ARLINGTON, Texas - Over the past year, Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., traveled the world representing Team USA and Junior Team USA as champions of the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials.
The pair said the opportunity allowed them to gain more knowledge and improve their games. That knowledge and skill once again will be put to the test next week when they attempt to successfully defend their titles at the 2013 USBC Team USA Trials at Sunset Station in Henderson, Nev.
Kent and McEwan will be joined by a field of the top bowlers in the country looking to earn spots on Team USA and Junior Team USA in one of the most challenging events on the bowling calendar.
A field of nearly 100 women and an expected sold-out field of 175 men will be tested by five lane conditions over five days in a grueling format that features six games per day. The final three men and final three women in the points standings will take part in the stepladder finals, which will be broadcast live on BOWL.com's BowlTV.
"Being on Team USA has been an amazing experience because it gave me the opportunity to train with the best bowlers and coaches in the country," said McEwan, who bowls collegiately at Fairleigh Dickinson. "The experiences I gained from both the individual and team setting in the past year has provided me with valuable knowledge that has only made me a stronger bowler."
Kent and McEwan both competed and earned medals in the World Youth Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, earlier this year. In December, Kent finished second, while McEwan finished fourth at the QubicaAMF World Cup in Poland.
"This last year has been the most memorable year of my life because of Team USA," said Kent, who bowls for Robert Morris-Illinois. "The opportunities I have been given to travel and the people I've met are ones I will never forget. It makes me want to keep striving to be a part of the Team USA family."
Now, both players turn their attention to the Team USA Trials, where they will try to keep their spots in the Team USA program.
The top three men and top three women after Team USA Trials qualifying already will be guaranteed spots on Team USA in 2013 and will bowl in the stepladder finals for the right to be declared champion, a spot in the QubicaAMF World Cup and prize money. Two more men and two more women from the event will be selected to join Team USA, while five men and five women will be selected from a pool of eligible bowlers based on their bowling resumes and Trials performance, if they competed.
For the second consecutive year, the standings at the Team USA Trials will be based on a points system. The unique system rewards consistency and versatility by ranking players in the field so performance on each lane condition has equal significance.
In each of the five rounds, players will be awarded points based on their finish in that day's round. For example, if a bowler finishes first, they will receive one point; second place receives two points; third place receives three points and so forth down the standings. The three men's players and three women's players with the lowest number of points will advance to the stepladder finals.
A total of eight Junior Team USA spots - four boys and four girls - also will be available. The top two boys and top two girls in the final points standings will earn automatic spots, while two boys and two girls spots will be at-large selections taken from either the Team USA Trials field or the finals field from the North Pointe Junior Gold Championships held in July 2012. All bowlers 20 and under as of Jan. 1, 2013 are eligible for Junior Team USA.
All USBC members are eligible to compete in the Team USA Trials and entry information for the event can be found at BOWL.com/TeamUSATrials.