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BOWL.com | 2022 Junior Gold Notebook


Gene J. Kanak

2022 JUNIOR GOLD NOTEBOOK – ROUND 5

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Friday was a busy day at the 2022 Junior Gold Championships as advancers rounds and match play resulted in three boys and three girls finalists being determined in the 12-and-under division and helped cut the U18 and U15 fields down to just 12 bowlers each for both boys and girls.

Here is a division-by-division look at Friday’s action and an overview of where things stand heading into Saturday’s final day of competition:

New York’s Erb earns U12 girls top seed; Illinois’ Spears, Texas’ Hopkins to battle it out for championship-match berth

U12 GIRLS BRACKET

U12 GIRLS ADVANCERS ROUND

Three bowlers remain in contention for the U12 girls national title as Sadrianna Erb of Farmington, New York, Kennedi Spears of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and Kourtlyn Hopkins of Dickinson, Texas, all have qualified for the live BowlTV finals, which will be held at Fairlanes Bowling Center Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

Erb didn’t have lofty expectations when she arrived at the 2022 Junior Gold Championships. She simply hoped to make it past the first cut since that was something she failed to accomplish last year.

Things were different this time around, however, as Erb checked that first goal off her list Thursday by finishing tenth at the conclusion of U12 girls qualifying.

When Friday morning’s advancers round began, Erb was hoping to work her way into the top eight so that she would qualify for match play and get to keep bowling.  

Erb pulled that feat off too, but just barely as she secured the eighth and final spot to move on once again.

Unfortunately, qualifying eighth meant Erb would have to begin match play against No. 1 seed Anna Antony of Farmington, Connecticut, the bowler who led U12 girls qualifying by more than 300 pins and showed no signs of slowing down during the advancers round.

Undaunted, Erb defeated Antony 345-321 during the two-game, total-pinfall match, sending the top seed to the elimination bracket and positioning herself just one win away from qualifying for the BowlTV finals.

Erb’s next match was close as well, so close in fact that had Ashlyn Henry of Fayetteville, North Carolina, struck on her first ball of the tenth frame in Game 2, she would’ve defeated Erb. But despite executing a terrific shot, Henry left a ringing 10 pin, and that allowed Erb to emerge victorious again, this time by a final score of 318-316.

Improving to 2-0 was extremely important as that guaranteed Erb a berth in the finals. All that was left to be determined was whether she’d go there as the No. 1 seed or the No. 2 seed.

Erb’s third-round opponent was Spears, who earned her place in the top-seed battle by defeating Makanalei Carrick of Waianae, Hawaii (367-308) in the opener and Ava Mazza of Utica, Michigan, (390-337) in Round 2.

The battle for No. 1 was close throughout, but Erb was able to come out on top, 332-319, earning herself the top seed and forcing Spears to settle for second.

As the No. 1 seed and only undefeated bowler remaining in the U12 girls bracket, Erb will have to be beaten twice on Saturday in order to lose the title in Junior Gold’s true double-elimination format.  

Erb was unaware of the advantage she’d earned by securing the top seed, but then again, she’s not entirely convinced it will be an advantage once the TV show begins.

“It feels really good to get the top seed, but part of me kind of wishes I would’ve been second so that I could get more of a look at the lanes,” Erb said. “Bowling in the first match would’ve given me more practice and a better look at what my ball is doing before the championship match.”

Nevertheless, Erb is comforted by the extra breathing room created by her undefeated status, so she’ll simply plan on getting a feel for the lanes by watching how they play during the semifinal match between Spears and Hopkins.

As expected, the thought of making it to the title match and emerging as the U12 girls national champion is one that is very exciting for Spears, especially since this is her first time bowling Junior Gold.

“It would be great to win since this is my first time here,” Spears said. “I didn’t really expect to be in this position; I was just hoping to make the first cut. Then I started meeting more people and just having fun, and that helped me stay focused and relaxed, which caused me to keep bowling better and better.”

Spears will need that focus and some solid execution to get past Hopkins, who had to battle harder than anyone to make it through match play and earn her spot in the finals.

Hopkins was defeated by Henry (357-323) during the opening round of match play. That left Hopkins just one loss away from elimination.

