Top youth bowlers heading to Indy

ARLINGTON, Texas - More than 1,600 of the top youth bowlers in the nation will compete for $125,000 in scholarships at the United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships presented by Brunswick from July 10-16.

For the second consecutive year, the tournament will be held in Indianapolis at Woodland Bowl, Western Bowl and Expo Bowl. USBC plans to provide live video coverage on of the semifinal round on July 15 and the match-play finals on July 16. Coverage will begin at 9 a.m. (EST) each day.

The reigning champions - Mike Conn of Crestwood, Ky., in the boys' division and Maggie Zakrzewski of Palatine, Ill., in the girls' division - won't be back to defend their titles in 2010 because of the age requirement, but many of last year's top finishers will return.

Brittni Hamilton of Webster, N.Y., led the girls' division after 38 games last year before finishing in fourth place. This year's event will be her last Junior Gold Championships.

"This is my last chance," Hamilton said. "I'm just going to take it one day at a time, one cut at a time. That's all I can do. I really hope I make it to the final day. I'm just going to bowl the best I can. I would like to go out with a bang."

Andrew Koff of Miami made a big run late in last year's tournament and finished second. He wants to take that final step this year and also earn a spot on Junior Team USA for the third consecutive year.

"The goal is to win this year and mainly just to make the team," Koff said. "But you can't really expect too much; you just go out there and do your best and hopefully everything works out."

Competition starts with three qualifying rounds, which requires bowlers to roll six games each day on July 12, 13 and 14. At the end of the 18 games, the field will be cut to the top 150 males and top 78 females (all ties advance) for the semifinals. Semifinal competition, which consists of two six-game blocks, will be July 15. The top 16 males and top 16 females will earn spots in the match-play finals, which will take place July 16 and consist of 16 games of match play.

The Junior Gold Championships also awards spots on Junior Team USA. The top four male and top four female finishers after match-play competition will automatically qualify for Junior Team USA 2011, and the National Selection Committee will award four at-large spots - two male, two female - from the pool of athletes that make match-play finals.

In addition to the tournament, USBC again will present a seminar from Dr. Dean Hinitz, a leading authority on bowling psychology, and the Collegiate Experience seminar, which is designed to provide pre-college bowlers with important information on the opportunities available to prospective student-athletes. Both seminars will be held July 10 at The Sheraton at Keystone Crossing.

A side event, the Bowling This Month Junior Gold Survivor tournament, is scheduled for July 15 and 16 at Western Bowl. This year, the Survivor tournament also will be a qualifying event for the 2011 Junior Gold Championships that will take place in Las Vegas.

USBC Youth members who meet the average requirement (175 or higher for boys, 150 or higher for girls) can join the Junior Gold program and are then eligible to qualify for the USBC Junior Gold Championships.

(All times Eastern)
Monday, July 12

Qualifying (six games) - Squads at 8 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Tuesday, July 13
Qualifying (six games) -Squads at 8 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Wednesday, July 14
Qualifying (six games) -Squads at 8 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Note: Field is cut to top 150 males and 78 females; all ties advance
Thursday, July 15
First semifinal round (six games), 9 a.m.
Second semifinal round (six games), 3 p.m.
Note: Field is cut to top 16 males and top 16 females
Friday, July 16
Match play (eight games), 9 a.m.
Match play (eight games), 2 p.m.
Awards presentation, 6 p.m.