HENDERSON, Nev. - John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, N.Y., and Kristina Frahm of Oswego, Ill., took the lead Thursday after the opening round of the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials.
Szczerbinski and Frahm each earned one point for their first-place finishes in the first round at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center, topping a field of 171 men and 85 women.
The players in the field earn points based on their finishing position in each round. After five rounds, the top three men and top three women with the least amount of points will advance to the stepladder finals Monday night.
Szczerbinski led the men's field with a six-game total of 1,516 (252.67 average), including a 299 game, on the 40-foot Athens pattern, one of five World Tenpin Bowling Association patterns being used for the event. Eddie VanDaniker of Chatsworth, Calif., finished second with 1,459, while Ivan Miysato of Fresno, Calif., was third with 1,424.
"I felt like I had the right ball in my hand and had a good picture of the lanes in my head and that usually means pretty good scores," said Szczerbinski, a former Wichita State standout who was a Team USA member in 2009 and 2010. "I expected to come in and do fairly well today, but I really didn't expect to put up so many big scores like I did. But I'm not complaining."
On the women's side, Frahm finished with a six-game tally of 1,376 (229.33 average). She finished ahead of former Team USA member Brenda Padilla of Mansfield, Texas, who was second with 1,332. Sarah Lokker of New Baltimore, Mich., was third with 1,315.
"I haven't been able to practice too much because I've spent so much time coaching, so this feels nice," said Frahm, who is the head coach at Maryland Eastern Shore, where she starred as a collegiate bowler. "This is the pattern I felt most comfortable on in practice, and it's definitely a confidence booster for the rest of the tournament."
Action shifts to the second round of the event, which will be contested on the 35-foot Beijing pattern on Friday. All rounds of the Team USA Trials are being broadcast live on BOWL.com's BowlTV.
The top three men and top three women after five rounds of qualifying 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.
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.
For more information on the Team USA Trials, including live streaming, live scoring, full player stats and complete standings, visit BOWL.com/TeamUSATrials.