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Preparation key for Michigan bowler at 2014 USBC Open

Matt Cannizzaro and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications
Published: May 24, 2014 | Bowl.com
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RENO, Nev. - Preparation and taking advantage of available resources were the keys to success for Nick Kokenos of St. Clair Shores, Mich., who rolled the 25th perfect game of the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

The 27-year-old right-hander kicked off his singles set at the National Bowling Stadium on Friday with 12 consecutive strikes and added games of 225 and 248 for a 773 series, which is just outside the top 10 in Regular Singles. Louis Jenkins Jr. of Warr Acres, Okla., leads with 826.

Kokenos' hard work and dedication helped him earn a spot on the tournament lanes alongside three past USBC Open Championships titlists - Bo Goergen, Dale Hofmeister Jr. and Derwin Pitre - and he credits their wisdom and experience in helping him find success at the NBS in 2014.

"I am very lucky to be on a really good team with some really good guys, who made decision making much easier," said Kokenos, who owns one Professional Bowlers Association regional title. "They kept me relaxed, informed on the moves and helped with ball selections. I don't think I would have been able to do it without those guys."

After games of 177 and 209 to start his doubles competition Friday, Kokenos made a ball change at the urging of his teammates and finished his set with 276 for a 662 series.

"I had been bowling well at the Bowlers Journal with that ball and was hoping I could go to it," said Kokenos, who finished his second Open Championships appearance with 679 in team for a 2,114 all-events total. "I had tried it earlier, and it wasn't the right ball. I had a fill shot at the end of the second game and went to grab a ball out of my bag, and Derwin said it was time to go to that one."

Kokenos also received some insight from a friend, Matthew Anderson of Las Vegas, who rolled a 300 game at the NBS earlier in the day during the afternoon team event.

"I was bowling the Bowlers Journal and heard the big roar, but I didn't know who it was," Kokenos said. "He came by after and kept telling me how nervous he was on the last shot. I was joking with him saying I'd let him know how it feels later. I didn't know how it would feel until I got there, but I was super nervous. I just made sure to take my time, relax and hoped to get the ball off my hand cleanly."

Kokenos relied on several sessions at the Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC to fine tune his game plan for minors. The Bowlers Journal Championships features the same 40-foot Sport-certified pattern used in doubles and singles at the Open Championships.

Kokenos made a run at the top of the leaderboard in that event and is tied for sixth in Open Singles and in the Dual Entry standings with 762.

"I camped out there," Kokenos said. "I actually had a run at that and fell a little short, but being in that situation helped me when I came over here. It really helped prepare me for this, and I'm glad I bowled a couple of sets."

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