If bowling were to have a seat at their table, there’s no doubt that Shannon O’Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, has the resume and following to fill the role.
The 14-time Team USA member has enjoyed on-lane success at bowling centers across The Entertainment Capital of the World, and she officially solidified her place as Nevada royalty when she won the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Queens in nearby Reno, Nevada.
Now, O’Keefe (right) is looking to add to her list of accomplishments at the upcoming QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, which will be held at Las Vegas’ Sam’s Town Bowling Center from Nov. 5-10. Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, North Carolina, will represent the United States on the men’s side.
This year’s QubicaAMF World Cup is the 54th edition of the prestigious event and will feature bowlers from more than 80 countries. The event will be streamed live on BowlTV (YouTube.com/BowlTV).
“The World Cup trophy is iconic in our sport like the NCAA trophy is to our college team, and seeing my Team USA teammates hold up the World Cup in the past really inspired me,” said O’Keefe, the head women’s bowling coach at McKendree University. “The possibility of being able to do that, too, would be such an amazingly proud moment.”
The 39-year-old right-hander’s time in Las Vegas has yielded eight medals in international competition, including three world championships, two titles at the 2016 USBC Women’s Championships and two wins at the USBC Team USA Trials.
It was her victory at the 2018 Team USA Trials that earned her a spot at this year’s World Cup, an opportunity she did not have when she won the Team Trials for the first time in 2008.
She was especially disappointed because she’d just gotten to experience the 2007 World Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia, through her role at the time with World Bowling, and she was enamored by the history and prestige.
“When things changed, and winning the Team USA Trials again included qualifying for the World Cup, that really pushed me to want to win, along with earning a spot on Team USA, of course,” O’Keefe said.
“The World Cup has representatives from more places than any other tournament, and I’m very excited to meet players from so many countries. QubicaAMF also is an incredible sponsor for the (Professional Women’s Bowling Association), so that connection is appreciated, too. It’s almost hard to put it all into words.”
O’Keefe will make the trip to Las Vegas straight from Houston, where the McKendree Bearcats will be competing in the TRACK Kat Klash.
Though she’ll be wearing her coaching hat, instead of her bowling shoes for a few days, she expects that reading ball reaction and keeping the team members lined up during the tournament will help keep her sharp and prepared for the World Cup.
Physically, O’Keefe is at the top of her game, following a PWBA season that ended in September with PWBA Player of the Year honors and was followed by a three-medal week at the Pan American Bowling Confederation Women’s Championships in the Dominican Republic.
Troup (left) heads to Sam’s Town at the end of a successful Professional Bowlers Association Tour season that included 13 cashes in 18 events and his third career PBA Tour title at the Lucky Larsen Masters in Malmö. Sweden, in August.
The 27-year-old two-hander also is looking for some redemption, however, after a disappointing 80th-place finish at this week’s 144-player U.S. Open in Wichita, Kansas.
“Overall, this has been one of the best years I’ve had on Tour, plus starting off the year with a win at the Team USA Trials was awesome, too,” said Troup, a first-time Team USA member also selected as part of the six-player contingent headed to the World Bowling Men’s Championships in Hong Kong in November.
“Tulsa (FloBowling PBA Fall Swing) and the U.S. Open didn’t go how I’d hoped, but I’ve been practicing every day to fix anything in my game that didn’t look quite right. I’ve been very focused on staying competitive, even during practice, and I am excited to be able to represent Team USA at the World Cup.”
At the 2017 QubicaAMF World Cup in Hermosillo, Mexico, Jakob Butturff (pictured right with women’s champion Tabora) of Chandler, Arizona, took home the men’s title, a memorable run fueled by his own disappointment at the U.S. Open, where he finished second after leading the field by more than 600 pins through 56 games.
The women’s title went to Krizziah Lyn Tabora, who was the first woman from the Philippines to win the event since her country claimed back-to-back women’s titles in 1978 and 1979. Butturff and Tabora will not be in attendance in 2018.
The last time the World Cup was held in the United States, also at Sam’s Town, was in 2015, and the titles went to Colombia’s Clara Guerrero and Wu Siu Hong of Hong Kong (pictured left). Neither will compete in 2018.
The field this year will include a few past winners – Aumi Guerra of the Dominican Republic (2010, 2011), Osku Palermaa of Finland (2006) and Mel Oates of Wales (2000).
The World Cup first was contested in 1965, and the tournament now is considered one of the sport’s most prestigious singles titles. It also is recognized as the largest event in the sport in terms of number of countries competing.
Competitors this year will bowl 24 games over three days, beginning Tuesday, and the field then will be cut to the top 24 men and top 24 women for eight additional games. After 32 games, total pinfall will determine the eight bowlers in each division for eight games of round-robin match play.
The top four men and top four women after 40 games, including bonus pins, will advance to the knockout-style semifinals Nov. 10, where the No. 1 seed will face the No. 4 qualifier and No. 2 and No. 3 will meet. The winners of each match will earn a spot in the championship game.
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