Brown, Martinez look to defend Junior Gold titles


    USBC Youth

    Sunnybrook Lanes, Sterling Lanes and Century Bowl in Detroit, Mich., USA (June 5-11, 2008)

    2008CoCJennyBrown.jpg 2008CoCAdamMartinez.jpg Since winning last year's United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships, Jenny Brown of DeLand, Fla., and Adam Martinez of San Antonio have been on a journey any fellow youth bowler would envy.

    The pair have received advice from the best coaches in the world, competed alongside the best bowlers in the country on national television in Bowling's Clash of Champions and are now preparing for a stretch of the most important tournaments they have ever competed in.

    The benefits of their titles last year in Buffalo, N.Y., were almost overwhelming at times for the two young athletes, but now their desire to continue to reap those benefits is strong.

    Brown and Martinez have a tough task ahead as they will take on more than 1,700 of the best youth bowlers in the country, all with their sights set on dethroning the pair as defending champions, when the 2008 USBC Junior Gold Championships begin July 7 in suburban Detroit.

    "Over the past year, I have received invaluable tips from the Junior Team USA coaching staff," said Martinez, who like the rest of Junior Team USA attended a week-long training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., earlier this year. "They made some suggestions that have already improved my game. I was never sold on the idea of establishing a regular practice schedule and was never fully committed to an exercise regimen, but now I am convinced that these things can really help you be a better athlete."

    For Brown, the highlight of her reign as the female U.S. Junior Amateur champion was when she took on professional bowler Liz Johnson head-to-head on national television in the Clash. Brown went toe-to-toe with Johnson, throwing eight consecutive strikes in the sudden-death round before finally succumbing.

    "Bowling against Liz was a really great experience for me and she was always one of my favorite female bowlers," Brown said. "To just bowl in a same tournament with her and all the pro bowlers was such an honor. Bowling in the Clash kind of gave me confidence not only because it gave me such a great experience but it also helped me to bowl better under pressure."

    Both players are among the athletes selected to represent the United States in the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships in Orlando, Fla., shortly after defending their titles in Detroit. And both will also compete in the Pan American Bowling Confederation Youth Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador, in September.

    "Competing in Junior Gold can do nothing but help me prepare for the World Youth," Brown said. "Every tournament I bowl in helps me because not only does it give me great practice, but it prepares me even more by allowing me to compete against tons of good bowlers."

    Brown and Martinez will need to utilize the skills they have honed over the past year to fend off their competition at the Junior Gold Championships. The players in the field will be focused on becoming members of Junior Team USA and earning a share of $100,000 in scholarship money.

    The 11th annual Junior Gold Championships, which is conducted on USBC Sport Bowling lane conditions, will take place at Sunnybrook Lanes, Sterling Lanes and Century Bowl in suburban Detroit. The field is made up of players from all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico and U.S. military zones in Europe and the Far East. Most participants qualified to enter by advancing through local Junior Gold qualifying leagues and tournaments.

    The top four finishers who are U.S. citizens in the male and female divisions will earn automatic spots on Junior Team USA, serving as United States representatives in international competition in 2009. The National Selection Committee will choose four additional Junior Gold competitors, two males and two females, to join the 2009 team.

    In addition, the top two males and two females at the USBC Team USA Trials (dates and location to be determined) who are under age 20 as of Jan. 1, 2009 will earn automatic spots. The National Selection Committee will then select two males and two females from a pool of athletes who made match play at the Junior Gold Championships or who competed in the Team USA Trials.

    Qualifying competition for the male and female divisions consists of three six-game blocks over three days from July 7-9. After 18 games, the top 105 males and 57 females (including all ties) will advance to the semifinals.

    The semifinalists bowl 12 additional games on July 10 to determine the top 16 males and top 16 females who compete in the finals. The remaining bowlers compete in 16 games of match play with the top male and top female declared U.S. Junior Amateur champions.