New schedule part of Junior Gold Championships improvements


    USBc Youth



    2014USBCChadMurphy.jpgThe Junior Gold Championships will expand its schedule by a day in 2016, one of several improvements that will provide a better experience for both competitors and attendees, and to prepare for continued growth of the event.

    "As we started to see the record participation in Junior Gold last season, we put together a targeted survey to the bowlers themselves and commissioned a task force comprised of volunteer leaders, Junior Gold coordinators, former bowlers and staff to lay out "what's next" for Junior Gold," said Chad Murphy (pictured right), United States Bowling Congress Executive Director.

    "We are really proud to see such great response to the surveys and a clear direction from the task force to enhance the experience and build toward a brighter future for the sport through this event."

    The 2016 Junior Gold Championships presented by Storm, Roto Grip and Master will take place July 15-23 in Indianapolis. Five bowling centers will be used for competition: Western Bowl, Expo Bowl, Woodland Bowl, All Star Bowl and Southern Bowl.

    The extra day of competition allows for additional squads with the TV finals for the event on Saturday, July 23.

    The competition will have two practice days (July 16-17) before qualifying for all divisions – Under 12, Under 15 and Under 20 boys and girls divisions – get underway.

    Competitors then will bowl four games each day over four days for a total of 16 qualifying games before the first cut is made. Previously, the event had 15 games of qualifying over three days for U15 and U20 divisions, and 12 qualifying games for the U12 divisions.

    2015IBCYouthGaryBrown.jpgThe new schedule will allow the tournament to have additional squads. This will mean fewer bowlers on each pair, will make the centers more accessible for family and friends, and will set up the tournament for additional growth.

    "The Junior Gold Championships has seen tremendous growth and the improvements that will take place in 2016 will ensure youth bowlers and their families will have an outstanding tournament experience," said Gary Brown (left), International Bowling Campus Managing Director of Youth Development.

    "Last year, a national TV audience had the opportunity to see what this event has to offer and we expect to see the Junior Gold program continue to grow."

    During the 2014-2015 season, the Junior Gold program shattered its all-time membership mark with more than 6,200 members and the 2015 Junior Gold Championships saw more than 3,400 youth bowlers qualify for the tournament. The 2014 tournament drew just under 2,500 bowlers.

    In addition to the new schedule, bowlers will be limited to five bowling balls for competition, one less than previously allowed.

    Junior Gold is a steppingstone to collegiate competition and the new rule is meant to keep the event in line with collegiate bowling, which limits participants to five balls in post-season play. The event also has adopted the collegiate dress code, allowing females to wear skirts, skorts and shorts.

    The lane patterns for the Junior Gold Championships, which previously were released during practice sessions, will not be released until after competition. The lane patterns will remain Sport compliant.

    "The task force recommended some exciting changes which focuses on athlete skill development," Brown said. "We have seen this type of focus at the collegiate level and look forward to a similar enhancement for Junior Gold."

    Competitors also should note there will be two registration areas at the event in 2016. For the complete schedule and to learn more about the Junior Gold program and the Junior Gold Championships, click here.