HENDERSON, Nev. - With qualifying wrapping up Wednesday at the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships presented by Brunswick, the pressure was on for players to make the first cut into the semifinals.
One of the players outside of the cut number coming into the day was Team USA and Junior Team USA member Scott Boyle of Salida, Calif. Boyle entered the final round of qualifying in 181st place. The top 144 (plus ties) make the cut in the boys division, while the top 72 (plus ties) advance for the girls.
Boyle made his move Wednesday, shooting 1,290 for six games at Sunset Station's Strike Zone to put himself in comfortable position to make the cut. He has an 18-game total of 3,591, an average of 199.5.
"There's a lot of pressure being on Team USA to bowl well and make the cut," said Boyle, a left-hander who won the 2011 USBC Team USA Trials at Sunset Station in January. "I was a little worried coming into the block today, but it felt nice to pull out some good games and make good shots."
With Thursday's semifinals taking place at Sunset Station, Boyle said his success Wednesday and back in January gives him confidence.
"There's some work to be done, but I feel good about it because my ball shape looks pretty good here," Boyle said. "Having success at the Trials and today really puts me in a good mindset for tomorrow."
Another bowler who was outside of the cut coming into the day was Cory Misura of Largo, Fla. In fact, Misura was outside of the number going into the final game. He managed to put together 11 consecutive strikes in Game 18 before leaving a 4 pin for a 299 game.
Misura, 19, who attends Webber International, finished qualifying with an 18-game total of 3,562, an average of 197.8.
"I knew my back was against the wall the last two games so I just had to get comfortable," said Misura, who finished Game 17 with five consecutive strikes. "Last year I qualified 66th, and the first two days this week I had a little rhythm problem but I think that's sorted out now."
All bowlers in the field will roll 18 qualifying games, concluding Wednesday, before the field is cut to the top 144 boys and 72 girls (all ties advance) for Thursday's semifinals. The top 16 boys and top 16 girls will advance to Friday's match-play finals. The semifinals and finals will be broadcast live on BOWL.com.
In addition to national titles and scholarships, the Junior Gold Championships awards spots on Junior Team USA. The top four male and top four female finishers after match-play competition will automatically qualify for Junior Team USA 2012, and the National Selection Committee will award four at-large spots - two male, two female - from the pool of athletes that make match-play finals.
USBC Youth members who meet the average requirement (175 or higher for boys, 150 or higher for girls) can join the Junior Gold program and are then eligible to qualify for the USBC Junior Gold Championships. Visit BOWL.com/juniorgold for more information on the Junior Gold Championships and the Junior Gold program.