With the growth of the Junior Gold Championships presented by Storm, Roto Grip and Master, and the addition of the Under-15 Developmental Team, the Team USA bowling program continues to evolve as a training ground for some of the world’s best competitors.
When Team USA hits the lanes at Bolera Departamental in Cali, Colombia, for the 2016 Pan American Bowling Confederation Adult Championships from Sept. 12-23, 10 of the 12 players will boast both Junior Team USA and Team USA experience.
The group includes newcomer Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, who is a member of both teams this year.
Simonsen represented the United States for the first time this week at the 2016 World Bowling Youth Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska, and brought home three gold medals in doubles, team and masters (pictured right). He knows the experience will be invaluable for his debut with the adult team.
“Getting the experience of bowling with the team at the World Youth definitely will help me get comfortable with this type of environment and be great preparation for Colombia,” said Simonsen, who won the United States Bowling Congress Masters in February to become the youngest bowler in history to win a major title on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour at 19 years and 39 days old.
“I am very excited and proud to not only be on the team, but also to have the opportunity to represent my country on the lanes.”
Joining Simonsen on the men’s squad for the PABCON Adult Championships will be – Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, Ronnie Russell of Marion, Indiana, John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, New York, AJ Chapman of Manchester, Iowa, and longtime Team USA member Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois.
The Team USA women will be represented by veterans Shannon O’Keefe of O’Fallon, Illinois, and Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, Josie Earnest of Nashville, Tennessee, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, and Bryanna Cote of Red Rock, Arizona.
Team USA head coach Rod Ross (left) is especially proud of the depth and versatility of Team USA this year, and the inclusion and nurturing of young players like Simonsen will help maintain those things beyond 2016.
“We’re not only looking to succeed in the many international events this year, we’re also looking ahead to 2017, which is a world-championship year for both the men and the women, and even beyond that,” Ross said. “We’re getting the chance to develop some younger players and have them learn from the experienced ones. It’s a great mix, and I’m really impressed with the depth of our rosters.”
The last 12 months have been a whirlwind for Simonsen, who was a Regular Doubles champion at the 2015 USBC Open Championships and claimed his first PBA Tour title at the 2016 Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship, before hoisting the Masters trophy.
Already a member of Junior Team USA due to his performance at the 2016 USBC Team USA Trials, Simonsen’s continued success, composure and maturity earned him an invitation to the adult team in March.
“If you would’ve told me a year ago this is how my year would’ve gone, I wouldn’t have believed you until I saw it,” Simonsen said.
“Even now, I don’t think it all has sunk in. A lot of amazing things have happened, and I definitely have the confidence going into PABCON. I feel mentally strong and know I can compete alongside these guys, but I’m still looking forward to new experiences and the chance to learn even more.”
Team USA has been dominant at past PABCON events, winning 258 total medals, 150 more than Mexico, which is second on the medal table with 108. Recent events include the 2015 PABCON Men’s Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2014 PABCON Women’s Championships in Cali and the 2012 combined PABCON Adult Championships in Las Vegas.
Competitors in 2016 will bowl for medals in six disciplines – singles, doubles, trios, team, all-events and masters at the 20-lane Bolera Departamental. The men will compete from Sept. 12-17, and the women will be on the lanes Sept. 19-23.
Click here for more information on the Team USA program.