HENDERSON, Nev. - Gary Faulkner of Memphis, Tenn., and Natalie Jimenez of Rowland Heights, Calif., won national titles Friday, claiming the top spots at the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships presented by Brunswick.
Both players rolled to their respective victories at Sunset Station's Strike Zone with little drama down the stretch. They came out on top against 1,648 USBC Youth bowlers who started the week.
Faulkner finished with a 46-game total of 10,241, including a 9-7 record in match play with 20 bonus pins for wins. Andrew Koff of Miami took second with 10,016 and a 12-4 record.
"It feels good to win it like this," said the 20-year-old Faulkner, who attends Webber International. "Even though I was pretty far ahead, I just wanted to keep pushing and make my spares. You never know when someone is going to sneak up behind you."
On the girls side, Jimenez had a 46-game score of 9,819, including a 11-4-1 record, to top second-place finisher Elise Bolton of Merritt Island, Fla., who finished with a 9-7 record and 9,651 pins.
"This is a huge experience and it hasn't sunk in yet," said the 19-year-old Jimenez, who bowls collegiately for Central Missouri. "Being ahead by a lot is good and bad. It's good because I don't have to shoot so high and bad because if I bowl bad, they are going to catch me."
The top four boys and top four girls in the final standings earned automatic spots on Junior Team USA 2012. Joining Faulkner and Koff on the boys side was third-place finisher Zack Hattori of Las Vegas, and fourth-place finisher and defending champion Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.
On the girls side, joining Jimenez and Bolton on Junior Team USA was third-place finisher Amanda Greene of Romney, W.Va., and fourth-place finisher Jessica Earnest of Vandalia, Ill..
The National Selection Committee picked Holly Harris of Long Prairie, Minn., Addileen Pointer of Highland, Mich., A.J. Chapman of Manchester, Iowa, and Tyler Vostry of Plainfield, Ill., to join Junior Team USA. The final roster for Junior Team USA 2012 will be determined at the 2012 USBC Team USA Trials in January, where spots for four girls and four boys will be up for grabs.
Earning the David Dahms Sportsmanship award at this year's Junior Gold was Amanda Fry of Antelope, Calif., and Nathan Ricks of Plantation, Fla.
The Las Vegas area is also hosting two other major youth bowling tournaments this month. The USBC Youth Open Championships at South Point continues through July 24.
In addition, the North Pointe $100,000 High School Singles Tournament will be held at Red Rock Lanes on Saturday and Sunday with the semifinals and finals broadcast live on BOWL.com on Sunday.
2011 USBC JUNIOR GOLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Sunset Station's Strike Zone, Henderson, Nev.
(Pos., name, hometown, match-play record, totals)
1, Gary Faulkner, Memphis, Tenn., 9-7-0, 10,241
2, Andrew Koff, Miami, 12-4-0, 10,016
3, Zack Hattori, Las Vegas, 8-8-0, 10,009
4, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 9-7-0, 10,002
5, Cameron Weier, Federal Way, Wash., 8-8-0, 9,984
6, Matthew Sanders, Evansville, Ind., 11-5-0, 9,958
7, A.J. Chapman, Manchester, Iowa, 9-7-0, 9,945
8, Kyle Anderson, Lockport, Ill., 8-8-0, 9,930
9, Tyler Vostry, Plainfield, Ill., 11-5-0, 9,909
10, Graham Fach, Guelph, Ontario, 9-7-0, 9,854
11, Jakob Butturff, Henderson, Nev., 10-6-0, 9,835
12, Wesley Low, Palmdale, Calif., 7-9-0, 9,637
13, Michael Coffey, Melbourne, Fla., 7-9-0, 9,579
14, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 2-14-0, 9,455
15, James Koss, Brighton, Mich., 4-12-0, 9,400
16, Jacob Kent, Newark, N.Y., 4-12-0, 9,378
1, Natalie Jimenez, Rowland Heights, Calif., 11-4-1, 9,819
2, Elise Bolton, Merritt Island, Fla., 9-7-0, 9,651
3, Amanda Greene, Romney, W.Va., 12-4-0, 9,617
4, Jessica Earnest, Vandalia, Ill., 8-8-0, 9,603
5, Emily Lynn Huddleston, Omaha, Neb., 7-8-1, 9,490
6, Holly Harris, Long Prairie, Minn., 5-11-0, 9,478
7, Addileen Pointer, Highland, Mich., 11-5-0, 9,410
8, Nicole Trudell, Coventry, R.I., 9-7-0, 9,405
9, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 7-9-0, 9,405
10, Amanda LaBossiere, Buzzards Bay, Mass., 8-8-0, 9,384
11, Olivia Wirtz, Battle Creek, Mich., 7-9-0, 9,321
12, Kaitlin Quinn, Livonia, N.Y., 7-9-0, 9,315
13, Melanie Hannon, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 8-8-0, 9,312
14, Kelsey Muther, Topeka, Kan., 6-10-0, 9,283
15, Andreya Teuber, Swartz Creek, Mich., 6-10-0, 9,122
16, Brandy Hensley, Corpus Christi, Texas, 6-10-0, 9,093