of Wheaton, Minnesota, had a memorable debut at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, and he left the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, as the leader in Classified Doubles and Classified All-Events.
The 42-year-old right-hander (pictured above) rolled sets of 587 in singles, 586 in doubles and 540 in team to finish his first USBC Open Championships with a 1,713 all-events total. David Kettell of Lindenhurst, New York, previously held the lead with 1,661.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Hjelm, who bowls regularly at Shoreline Restaurant Bar and Bowl in Battle Lake, Minnesota. “I know there’s a lot of time left in the tournament, but it’s great. I just bowl to have fun. That’s what this sport is for me, but this was a great experience.”
In addition to his individual success, Hjelm teamed with Gary Sundby Jr. of Dalton, Minnesota, to take over the top spot in Classified Doubles with a 1,155 total March 24.
Sundby (right) contributed a 569 series to help them past Randy Robinson and Crystal Forkner, both of Higginsville, Missouri, who previously held the lead with 1,118.
Hjelm’s singles effort also got him into the top 10, and he’s now tied for seventh place in Classified Singles. Kettell (left) leads with 644.
The Classified Division is for doubles teams with combined entering averages of 360 or less and individual bowlers with averages of 180 and below.
Past champions make run at National Bowling Stadium
Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Oregon, and Bryon Smith of Roseburg, Oregon, both have had success in Reno, and that continued as they helped their team into second place at the 2016 USBC Open Championships.
Warren, who won the 1990 USBC Masters at the nearby Reno-Sparks Convention Center, rolled a 699 series March 28 at the National Bowling Stadium to lead Eagle Taxidermy of Vancouver, Washington, to games of 1,105, 1,023 and 1,027 for a 3,155 total.
Lucas Stone added a 636 set and was followed by Rob Edwards (626), Donnie Allen III (614) and Bryon Smith, the 2003 USBC Masters winner and a 2007 Regular Team champion, both at the NBS (580). Wickliffe Lanes of Mentor, Ohio (right), leads with 3,202.
Allen and Stone returned to the lanes March 29 and moved into fourth place in Regular Doubles with a 1,320 total, while Allen landed in sixth place in Regular All-Events with 2,003. The group also moved into fifth place in Team All-Events with a 9,254 total.
A look ahead
Three bowlers will reach milestones at the USBC Open Championships this week, while the National Bowling Stadium welcomes the first defending Regular Division champions of the year.
Ed Gagnon of Swansea, Massachusetts, will become the third bowler of the 2016 event to celebrate 50 years of tournament participation when he marches down Center Aisle on March 30 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Jody Bass of Beavercreek, Ohio, will join Gagnon in the 50-Year Club on March 31, and James Grzesiak of Saginaw, Michigan, will add his name to the list April 5.
On April 2-3, the members of Junior Team USA Support 1 (pictured right) will be in Reno looking to win their third Team All-Events title in four years and become the first team since 1998 to successfully defend the title.
The group’s doubles and singles events will be broadcast live on BowlTV on April 3 at noon Eastern.
Team member Anthony LaCaze (left) of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, is hoping to make history individually by becoming the first bowler in 113 years of Open Championships competition to win titles in four consecutive years.
LaCaze helped Junior Team USA Support 1 to Team All-Events wins in 2013 and 2015and claimed the Regular All-Events crown in 2014.
For more information on the Open Championships, click here.
Ohio bowler Jack Glick celebrates 50 years
Sylvester Thiel ties participation record with 71st appearance
Ohio teammates lead every event at USBC Open Championships
2016 USBC Open Championships gets going in Reno
2016 USBC Open Championships – Regular Division
Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfall
1, Wickliffe Lanes (Jason Bowles, Larry Strell, Matthew Zitnik, Robert A. Bures, Robert J. Bures), Mentor, Ohio, 3,202. 2, Eagle Taxidermy, Vancouver, Wash., 3,155. 3, Towne & Country Lanes 1, Hartland, Wis., 3,135. 4, 5 ICT Bowlers, Johnston, Iowa, 3,128. 5, ND Roto Grip, Mandan, N.D., 3,072. 6, Bud Light, Sheboygan, Wis., 3,039. 7, SP’s Strikers, Reno, Nev., 3,036. 8, Storm Products 2, Brigham City, Utah, 3,028. 9, Last Chance, Shermansdale, Pa., 3,001. 10, Kruse’s Pro Shop, Fargo, N.D., 2,991.
1, Matthew Zitnik, Mayfield Heights, Ohio/Jason Bowles, Euclid, Ohio, 1,341. 2, Kevin Tatrow, Bel Aire, Kan./Will Barnes, Austin, Texas, 1,335. 3, Scott Honeysett/Michael Bradfield, Lansing, Mich., 1,334. 4, Donnie Allen III, Vancouver, Wash./Lucas Stone, Beaverton, Ore., 1,320. 5, Dan Peters/Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,306. 6, Robert Milbrath, Hartland, Wis./Tim Ruelle, Racine, Wis., 1,268. 7, Steve Krabbenhoft, Moorhead, Minn./Kenneth Cummings, West Fargo, N.D., 1,258. 8, Damon Zane, Las Vegas/Bryan Knew, Henderson, Nev., 1,257. 9, Robert A. Bures, Mentor, Ohio/Robert J. Bures, Painesville, Ohio, 1,255. 10, Donald Veltman, Howard City, Mich./Ryan Mouw, Muskegon, Mich., 1,254.
