WYC: U.S. finishes with two more medals

Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., won silver and bronze medals, respectively, on Tuesday in the Masters competition as the 2012 World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, came to a close.

ViaKentsmallVia was the fourth qualifier for the medal round of the competition’s last event but took out top seed Sam Cooley of Australia, 246-180, in the semifinals. In the other semifinal, Kent fell to Daniel Fransson of Sweden, 242-202, to earn the bronze medal along with Cooley.

In a close title match, Via needed to strike twice to start the final frame. He made the first strike, but left a 7 pin on his second shot, and Fransson struck to post a 206-198 victory and claim the gold medal.

Via had started the day in seventh place, but in the final five games of the seven-game block he posted games of 264, 244, 209, 233 and 254 to earn the last spot in the medal round.
“I knew I could make a run, and put some pretty good games together to make a run into fourth,” Via said. “In the gold medal match, I had a good look but just made a few errant shots that cost me quite a few pins. And he made the shot when he needed to.”

Kent, who led qualifying after the first day, slowed down slightly on Tuesday but still took the second spot in qualifying.
“The second day was kind of rough but still made the cut to the medal round,” Kent said. “Fransson just had a phenomenal look and I was just grinding. I can’t complain; overall it was a great week.”

For Kent, the bronze medal in Masters made him the first bowler to claim a medal in each event at a World Youth Championships. Kent’s five medals –  gold in singles and team, silver in doubles and All Events, bronze in Masters – was the most dominating performance by a U.S. bowler in the competition since Kelly Kulick won two golds and two silvers at the 2000 event in the Dominican Republic.

In the Masters finals for the girls, Korea’s Hwang Yeon-Ju won her third gold by topping Malaysia’s Jacqueline Sijore, 226-215, in the title match. In the semifinals, Hwang had defeated Malaysia’s Dayang Khairuniza, 223-181, while Sijore topped Bernice Lim of Singapore, 228-171.

By taking two medals in Masters, Junior Team USA led all boys’ teams with six total medals – two gold, three silver, one bronze. Fransson’s victory gave Sweden four total medals.

“To come out here with all the great competition and to be the best team and win the most medals on tough patterns is pretty special,” said Andrew Koff of Miami, who teamed with Kent for the silver in doubles. “To be the first U.S. team to ever do that, with all the great professional bowlers that have come through the Junior Team USA program, is pretty amazing.”

Overall, Junior Team USA’s seven medals was second Korea’s eight medals in the championships. For the first time in the history of the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships, the Junior Team USA boys and girls swept the gold medals in the team event.

For more information on the 2012 World Youth Championships, visit WorldYouth2012.com.