That second loss seemed imminent as Hopkins trailed Antony 219-166 after the first game of Round 2, but that’s when Hopkins authored the comeback of the day, throwing a late five-bagger to pull off a 213-155 game-two victory that also won her the match (379-374).

Despite the thrilling victory, Hopkins was still in a win-or-go-home situation with two possible matches remaining.

The pressure never seemed to bother her, however, as she methodically went to work, defeating Henry (353-324) to exact revenge for the opening-round loss and then dispatching Jayna Larson of Three Rivers, Michigan, (365-316) in the elimination bracket final to earn the third and final place in the U12 girls stepladder.

Hopkins was unavailable for comment following her remarkable match-play performance, but it hardly matters. Clearly, she is very good at letting her game do the talking.

If she can continue making clutch shots on Saturday, she will be a tough out and give Spears and Erb all they can handle.

Ohio’s Durflinger one win away from U12 boys title; South Carolina’s Campbell, Florida’s Potter look to double-dip top seed in title match

U12 BOYS BRACKET

U12 BOYS ADVANCERS ROUND

Isaiah Durflinger of Beavercreek, Ohio, finished fifth during the advancers round and then went 3-0 during match play to capture the top seed for the U12 boys finals, which will be held at Fairlanes Bowling Center and be broadcast live on BowlTV Saturday morning immediately following the U12 girls finals.

As the top seed and only undefeated bowler remaining, Durflinger will have to be beaten twice to lose the title in Junior Gold’s true double-elimination format.

Attempting to unseat Durflinger will be No. 2 seed Ryan Campbell of Clinton, South Carolina, and No. 3 seed Ridgely Potter Jr of Clearwater, Florida.

Despite remaining undefeated, Durflinger’s path to the top seed was anything but easy as he won his three matches Friday by a total of 34 pins.

He opened match play by defeating Sebastian Vetter of Oak Lawn, Illinois, 334-321. The 13-pin margin of victory was Durflinger’s largest of the day.

The winning margin shrunk to just nine pins during round two when Durflinger beat match play top seed Ridgely Potter Jr. 355-346 to guarantee himself a spot in the U12 boys finals.

With two victories already under his belt, Durflinger could end the day no worse than the No. 2 seed for Saturday’s BowlTV finals.

But Durflinger had no intention of settling for second, so he went back to work. He topped Campbell 162-158 in the opener and then followed that up with a 209-201 victory in Game 2 to walk away with a 371-359 match victory and the all-important No. 1 seed.

“It’s definitely a great advantage to be the top seed,” Durflinger said. “I’m hoping I won’t need it, but it’s good to have that to fall back on.”

However, at the end of the day, Durflinger doesn’t care whether it takes one game or two; he just wants to win.

“There aren’t really many people from my area who made it very far this year, so it would definitely mean a lot for me to win, not just for me but to represent where I’m from as well,” Durflinger said.

Nevertheless, Campbell and Potter Jr. have their own motivations for wanting to walk away with the title. Likewise, both have shown themselves just as capable of winning big matches as Durflinger.

Campbell began his match-play run by defeating Dawson Kohl of Dyersville, Iowa, 390-372. Next, he topped second seed Miles Gordon of Columbus, Ohio, 374-334 before losing to Durflinger in the battle for the top seed.

Despite the setback, Campbell sits just one win away from earning a rematch with Durflinger. If he manages to get that shot, he’ll have to beat Durflinger twice.

Campbell isn’t looking that far ahead, however; he’s keeping his TV goals simple and straightforward.

“I’m just focused on making spares and having fun,” Campbell said. “As long as I do that, it will be a successful day.”

Potter knows plenty about success as he’s had more of it than just about any bowler in the U12 boys field up to this point.

He held first place after each of the four rounds of qualifying, and he led at end of the U12 boys advancers round as well, earning himself the top seed for match play.

Showing no signs of slowing down, Potter continued his dominance by opening match play with a 395-363 victory over Do Hoon Kwon of Vancouver, Washington.

At that point, to many, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Potter would simply roll through the next two matches and claim the top seed for the finals just as he had earned the top spot during all previous rounds of competition.

But Durflinger had other ideas, giving Potter his first setback of the tournament and sending him to the elimination bracket.

