifth-place finish in 2013 with 3,499.

    The group will hit the championship lanes at the El Paso Convention Center on April 10 at 7 p.m. EDT.

    The Regular Team record holder and defending champion, Artistic Expressions 1 of Oklahoma City, will be on the tournament lanes April 14 at 7 p.m. Eastern.

    Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Jimmy McMartin, Xeno Garcia, Ted Pritts and Pete Thomas claimed the crown last year with a record score of 3,720.

    Also this week, USBC Hall of Famer Don Ellis of Sugar Land, Texas, will celebrate 65 years at the Open Championships, while Benton Dempsey of Columbus, Ohio, becomes the first of 12 bowlers who will reach 50 years of participation this year in El Paso.


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    2015 USBC Open Championships - Regular Division

    Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfall

    1, Junior Team USA Support 1 (Matthew Tuckfield, Anthony LaCaze, Steve Novak, Jeffrey Mersch, Erik Vermilyea), Las Vegas, 3,359. 2, Hashtag Team Dole, Cleveland, 3,231. 3, ND Storm, Mandan, N.D., 3,149. 4, Off The Sheet Pro Shop 1, Oklahoma City, 3,084. 5, The Cutting Edge, Windsor, Colo., 3,032. 6, Molalla Bowl, Cornelius, Ore., 3,026. 7, Team Dirty, Evansville, Wis., 3,010. 8, Out Of Wood Pro Shop, Enfield, Conn., 2,995. 9, ND Roto Grip, Mandan, N.D., 2,983. 10, Indian Hills Golf, Okemos, Mich., 2,975.

    1, Tom Woodworth/Jeremy Sonnenfeld, Sioux Falls, S.D., 1,372. 2, James Hansen, Anchorage, Alaska/Ron Mohr, North Las Vegas, Nevada, 1,370. 3, Phil Karwoski Jr./Phil Karwoski Sr., Lake Worth, Fla., 1,357. 4, Steve Novak, Bay City, Mich./Anthony LaCaze, Hoffman Estates, Ill., 1,309. 5, Doug McHugh/Bo Johnson, Huron, S.D., 1,298. 6, Jeffrey Mersch, Orlando, Fla./Erik Vermilyea, Las Vegas, 1,296. 7, Paul McCordic, Sugar Land, Texas/Pete McCordic, Katy, Texas, 1,291. 8, Jared Wolf, Jonesboro, Ark./Andy Patterson, Tyler, Texas, 1,290. 9, Jim Dougherty/Perry Hall, Oklahoma City, 1,284. 10, Andy Bunkoske/Tim Janz, Beaver Dam, Wis., 1,270.

    1, Chad Oachs, Mankato, Minn., 772. 2, Matthew Tuckfield, Orlando, Fla., 771. 3, Mike Pelham, Clinton, Iowa, 748. 4, Ken Duffield, Platteville, Wis., 739. 5, Andy Bunkoske, Beaver Dam, Wis., 736. 6, Anthony LaCaze, Hoffman Estates, Ill., 728. 7, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 727. 8, Trent Zabelle, Portland, Ore., 724. 9(tie), Jefry Carley, Berlin, Wis., and Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill., 719.

    1, Erik Vermilyea, Las Vegas, 2,083. 2, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 2,062. 3, Matthew Tuckfield, Orlando, Fla., 2,048. 4, Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill., 2,016. 5, Chris Pounders, Madison, Wis., 2,008. 6, Anthony LaCaze, Hoffman Estates, Ill., 1,988. 7, Rick Miller, Lincoln, Neb., 1,985. 8, Steve Novak, Bay City, Mich., 1,982. 9(tie), Tyler Jensen, Fort Worth, Texas, and Eryk Jensen, Longview, Wash., 1,981.

    Team All-Events
    1, Junior Team USA Support 1 (Matthew Tuckfield, Anthony LaCaze, Steve Novak, Jeffrey Mersch, Erik Vermilyea), Las Vegas, 10,064. 2, ND Storm, Mandan, N.D., 9,393. 3, Molalla Bowl, Cornelius, Ore., 9,168. 4, Janz's H.I., Beaver Dam, Wis., 9,118. 5, Joliet Town & Country Lanes, Joliet, Ill., 9,092. 6, Team Dirty, Evansville, Wis., 9,055. 7, Team Kegel, Winter Haven, Fla., 9,044. 8, Nicholas J's Pro Shop 2, La Crosse, Wis., 8,992. 9, Greatresulters, Simi Valley, Calif., 8,988. 10, Hashtag Team Dole, Cleveland, 8,959.


    2015 USBC Open Championships - Classified Division

    Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfall

    1, Rails Bar and Grill (Dale Helgevold, Brandon Meyer, Eric Douglass, Darrell Pedersen, Michael Thielen), Eagle Grove, Iowa, 2,597. 2, T-Rays, Jamestown, N.D., 2,533. 3, Lani Ohana, Kaneohe, Hawaii, 2,532. 4, Lake Country Rollers 2, Clarissa, Minn., 2,530. 5, Minnesota Select Sires 1, Fergus Falls, Minn., 2,526. 6, Kirkmeyer Electric, Hobbs, N.M., 2,509. 7, Stri King 1, Hannaford, N.D., 2,506. 8, Melody Lanes 4, Montevideo, Minn., 2,505. 9, Wothe Bait 1, Perham, Minn., 2,499. 10, TH-1, Miami, 2,490.

    1, Donald Holtz, Hutchinson, Minn./Gary Holtz, Litchfield, Minn., 1,153. 2, Ryan Burmester/David Burmester, Hampton, Iowa, 1,126. 3,Sterling Minke Jr., Columbus, Ohio/Sterling Minke Sr., Englewood, Fla., 1,111. 4, Michael Thielen/Darrell Pedersen, Eagle Grove, Iowa, 1,105. 5, Sharon Nelson, Mesa, Ariz./Missy Price, Harrisburg, S.D., 1,100. 6(tie), Bill King/Mark Bylander, Vergas, Minn., and Alan Miller, Eunice, N.M./Hugo Naegele, Hobbs, N.M., 1,097. 8, Vern Minor, Thayer, Kan./Craig Carnahan, Altamont, Kan., 1,093. 9, Dale Helgevold, Osceola, Iowa/Brandon Meyer, Eagle Grove, Iowa, 1,092. 10, Karla Coon, Dawson, Minn./Chad Reimer, Granite Falls, Minn., 1,090.

    1, Jim Conkle, Pentwater, Mich., 628. 2, Donald Holtz, Hutchinson, Minn., 620. 3, Michael Thielen, Eagle Grove, Iowa, 610. 4, Billy Dedek, Amarillo, Texas, 605. 5, Mark Bearman, Webster, S.D., 601. 6, Jason Gorley, Tacoma, Wash., 593. 7, Karen Peterson, Fulton, Iowa, 591. 8, Randy Miskovic, Lansing, Ill., 590. 9(tie), Glenn Coffey, Lafayette, La., and Mark Soeffker, Gaylord, Minn., 589.

    1, Michael Thielen, Eagle Grove, Iowa, 1,712. 2, Darrell Pedersen, Eagle Grove, Iowa, 1,689. 3, Shea Branch, Dallas, 1,687. 4, Randy Miskovic, Lansing, Ill., 1,669. 5, Donald Holtz, Hutchinson, Minn., 1,663. 6, Joseph Whittaker, Provo, Utah, 1,660. 7, Dale Huling, Las Vegas, 1,647. 8, Paul Reker, New Ulm, Minn., 1,643. 9, Missy Price, Harrisburg, S.D., 1,636. 10, Jason Gorley, Tacoma, Wash., 1,632.