1, Robert J. Bures, Painesville, Ohio, 815. 2, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 785. 3, Will Barnes, Austin, Texas, 764. 4, Tyler Wilds, Three Rivers, Mich., 759. 5, Jerry Rapp, Grand Island, Neb., 744. 6, Jerad Schmitt, Fargo, N.D., 729. 7(tie), Carl Garris, Washingtonville, N.Y., and Clifford Wheelock Jr., Chicopee, Mass., 709. 9, Mark Abraham, Lansing, Mich., 706. 10, Ryan Utterback, Clinton, Ill., 704.
1, Robert J. Bures, Painesville, Ohio, 2,122. 2, Matt Smallin, Glenburn, N.D., 2,060. 3, Jason Bowles, Euclid, Ohio, 2,042. 4, Will Barnes, Austin, Texas, 2,023. 5, Tyler Wilds, Three Rivers, Mich., 2,021. 6, Donnie Allen III, Vancouver, Wash., 2,003. 7, Michael Runk, New Cumberland, Pa., 1,996. 8, Robert Milbrath, Hartland, Wis., 1,959. 9, Eric Parvey, Fargo, N.D., 1,935. 10, Jerry Riemer, Burlington, Wis., 1,933.
1, Wickliffe Lanes (Jason Bowles, Larry Strell, Matthew Zitnik, Robert A. Bures, Robert J. Bures), Mentor, Ohio, 9,598. 2, 5 ICT Bowlers, Johnston, Iowa, 9,488. 3, ND Roto Grip, Mandan, N.D., 9,461. 4, Towne & Country Lanes 1, Hartland, Wis., 9,330. 5, Eagle Taxidermy, Vancouver, Wash., 9,254. 6, A & J Bowling Suppliers, Three Rivers, Mich., 9,246. 7, Storm Products 2, Brigham City, Utah, 9,175. 8, Kruse’s Pro Shop, Fargo, N.D., 9,136. 9, It’s Raining Men, Byron Center, Mich., 9,103. 10, Storm Troopers, Dimondale, Mich., 9,037.
2016 USBC Open Championships – Classified Division
Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfall
1, T-Rays (Jim Ryan, Kevin O’Meara, Michael Kvislen, Terry Wibstad, Terry Gruchalla), Jamestown, N.D., 2,607. 2, Plato Woodwork 1, Gaylord, Minn., 2,531. 3, Malad Gun Club, Malad City, Idaho, 2,529. 4, Beloit Bombers, Beloit, Kan., 2,511. 5, Oakridge Farms, Frazee, Minn., 2,509. 6, Burnside Lobster Farms, New Effington, S.D., 2,503. 7, Rails Bar and Grill, Eagle Grove, Iowa, 2,499. 8, Shoreline Shredders, Battle Lake, Minn., 2,491. 9, Russell Ho Ohana 2, Honolulu, 2,483. 10, Lucky Strikes, Cleveland, Tenn., 2,464.
1, David Hjelm, Wheaton, Minn./Gary Sundby Jr., Dalton, Minn., 1,155. 2, Eric Douglass, Goldfield, Iowa/Mike Thielen, Eagle Grove, Iowa, 1,147. 3, Randy Robinson/Crystal Forkner, Higginsville, Mo., 1,118. 4, Kathy Yourkavitch/Jerome Jackson, Kutztown, Penn., 1,117. 5, Mandy Quaas, Hutchinson, Minn./Jeremy Quaas, New Hope, Minn., 1,111. 6, Chris Witthus/Robert Kaytor, Glencoe, Minn., 1,096. 7, Dee Maccario, Farmington, Conn./Mark Baranski, Newington, Conn., 1,094. 8, Christopher Petrie, Joshua Tree, Calif./Keith Petrie, Long Prairie, Minn., 1, 091. 9, Karl Trampusch, Long Prairie, Minn./Darren Horton, Wadena, Minn., 1,088. 10, Pamela Johnson Auburn, Wash./Christopher Rogers, Spanaway, Wash., 1,086.
1, David Kettell, Lindenhurst, N.Y., 644. 2, Allan Johnson, Hawley, Minn., 627. 3, Troy Schultz, Clarion, Iowa, 602. 4, Greg Kokanour, Highland, Calif., 595. 5, Roger Porto, Kerman, Calif., 590. 6, Maniram Basdeo, Bronx, N.Y., 588. 7(tie) David Hjelm, Wheaton, Minn., and Wayne Sakai, Lodi, Calif., 587. 9, Christopher Petrie, Joshua Tree, Calif., 585. 10, Michael Raburn, Cleveland, Tenn., 578.
1, David Hjelm, Wheaton, Minn., 1,713. 2, Eric Douglass, Goldfield, Iowa, 1,671. 3, David Kettell, Lindenhurst, N.Y., 1,661. 4, Michael Booker, Eagle Bend, Minn., 1,657. 5, Gary Sundby Jr., Dalton, Minn., 1,653. 6, Roger Porto, Kerman, Calif., 1,634. 7, Troy Schultz, Clarion, Iowa, 1,631. 8, Greg Mickelson, Frazee, Minn., 1,627. 9, Greg Kokanour, Highland, Calif., 1,612. 10, Michael Raburn, Cleveland, Tenn., 1,607.