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Barnes, Hamilton win Team USA Trials titles

Lucas Wiseman
USBC Communications
Published: January 8, 2014 | Bowl.com
LAS VEGAS - Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, and Brittni Hamilton of Wood-Ridge, N.J., overcame a grueling format to claim the titles at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials.

Barnes blew away Mike Fagan of Hurst, Texas, 231-163, to take the men's title, while Hamilton narrowly edged Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, 205-196, to claim the women's championship Wednesday at The Orleans Bowling Center.
 
In addition to earning the titles, Barnes and Hamilton will now represent Team USA at the 50th QubicaAMF World Cup at a location and date later this year to be determined.

Barnes started with six consecutive strikes and blasted out to a big early lead to roll to the title. It was the first Team USA Trials victory in Barnes' career.

"It's nice to come out on top, and after all these years, I finally get to bowl the World Cup," said Barnes, who has won 16 Professional Bowlers Association titles. "Some of the best moments of my life have come on Team USA. It's a great feeling to be a part of this team and share victories with them."

The women's title match as much closer as Pluhowsky had a chance to shut out Hamilton and claim the title. Needing all three strikes in the 10th frame, the left-handed Pluhowsky left the 3-5-9 and chopped it. Only needing a mark to win, Hamilton converted the 10 pin in the final frame to take the title.

"It means so much to me to win that I can't even explain it," said Hamilton, a Vanderbilt graduate who has been on Team USA two previous times. "It really hasn't set in yet, but I'm really excited to represent Team USA at the World Cup and be a part of this team again."

In the semifinals, Fagan advanced in a thrilling match by defeating John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, N.Y., in a one-ball, sudden-death roll-off after tying at 258-258 in regulation. Szczerbinski stepped up first and left the 1-2-4-10 washout, and Fagan won the match with a strike. Hamilton defeated Sarah Lokker of New Baltimore, Mich., 226-215.

All of the players who advanced to the stepladder finals earned automatic spots on Team USA in 2014 by surviving a grueling five-day, 30-game format that awarded points based on the position they finished in each day.



The National Selection Committee also announced the remainder of the Team USA roster, which was made up of two men and two women based solely on their performance at the Team USA Trials and five men and five women who met eligibility requirements, submitted resumes for consideration and also based on Trials performance.

The men's selections based on resumes were Bill O'Neill, Tommy Jones, John Janawicz, AJ Johnson and Sean Rash, while Robert Gotchall and Marshall Kent were selected based on their Trials performance. Joining the women's team as selections from resumes were Shannon O'Keefe, Liz Johnson, Kelly Kulick, Missy Parkin and Stefanie Johnson, while Danielle McEwan and Holly Harris were picked based on Trials performance.

There were also four spots on Junior Team USA awarded Wednesday with the top two age-eligible finishers for the boys and girls earning automatic spots. The selection committee also added two boys and two girls.

Joining Junior Team USA were Darren Tang, Greg Young Jr., Tylor Greene and Ronnie Fujita on the boys side, while Stephanie Schwartz, Mary Wells, Amanda Fry and Makayla Douglas made it on the girls side.

For more information on the Team USA Trials, visit BOWL.com/TeamUSATrials.

2014 USBC TEAM USA TRIALS
At The Orleans Bowling Center, Las Vegas

STEPLADDER FINALS

MEN

Semifinal
Mike Fagan, Hurst, Texas, def. John Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 258-258 (10-6)

Championship
Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, def. Fagan, 231-163

WOMEN

Semifinal
Brittni Hamilton, Wood-Ridge, N.J., def. Sarah Lokker, New Baltimore, Mich., 226-215

Championship
Hamilton def. Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 205-196

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