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HENDERSON, Nev. - Scott Boyle of Salida, Calif., and Shannon Pluhowsky of Kettering, Ohio, pulled away for victories Friday at the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials.
Boyle led the men's field with a 36-game total of 8,180, an average of 227.2, while Pluhowsky shot 7,933, an average of 220.3, at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center in suburban Las Vegas.
There wasn't much drama in either of the two left-handers victories. Boyle won by a 150-pin margin over Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., while Pluhowsky topped Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., by 103 pins.
"This means the world to me because everything I have ever worked for - all the hard work and practice - have finally paid off," said the 19-year-old Boyle, who attends Modesto Community College. "I was able to get off to a good start today and just stayed mentally focused. This is surreal."
Boyle lurked near the top of the standings all week but had trailed Mike Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y., who led each of the first three rounds. Boyle finally pulled into the lead by shooting 2,064 on the 38-foot Atlanta lane pattern Friday.
Pluhowsky, meanwhile, had the highest total in Friday's final round, finishing with 2,019 to jump into the lead and take home the title.
"This week was really a chance for me to learn a lot about the new equipment I'm throwing and to get some practice on the patterns that we see throughout the year at Team USA events," Pluhowsky said. "I felt like everything was pretty good physically, and every day I got a little better."
The top three men and top three women in the final standings who were not already selected to be on Team USA earned automatic spots on the 2011 Team USA roster. Williams, Pluhowsky and Johnson all were selected in November, so they were not eligible for the automatic spots.
Joining Boyle on the men's team was third-place finisher EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., and Fagan, who finished fourth. On the women's side, Brenda Padilla of Mansfield, Texas, Brittni Hamilton of Webster, N.Y., and Kim Yioulos of Rochester, N.Y., all earned the automatic spots by finishing third through fifth, respectively.
The National Selection Committee picked Diandra Asbaty of Chicago, Bryanna Caldwell of Tucson, Ariz., Jarret Mizo of Honolulu and Steve Smith of San Diego to round out the final roster for Team USA in 2011.
Heading into the Team USA Trials, 13 players had already secured spots by virtue of their selection in November. Williams, Chris Barnes, Wes Malott, Tommy Jones, Patrick Allen and Bill O'Neill make up the remainder of the men's team. On the women's side, Stefanie Nation, Shannon O'Keefe, Pluhowsky, Johnson, Kelly Kulick, Tennelle Milligan and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard were selected.
The top two boys and top two girls finishers who are 20 years or younger before Jan. 1, 2011 also earned automatic spots on Junior Team USA. Boyle, Tackett and Yioulos all earned spots on both Team USA and Junior Team USA. Elise Bolton of Merritt Island, Fla., took the second girls spot.
The National Selection Committee polished off the Junior Team USA 2011 roster by adding Tyler Herrman of Harrisburg, Pa., TJ Baral of Palm City, Fla., Samantha Kelly of Hoffman Estates, Ill., and Jessica Earnest of Vandalia, Ill., to the team.
At the USBC Junior Gold Championships in Indianapolis last July, 12 players earned spots on Junior Team USA. The boys group includes Marshall Kent, Matt Gasn, Chris Via, Jacob Kent, Kyle King and Andrew Koff, while the girls team includes Hamilton, Addileen Pointer, Kristie Petravich, Kaitlin Quinn, Danielle McEwan and Liz Seibel.
Members of Team USA and Junior Team USA will compete in international competitions through 2011, including the World Women's Championships, Pan American Bowling Confederation Men's Championships, the Pan American Games, QubicaAMF World Cup, PABCON Youth Championships and Tournament of Americas.
The members of the team also receive world-class coaching and use of the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas. The top two finishers at the Team USA Trials also have the option to receive free health insurance from the United States Olympic Committee for 2011.
2011 USBC TEAM USA TRIALS
At Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center, Henderson, Nev.
(Top 5; 36 games)
1, Scott Boyle, Salida, Calif., 8,180. 2, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 8,030. 3, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 7,988. 4, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 7,954. 5, Jarret Mizo, Honolulu, 7,930.
1, Shannon Pluhowsky, Kettering, Ohio, 7,933. 2, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 7,830. 3, Brenda Padilla, Mansfield, Texas, 7,778. 4, Brittni Hamilton, Webster, N.Y., 7,739. 5, Kim Yioulos, Rochester, N.Y., 7,658.