The Junior Team USA boys and girls squads both advanced to the medal round of the coveted four-player team event Saturday at the 2012 World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships in Bangkok, Thailand.
The top four teams in each division after six qualifying games advanced to the semifinals, which will take place Sunday at 4 a.m. Eastern. The Junior Team USA girls qualified fourth and will take on Korea in the semis, while the U.S. boys were also fourth and will battle Sweden.
"Going into today I knew I was in contention for the all-events and knew I needed a few big games to stay up there," said Kent, who had games of 194, 244 and 215 in Saturday's final three games of team event. "After the first game, I was trying to get my head cleared and make good shots. The last game I knew I needed a pretty big game, but unfortunately I didn't get enough. I'm still coming home with the silver medal, so I guess I can't really complain."
Also decided Saturday was the all-events race with Junior Team USA's Marshall Kent taking the silver medal with an 18-game total of 3,951 (219.5 average). Australia's Sam Cooley edged out Kent by nine pins for the gold.
Fueled by a big final game of 848, which included a 244 game by Jessica Earnest, the Junior Team USA girls turned what was a close race for the last spot in the semis into a wide margin. They finished with a six-game total of 4,790.
Kelsey Muther led the Americans with an individual team total of 1,252 and was followed by Earnest (1,198), Danielle McEwan (1,175) and Amanda Greene (1,165). While Junior Team USA will take on top seed Korea in the semis, Singapore and England will battle in the other semifinal.
"We said at the beginning of the week this was the one we really wanted to give ourselves the chance to win and now we have the opportunity," Earnest said. "We are bowling Korea, but in reality we are just bowling the lanes. We can't control what they do, they are a good team, but we have a really good look on the long pattern."
In the boys team qualifying, the United States barely escaped with the final spot in the medal round. They finished with 4,913 and topped Korea by just eight pins for the last spot.
Kent led the way for Junior Team USA with 1,350 and was followed by Chris Via (1,225), Andrew Koff (1,201) and Zack Hattori (1,137). They face top seed Sweden in the semis, which led the qualifying field by 418 pins. Germany will take on Singapore in the other semifinal.
"I feel like our shot execution wasn't exactly the best today, we got out of our rhythm pretty quick," Kent said. "But we did manage to stay with the moves and stay in the right zone, and that's what kept us in the game. In the end, we made the key shots when we needed them."
The top 24 players in the all-events standings advanced to the Masters match-play portion of the World Youth Championships.
All four Junior Team USA girls made the cut with Earnest leading the way in 10th place with an 18-game total of 3,638. McEwan finished 11th with 3,621, while Greene and Muther tied for 20th with 3,557.
The girls all-events gold medal went to Korea's Hwang Yeon-Ju with 3,871 (215 average). Singapore's New Hui Fen took the silver, while Korea's Kim Seon-Jeong earned bronze.
In addition to Kent, Via also advanced to the Masters by finishing all-events in 16th place with 3,768. Koff ended his tournament in 33rd place with 3,658, while Hattori was 72nd with 3,525.
For more information on the 2012 World Youth Championships, visit WorldYouth2012.com.