Wesley Low Jr. having consistent week at 2019 USBC Team USA Trials


In five years on Junior Team USA, Wesley Low Jr. of Palmdale, California, earned 26 medals in international competition, and his success included five titles in World Bowling Youth Championships competition.

At the 2018 World Youth Championships, his final appearance with Junior Team USA, Low failed to medal for the first time in his career.

The 21-year-old two-hander, who attacks the lane from the left side, is at the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials looking to earn a shot at international redemption by claiming a spot on Team USA's adult team.

Low has been among the top 10 finishers in three of this week's first four rounds, and his consistent performance at the Gold Coast Bowling Center could pay off two-fold, if he can maintain that momentum through one more six-game block.

Through four days, Low is third in the overall standings at the USBC Team USA Trials and third among the amateurs in the sold-out 175-player men's field.

"Last year wasn't the best year of my bowling career, and leaving the World Championships without a medal definitely was a letdown, especially after the success I'd had there before," said Low, a two-time winner at the Junior Gold Championships presented by the Brands of Ebonite (2013, 2017). "It made me take a look at myself, so I could try to figure out what I'm doing wrong. It has been motivation for me. Making the adult team has become a goal of mine. If I can have another strong day and the stars align, making the team would be really special."

At the completion of Monday's fifth and final round, the top four men and top four women in their respective Team USA Trials standings automatically will earn spots on Team USA 2019, while the top three amateurs in the standings will advance to the stepladder finals of the U.S. Amateur Championships.

Eight-time Team USA member and USBC Hall of Famer John Janawicz of Winter Haven, Florida, tops the both overall standings and U.S. Amateur ranking after four rounds with 56 points.

He is followed by 16-year-old Solomon Salama of Beverly Hills, California, and Low in both categories. They have 58 and 71 ranking points, respectively. Salama also is a two-time Junior Gold champion.

Sunday's fourth round was contested on a 41-foot oil pattern, and Low finished the day in eighth place, failing to break 200 in his final two games. He was, however, grateful to be able to bounce back from a tough third day, where he struggled with the transition of the 45-foot oil pattern and finished tied for 56th place.

SchenckCortez2019TeamTrialsForWeb250x140Cortez Schenck of Phoenix, the defending U.S. Amateur champion, showcased his mental toughness on the way to the top of the standings in Sunday's fourth round, after finishing 50th, 88th and 26th to start the event.

The 19-year-old right-hander, whose Masters gold medal was the only medal the Junior Team USA boys claimed at the 2018 World Youth Championships, struggled with his equipment selection and ball reaction this week and found himself in big deficit after three days.

Schenck led the field Sunday with a 1,483 total, a 247.17 six-game average. He was followed by Sean Wilcox of Altamonte Springs, Florida (1,461), fellow Junior Team USA member Anthony Neuer of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (1,355), Salama (1,339) and Thomas McNeal of Puyallup, Washington (1,336).

"I made a better ball choice today, that probably would've worked the first couple of days, but the important thing is that I was able to learn from those early mistakes and bowl well today," Schenck said. "I know I may be in too big of a hole, but I'm still hoping I can bowl well tomorrow and finish strong."

All competitors at the 2019 Team USA Trials are bowling 30 games over five days (six games each day), and their versatility is being tested on five different oil patterns.

Ranking points are being awarded each day, with the leaders each earning one ranking point, second place earning two, etc., with the lowest total of ranking points at the end of the week determining the winners.

Both champions earn automatic spots on Team USA and the chance to represent the United States at the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup.

Competition at the 2019 Team USA Trials resumes Monday with squads at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern on 39 feet of oil. The sold-out 175-player men's field will bowl first, and the record women's field will compete in the afternoon. The U.S. Amateur stepladder finals are scheduled for 10:30 p.m. Eastern.

Once the automatic spots on Team USA are awarded Monday night, two additional men and two additional women will be selected by the National Selection Committee from the pool of players that competed during the week at the Gold Coast Bowling Center.

The National Selection Committee also will select a maximum of five men and five women for the team based on submitted resumes. Those applicants must have been Team USA or Junior Team USA members within the last 10 years or among the top 25 in earnings during the 2018 PBA Tour season or top 25 in points during the 2018 PWBA Tour season.

In the championship round of the U.S. Amateur Championships, the second and third seeds will face off in the opening match, and the winners (men's and women's) will advance to meet the No. 1 seeds to bowl for the titles. Both winners will earn spots on Team USA.

If the U.S. Amateur champion already has earned a spot on the team, the spot will be awarded to the next-highest Team USA Trials qualifier based on ranking points.

To be eligible for this year's U.S. Amateur, a bowler must not hold or have held a professional membership (PBA or PWBA) in 2018. Also, anyone who has won a professional title (regional, national or senior) as a professional is not eligible to compete as an amateur.

This year's event may mark Low's last shot at the U.S. Amateur title, as his upcoming graduation from Wichita State University may closely be followed by the start of his professional bowling career.

There's also potential for graduate school and postponing his Professional Bowlers Association Tour career until 2020.

Regardless, he'll walk back into the Gold Coast Bowling Center on Monday focused on another strong block, hopefully earning his first berth on Team USA

"Being able to continue my time in the Team USA program would be awesome," said Low, who finished fourth Thursday and third Friday. "Even if I don't get to travel, it would mean a lot to see the years of hard work pay off in this way and get to benefit from the tools and support that come with being on the team. I'd love a chance to be a part of building something like Chris Barnes and Tommy Jones have done in their Team USA careers."

For youth competitors, the top four boys and top four girls, based on ranking points, automatically will earn spots on Junior Team USA 2019. Two additional boys and two additional girls also will be selected by the National Selection Committee based on performances from either the 2019 Team USA Trials or 2018 Junior Gold Championships.

They will join the youth competitors who already earned their spots on Junior Team USA 2019 through qualifying at the 2018 Junior Gold Championships.

BOWL.com's BowlTV is providing wire-to-wire coverage of the events, including the announcement of Team USA and Junior Team USA 2019.