Team USA member Cassidy Schaub describes the past year as one of the most rewarding of his young bowling career but also one of the most frustrating.
Schaub has dealt with success and disappointment since winning the 2009 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials last December, a title he hopes to defend starting Monday in suburban Las Vegas.
The two-handed bowler who throws from the left side had what he defined as a career moment when he earned a full-time exemption on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour through the Tour Trials in May.
Four months later he helped lead the Team USA men to the team gold medal at the 2009 Pan American Bowling Confederation Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"By far the past year has been the biggest in bowling I have ever had," Schaub said. "I got my dream job of being exempt, I won the Team USA Trials, which is one of the biggest tournaments you can win, and then we brought home the team gold medal from Puerto Rico to top it off. There is still a lot to be accomplished, however."
Not everything has been perfect for Schaub, however. His debut as an exempt player at the PBA's World Series of Bowling in Detroit didn't go as smoothly as he would have liked. After five events, he ranked 71st in points and 89th in average with 197.30.
"I didn't do as well as I hoped to do, but I learned a lot along the way," Schaub said. "Now it is what I do with the stuff that I learned that is going to determine how the rest of the season goes. I'm not going to let those five weeks get me down. Everyone goes through a learning curve on tour and some are worse than others. Let's just say that entire month was a learning curve for me."
Schaub will be among a field of more than 120 men and women looking to earn spots on Team USA at the 2010 USBC Team USA Trials, which will be held Dec. 14-18 at Sunset Station Hotel and Casino's Strike Zone Bowling Center in Henderson, Nev.
For Schaub, the decision to return and try to earn another year on Team USA was an easy one.
"There is no greater feeling than standing up on the medal stand with the USA across your back and the national anthem playing as we win the gold," said Schaub, who was also a member of Team USA in 2007 and won a doubles gold medal with Rhino Page at the Pan American Games. "Once you experience that, you never want to give it up."
When the 2010 Team USA Trials begin, Schaub and the rest of the field will battle for 36 total games, nine games each day beginning Tuesday. Last year's women's champion, Liz Johnson, will not compete as she already has been selected to join Team USA in 2010 by the National Selection Committee.
Any USBC member is eligible to compete and a total of 10 spots (five men and five women) on Team USA will be up for grabs. In addition, eight bowlers (four boys and four girls) will earn spots on Junior Team USA.
The top three men and top three women finishers at the Team USA Trials after 36 games will earn automatic spots on Team USA, while the National Selection Committee will pick two additional men and two additional women to join the team.
Those players will join the seven men and six women, made up of current exempt players on the PBA Tour and former Team USA and professional women bowlers, who were recently selected to create the base of Team USA 2010.
USBC Youth members may also participate in the Trials, and in addition to competing for spots on Team USA, there will be spots on Junior Team USA 2010 up for grabs.
The top two male and top two female competitors who are 20 years old or younger before Jan. 1, 2010 will earn automatic spots on Junior Team USA 2010, regardless if they enter the event as USBC Youth or Adult members. The National Selection Committee will select two additional boys and two additional girls to join the team. The National Selection Committee will select from players who either competed in the Team USA Trials or who advanced to the match-play portion of the USBC Junior Gold Championships, which were held in July in Indianapolis.