HENDERSON, Nev. – After waiting anxiously last year to see if he would be one of the selections to join Team USA, Derek Eoff of Greenfield, Wis., was determined to avoid that situation again this year.
Eoff jumped from fourth place to first in the last game of the 2008 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials on Friday, claiming the title with a 36-game pinfall of 7,997 (222.14 average) and securing a spot on Team USA for the second consecutive year. Shannon O’Keefe of Brookfield, Wis., came out on top in the women’s division with 7,730 (214.72 average) at Sunset Station’s Strike Zone Bowling Center.
“Winning this tournament is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s definitely nice to earn my spot on the team instead of waiting around to see if I’m selected,” said Eoff, who tied a tournament record with five out of a possible six medals in his Team USA debut at the 2007 Men's American Zone Championships in Guatemala. “The field was tough and it’s nice to know that I made most of the right moves and adjustments this week on four very demanding lane patterns.”
O’Keefe decided to compete in this year’s event despite already securing a spot on Team USA in 2008 by virtue of her selection at last year’s Team USA Trials.
“Even though I already earned my spot on Team USA, I think anytime you come out and perform well and walk away with a win it means something,” said O’Keefe, who won the singles gold medal at the 2007 Women’s World Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. “To start off the year on the right foot gives me a lot of confidence heading into the rest of the year.”
The top two men and top two women who were not already members of Team USA in 2008 earned automatic spots on Team USA.
Since O’Keefe finished first, Tina Stickney of Goodyear, Ariz., and Stefanie Nation of Orlando, Fla., who finished second and third respectively, earned automatic spots on the team. Stickney earned a spot on Team USA for the second straight year while Nation made it for the fourth consecutive time.
The men’s division had a bit more drama as John Janawicz of Winter Haven, Fla., and Nathan Bohr of Wichita, Kan., tied for second place after 36 games with 7,988. In the one-game roll-off, Janawicz defeated Bohr, 231-210, to earn a second consecutive year on Team USA.
Even though Bohr lost in the roll-off for the automatic spot, the National Selection Committee selected him and three others to join Team USA. Del Ballard Jr. of North Richland Hills, Texas, Tish Johnson of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Brenda Viator of Lake Wales, Fla., were also selected.
The additions to Team USA round out the team for 2008, bringing the final total to 15 women and 14 men.
The men’s team includes Denny’s PBA Tour stars Walter Ray Williams Jr., Chris Barnes, Tommy Jones, Parker Bohn III, Patrick Allen and Sean Rash as well as four players who earned spots at last year’s Team USA Trials (David O’Sullivan, Bill Hoffman, Rhino Page and David Haynes).
The women’s team includes Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Wendy Macpherson, Liz Johnson, Kelly Kulick, Kim Terrell, Diandra Asbaty and Missy Bellinder as well as four players who earned spots at last year’s Team USA Trials (Lynda Barnes, O’Keefe, Tennelle Milligan and Shannon Pluhowsky).
2008 USBC TEAM USA TRIALS
At Strike Zone Bowling Center, Sunset Station, Henderson, Nev.
1, Shannon O’Keefe, Brookfield, Wis., 7,730. 2, Tina Stickney, Goodyear, Ariz., 7,675. 3, Stefanie Nation, Orlando, Fla., 7,605. 4, Tish Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo., 7,448. 5, Brenda Viator, Lake Wales, Fla., 7,435. 6, Crystal Schoneman, Orlando, Fla., 7,340. 7, Ashly Galante, Palm Harbor, Fla., 7,338. 8 (tie), Anne Marie Duggan, Edmond, Okla., and Olivia Sandham, Wichita, Kan., 7,300. 10, Adrienne Miller, Lincoln, Neb., 7,261.
1, Derek Eoff, Greenfield, Wis., 7,997. 2 (tie), John Janawicz, Winter Haven, Fla., and Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 7,988. 4, Del Ballard Jr., North Richland Hills, Texas, 7,965. 5, Vince Biondo, Carpentersville, Ill., 7,915. 6, J.R. Raymond, Lebanon, Mich., 7,830. 7, Tim Pfeifer, Cranberry Township, Pa., 7,801. 8, Cassidy Schaub, Polk, Ohio, 7,773. 9, John Szczerbinski, Wichita, Kan., 7,731. 10, Mark Siders, Westerville, Ohio, 7,685.