Lee Owen: Country’s best youth roll off in New York

By Lee Owen

The Daily Advance

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With tournament season in full swing, the youth bowlers also got in on the action this week in Buffalo, New York.

One of the most prestigious events of the year, the annual Junior Gold National Championships, brings some of the country’s best youth bowlers together for one week to mingle, make new friends and then destroy those friends on the lanes.

With the fear that competitive bowling is on the decline and in danger of falling out of the spotlight forever, it is nice to see that the next generation of bowlers are prepared to revive that spirit and bring bowling back.

Almost 2,500 youth bowlers, under the age of 21, took to the lanes in three different houses on three different sport patterns, to determine who is the best of the best.

The format is simple; with ample opportunity to move on after qualifying, all that has to be accomplished is putting together 15 good games over three days, five on each pattern.

After these games are bowled, the cut moves on to advancers round play and then an addition cut is made to move on to match play bracket-style competition.

The largest group, the Under-20 boys, had an astonishing 1,095 bowlers competing for the title, with 158 making the first cut, with 86 making the first cut for the Under-20 girls, 50 for the Under-15 boys, and 30 for the Under-15 girls.

New to the tournament this year is the under-12 group. There has been so much interest in a younger group in years’ past that this year they were included. Some 204 total bowlers under the age of 12 showed up, with 18 boys and 12 girls making the cut.

When the smoke had settled on the week, champions had been crowned in all divisions.

After all fifteen game of qualifying had concluded, for the Under-20 boys, 158th place made the cut with a 189 average, while top seed, and eventual champion, Taylor Greene, averaged 220.

Breanna Clemmer, who won the Under-15 girls two years ago, took first place in the Under-20 girls this year, staking her claim as one of a few repeat winners in the history of the tournament.

This year, more than $200,000 in scholarship money was awarded to the record field, with even more expected for next year’s event.

This is just one more reason why youth bowling is a great sport for kids to get involved in and work to become better at, with these opportunities every year. Scholarship money can be earned at any age, and is stored in an account until the youth bowler begins college.