INDIANAPOLIS - As qualifying started to come to a close Wednesday at the 2010 United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships presented by Brunswick, the bowlers in position to make the first cut started to look ahead.
A field of 1,500 of the top youth bowlers in the country began 18 games of qualifying over three days Monday and only 78 girls and 150 boys make the cut to Thursday's semifinals. Spots on Junior Team USA and $125,000 in scholarships are on the line.
Competing in his second Junior Gold, 18-year-old Ryan McCoy of Griffith, Ind., put himself in position to make the semifinals after rounds of 1,244, 1,350 and 1,172 for an 18-game total of 3,766, an average of 209.2.
Last year, McCoy found himself in second place after the first day of qualifying only to finish in 215th place and miss the first cut.
"I bowled well the first day last year and it was nice to bowl well all three blocks this year," said McCoy, a left-hander who will begin his freshman year at Calumet College of St. Joseph this fall. "I was a little nervous today because I didn't want to completely fall apart, but I grinded it out and put myself in a good position for tomorrow. This year I think I can make a run at the top 16."
The semifinalists will bowl an additional 12 games Thursday with the top 16 boys and top 16 girls advancing to the match-play finals Friday. USBC plans to provide live video coverage on BOWL.com of the semifinals and the match-play finals. Coverage will begin at 9 a.m. (EST) each day.
Another bowler with his sights set on making the top 16 is Joshua Scanlan of Grayslake, Ill. Last year, Scanlan entered the semifinals in 37th place only to finish in 99th. He's hoping for redemption this year.
Scanlan has been consistent thus far in qualifying, starting with 1,249 before shooting 1,210 and 1,220 to end qualifying with a 3,679 total, an average of 204.3.
"I'm throwing the ball a lot better and I'm more confident than I was at this point last year," Scanlan said. "It's the same center, medium pattern and everything is pretty much the same as last year. I just plan to play the lanes straight and play it safe until the lanes open up."
On the girls side, two-time Junior Team USA member Brittni Hamilton of Webster, N.Y., is looking to take advantage of her last opportunity to compete at Junior Gold. She has an 18-game qualifying total of 3,785, an average of 210.2, after blocks of 1,197, 1,331 and 1,257.
"There's a lot of talent out there, so I've got to try not to give up any ground tomorrow," said Hamilton, who will represent the United States at the World Youth Championships in Helsinki, Finland later this month. "It's weird to think it's my last year and it gives me extra motivation to go out there and finish well."
At the end of the 46 games this week, spots will be awarded on Junior Team USA 2011. The top four male and top four female finishers after match-play competition will automatically qualify for Junior Team USA 2011, 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.
Indianapolis is also hosting two other major youth bowling tournaments this month. The USBC Youth Open Championships resumes Thursday at Expo Bowl and continues through July 20 and picks up again July 22-24. The Youth Open will award $100,000 in scholarships to participants.
In addition, the North Pointe $100,000 High School Singles Tournament will be held at Hindel Bowl from July 17-19 and also will have $100,000 in scholarships up for grabs.
RYAN CLARK BLASTS 300 GAME IN THIRD ROUND
Ryan Clark of Canton, Mich., bowled the first perfect game of the 2010 USBC Junior Gold Championships on Wednesday afternoon at Woodland Bowl.
Clark had games of 172, 169, 172, 300, 191 and 213 in the third round of qualifying. He opened the tournament with 1,188 on Monday and then shot 1,118 in the second round. Combined with his 1,217 total Wednesday, he has an 18-game total of 3,523.
"I just tried to treat it like another shot in practice and not think about it too much," Clark said of the final frame of his perfect game. "That game helped a lot. I had a rough day yesterday and a rough start today, but after that it really boosted me up for the rest of the squad."
Clark, 17, has six career 300 games and this was his second on USBC Sport Bowling lane conditions.
Leading up to Clark's perfect game, the previous high at this year's Junior Gold was a 299 game by Rodrick Taylor of Richmond, Va. On the girls side, the high game belongs to Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., who shot 298 on Tuesday.