Team USA advances to match play in mixed team at 2021 IBF Super World Championships Article Image

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -
The new mixed team event got underway Friday at the 2021 International Bowling Federation Super World Championships, and the members of Team USA continued to build on the things they've learned and experienced this week at the Dubai International Bowling Centre.

The team has bowled well collectively on the tournament's 44-foot oil pattern, but solid showings during the qualifying rounds haven't translated to the result the team strives for, which is winning medals.

Mixed team is the fourth event of the IBF Super World Championships, and each team includes two men and two women competing in a modified Baker format.

All 46 teams bowled 10 Baker games Friday, and total pinfall determined the 16 teams that have advanced to round-robin match play, which will take place Sunday.

Sweden's James Blomgren, Markus Jansson, Cajsa Wegner and Jenny Wegner averaged more than 236 to top the qualifying standings, and both Team USA foursomes finished the day above the cutline.

Sweden posted a 2,363 total and was followed by Team USA's Kelly Kulick, Missy Parkin, Jakob Butturff and Kristopher Prather with 2,341, Guatemala's Sofia Rodriguez, Ana Morales, Marvin Leon and Diego Aguilar with 2,319, Singapore's Cherie Tan, Shayna Ng, Darren Ong and Cheah Ray Han with 2,268 and Germany's Janin Ribguth, Schutz, Tobias Bording and Marco Baade) with 2,246.

Team USA mixed team from 2021 Super World ChampionshipsTeam USA's Jordan Richard, Andrew Anderson, AJ Johnson and Danielle McEwan landed in 14th place with a 2,138 total.

"Since we didn't make the medal round in the team event in 2017, this is my first opportunity to bowl Baker at the World Championships," Kulick said. "When you're bowling by yourself, you can sometimes have a hard or bad game, and then make it up, but this format doesn't allow for those mishaps. And, bowling with the men is nice, and something I thought we should've done a long time ago as a way further share this stage."

In the four-player Baker format in Dubai, the leadoff bowler bowls the first, fifth, ninth and 10th frames. The other team members bowl the second and sixth, third and seventh and fourth and eighth frames, respectively.

Now that the initial cut has been made in the mixed team event, the top 16 teams will be divided into four four-team groups for three games of round-robin match play.

Points will be awarded for each win, and the top two teams in each group, based on points, will advance to the bracket-style quarterfinals, scheduled for Sunday afternoon (local time in Dubai).

The new format has panned out well for the Team USA men, who claimed spots in the doubles (Anderson and Prather) and trios (all four team members participate) medal rounds.

But, despite leading qualifying in singles and trios, and advancing both duos for doubles, the Team USA women have yet to move past the quarterfinals this week.

Singles didn't turn out well for either team, as five of the eight players reached the single-elimination quarterfinals but were outscored in those five matches by more than 40 pins.

In recent years, qualifying in each event consisted of six games, and total pinfall determined the four players, or teams, that advanced to the bracket-style semifinals.

Another twist in 2021 is that all of the semifinals and finals will be held off-site in a custom venue that was created specifically to showcase the Super World Championships and give tens of thousands of passersby the chance to see bowling's top competitors in action.

The championship lanes were constructed at the sprawling site that is home to Expo 2020 Dubai, a multicultural event that includes exhibits from more than 190 countries and will last six months.

"We've experienced this before in our industry, where we bowl in the same venue all week and then move to another facility for the semifinals and finals, which is a totally different experience," Kulick said. "Regardless of what happens here with the new format and the special location for the medal rounds, we've bowled consistently all week and have been among the highest qualifiers in each event. That shows we're still one of the most talented teams out here."

The semifinalists for the mixed team event will be determined Sunday, and the medal round will be held Monday in conjunction with the team semifinals and finals.

The championship round for singles is taking place Friday night, doubles is scheduled for Saturday, trios will conclude Sunday. Doubles, trios and both team events will feature variations of the Baker format from start to finish.

Additional medals will be awarded to the most valuable athletes and top-performing federations.

Next up for the bowlers at the Super World Championships is 10 games of qualifying for the coveted team event. Everyone will bowl 10 qualifying games Saturday, before the field is cut to the top 16 teams for round-robin match play.

Once competition concluded for the day at Super World Championhips on Friday, the Dubai International Bowling Centre belonged to the competitors in town for the inaugural IBF Para Bowling World Championships, which gets underway Saturday. Official practice was held Friday.

The IBF Super World Championships is the first of three events being held in Dubai, concluding Nov. 15, and the Para Bowling World Championships will share the stage through the weekend. The IBF Masters (formerly Senior) World Championships will help wrap up the visit to the United Arab Emirates.

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