United States tops team standings at 2021 PANAM Bowling Elite Championships

BOWL.com Article Image
Standings: Women's Team | Men's Team

CALI, Colombia -
It has been seven years since the Team USA women celebrated a team title at the PANAM Bowling Elite Championships, and they're off to a great start at the 2021 event, which is being held in the same venue.

Through three games at the 20-lane Bolera Departamental, they hold a 241-pin lead over the rest of the eight-country field. Their performance Thursday included games of 1,031, 1,046 and 1,056 for a 3,133 total.

The Team USA men bowled later in the day and matched their total, rolling games of 960, 1,049 and 1,124 to pace the 13 men's teams.

Breanna Clemmer 2021 PANAM Elite ChampionshipsBreanna Clemmer, who is looking for her third medal of the week, led the effort for the Team USA women with a 681 series. She was followed by Julia Bond (636), Bryanna Coté (629), Gazmine Mason (595) and Lauren Pate (592). Sydney Brummett also was on the lanes with the group, though her score won't count toward the team total. She posted a 475 series.

"I'm pretty happy with how the week is going, and I'm really trusting in my teammates and coaches, knowing that no matter what happens, they believe in me," said Clemmer, a 23-year-old right-hander who won gold in doubles and bronze in trios this week. "I think tomorrow is going to go pretty well, based on our game plan and success today. We have a pretty big lead, and that'll help our confidence going back into it tomorrow."

All teams at the 2021 PANAM Elite Championships are bowling six games over two days, with total pinfall determining the medalists. Competition will take place throughout the day Friday, and the women's squad will hit the lanes at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

Puerto Rico is second in the women's standings with 2,892 and followed by Mexico (2,856), Colombia (2,782) and Guatemala (2,748).

Team USA won the team gold medal during the 2014 PANAM Bowling Women's Championships at Bolera Departamental with a record score of 6,738 and settled for the silver medal in 2016 and 2018, finishing 11 and 21 pins behind Colombia, respectively.

On the men's side, Canada started the morning squad with the day's highest game, a 1,142 performance that preceded games of 937 and 1,027 for a 3,106 total. The Team USA men bowled on the final squad and surged passed the early leaders with a boost from Andrew Anderson, who shot 257 in the finale.

Left-hander Matt Russo led the consistent effort with a 648 series and was followed by Kyle Sherman (639), Kristopher Prather (638), Anderson (626) and Nick Pate (582). The sixth member of the team, Cameron Crowe, rolled a 612 series. His score does not count toward the team total.

Canada finished the day in second place and was followed by Costa Rica (3,002), Mexico (2,892) and Peru (2,812).

"I think we've progressively gotten better over the course of the week and figured out how to break the lanes down to better suit us for Game 1 and then give us a better idea from pair to pair, which has been drastically different all week," said Prather, a 29-year-old right-hander making his international debut with Team USA. "I think the game plan is solid, we're executing well and we're making far less errant shots. I'm feeling comfortable and confident, and I think the guys are, too."

Prather still is eying his first gold medal as a member of Team USA, something he came just three pins shy of during trios Wednesday.

Teamed with Pate and Sherman, Prather stepped up in his final frame with chance to swing the momentum in their favor and give Pate a chance finish things off. Prather left a 2-10 split, which he converted. Though the team fell short, the moment was impactful.

Prather has found success at every level of the sport, from college to the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, where he is a major champion, but standing on the approach in that situation stirred up feelings he hasn't felt in a long time.

"That was a position I've wanted to be in for 20 years, and to finally have that opportunity was amazing and a dream come true," Prather said. "Even though I didn't throw it the best, I was able to step up and make the split and solidify us as the silver medalists. It was a really crazy feeling and one I hope I get to experience again tomorrow. It had been a long time, probably since my first or second TV show, that I felt that type of nerves. I know I'll be more confident the next time I get into that situation, simply because I know what it feels like. I know I'll be able to handle the emotions way better than I did previously."

The United States is the two-time defending champion in the team event, winning in Cali in 2016 and again in Peru in 2019, also with a record score.

The top half of the men's standings after Thursday's three games will return to the lanes Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

The final games of team competition also will determine the all-events medalists, based on their 24-game pinfall totals - six games each of singles, doubles, trios and team. Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded.

Clemmer tops the women's all-events standings after 21 games with a 4,413 total, a 210.14 average. She is followed by Colombia's Juliana Franco (4,299), Iliana Lomeli of Mexico (4,244), Bond (4,232) and Coté (4,199).

Team USA's Lauren Pate is seventh (4,152), Mason is 19th (3,880) and Brummett is 34th (3,678).

Matt Russo 2021 PANAM Elite ChampionshipsRusso is the front-runner on the men's side with a 4,391 total, a 209.10 average. He is followed by Pate (4,351), Canada's Mitch Hupé (4,286) and Israel Hernandez of Puerto Rico and Canada's Darren Alexander, who are tied for fourth place with 4,280.

Sherman is sixth with 4,263, Prather is seventh with 4,245, Crowe is 13th with 4,137 and Anderson is 17th with 4,088.

The tournament includes the best bowlers from North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, and they're also bowling for a couple of opportunities to represent PANAM Bowling in other international events.

Two men and two women from each country were designated by the coaches to have their scores used toward the 2021 edition of the Champion of Champions event, traditionally a standalone tournament.

The top four countries, based on the combined 24-game pinfall totals in each gender classification, plus the United States, will qualify for the 2022 World Games. Because that event is being held in Birmingham, Alabama, the United States gets an automatic spot as the host nation.

The Team USA representatives for the Champion of Champions event are Anderson, Russo, Bond and Coté.

Additionally, total pinfall for all six bowlers in Elite Championships competition, in their respective gender classifications, will determine the four men's countries and four women's countries that will head to the 2022 International Bowling Federation World Cup.

The World Cup previously featured one man and one woman from each country, but a change to the format will allow more competitors to become part of a tradition that spans more than five decades.

To see the complete standings, visit PANAMBowling.com.