For the first time in the history of the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships, the Junior Team USA boys and girls swept the gold medals in the team event Sunday in Bangkok, Thailand.
Entering the medal round as the fourth seed in both divisions, the United States took down Singapore in both gold-medal matches to claim the world titles. The U.S. boys claimed the championship with an 889-807 win, while the U.S. girls won 850-799.
The victories Sunday makes the United States the reigning world champions in the team event for men, women, boys and girls for the first time. The men won their gold medal in 2010 in Munich, Germany, while the women earned their gold medal in 2011 in Hong Kong.
In the boys gold-medal match, Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, led Junior Team USA with a 237 game. Andrew Koff of Miami added 230, Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., shot 212 and Zack Hattori of Las Vegas fired 210.
The victory gave the Junior Team USA boys program its first win in the team event since 2000 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
"Coming in here with this team, we knew we had a good shot to bring home any medal, and once we snuck in in fourth place, we knew we could make a run," Via said. "Bringing home the gold is an incredible feeling, especially in the team event. This is the one event we wanted most. It's a dream come true."
Kent has now medaled in every event at this year's World Youth Championships with just the Masters match play remaining. He took the gold in singles, silver in doubles with Koff and the silver medal in all-events.
"Gold in singles was pretty sweet, but I'll tell you what, gold in team was much better because I get to share this with three other guys," said Kent, who averaged 219.5 to earn the silver in all-events, which was decided Saturday. "We are going to remember this our entire lives, especially climbing from fourth."
The Junior Team USA girls, who won the team gold for the first time since 2004 in Guam, were led in the gold-medal match by Jessica Earnest of Vandalia, Ill., with 217. Amanda Greene of Romney, W.Va., shot 215, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., had 212 and Kelsey Muther of Topeka, Kan., fired 206.
"I think even just being picked to represent Junior Team USA here was a big accomplishment," Earnest said. "We went out and we won team gold and that was our goal from the beginning of the week. And we came out and did it together."
In the semifinals, both U.S. teams had to take down the top seeds in their opening matches. The Junior Team USA girls defeated two-time defending champions Korea, 924-846, while the boys took down Sweden, 860-822.
The action at the World Youth Championships now shifts to the Masters match play, which features the top 24 boys and top 24 girls in the all-events standings. All four Junior Team USA girls made the cut, while Kent and Via advanced on the boys side.
For more information on the 2012 World Youth Championships, visit WorldYouth2012.com.