Some bowlers would’ve been rattled by the loss, but Potter was not. Instead, he stayed calm, stayed focused and simply went back to work.

“I got some bad breaks to lose that match with Isaiah (Durflinger), especially during the tenth frame,” Potter said. “Still, I knew that I only needed to win two more matches to get to the third seed, so I just stayed focused and tried to execute my shots.”

Potter did just that during his first elimination bracket match, downing Vetter 380-279 to move himself one win away from the finals.

That win seemed well within reach when Potter jumped out to a 214-147 lead over Gordon after Game 1 of the final match, but Gordon was not about to go down without a fight.

He started Game 2 with a four-bagger, and then, after a spare, he put up a double. Potter, on the other hand, was having trouble building momentum.

After starting spare-strike spare-double, Potter suffered back-to-back opens in the sixth and seventh frames. With Gordon still working on a possible 279, it began to look as if Potter might find himself on the losing side of an amazing comeback story.

But consecutive nine-count spares slowed Gordon’s pace just a bit, and that’s when Potter took advantage, finishing spare-strike spare-strike to officially end Gordon’s valiant bid for the upset.

“I knew that I had a big enough lead that I had some wiggle room,” Potter said. “Once his string ended, I just tried to throw my best shots and make my spares, and it ended up working out.”

Just about everything Potter has done this week has worked out so far, and he’s hoping that he can continue the strong performance for one more day in order to walk away with the U12 boys title.

“My goal coming in was to make the top five, so I’ve already beaten that,” Potter said. “I’m happy to have this opportunity, so I’m just going to go out there, try my best, have fun and see what happens.”

Martin, Bohn, Lindley and Klemencic remain undefeated in U18 girls bracket

U18 GIRLS BRACKET

U18 GIRLS FINAL ADVANCERS ROUND

U18 GIRLS ADVANCERS ROUND

With two rounds of match play completed, four bowlers remain undefeated in U18 girls action. Those bowlers are Jillian Martin of Stow, Ohio, Sydney Bohn of Jackson, New Jersey, Haley Lindley of Greenwood, South Carolina, and Erin Klemencic of Powder Springs, Georgia.

Each of those four is just one win away from guaranteeing herself a spot in the U18 girls finals.

Round three gets underway Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. at Fairlanes Bowling Center with Martin taking on Bohn and Lindley battling Klemencic.

The two winners will then square off at 8:30 a.m. to determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the live BowlTV finals, which will be held Saturday evening at 6 p.m. at Fairlanes.

The other two bowlers will be placed into the semifinal round of the elimination bracket, where they will await opponents from the cast of eight bowlers already with one loss.

Those bowlers include Melia Mitskavich of DuBois, Pennsylvania, Annalise OBryant of Ball Ground, Georgia, Brianna Rogers of Florence, South Carolina, Victoria Varano of Stony Point, New York, Alyssa Ballard of Keller, Texas, Kaylee Back of Derby, Kansas, Karina Capron of Fremont, Nebraska, and Brooke Salzman of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

The second round of elimination-bracket action gets underway at 7:30 a.m. with rounds continuing at 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m. The bowler who wins the elimination bracket final will earn the No. 3 seed for the U18 girls finals.   

Street, Bohn, Andresen and Harris yet to lose in U18 boys match play

U18 BOYS BRACKET

U18 BOYS FINAL ADVANCERS ROUND

U18 BOYS ADVANCERS ROUND

As U18 boys competition enters its final day, four bowlers sit just one win away from securing spots in the live BowlTV finals. The four players in that enviable position are Carter Street of Dublin, Ohio, Brandon Bohn of Jackson, New Jersey, Zach Andresen of Princeton, Minnesota, and Hayden Tarris of Bettsville, Ohio.

Match play round three for U18 boys begins Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. at Northway Lanes.

Winner’s-bracket action will feature Street against Bohn and Andresen versus Tarris.

The two winners will face one another at 8:30 a.m. with the No. 1 seed for the live BowlTV finals on the line. The U18 boys finals will take place Saturday evening at Fairlanes Bowling Center immediately following the U18 girls stepladder.

The two bowlers who are defeated during Round 3 winner’s-bracket action will automatically move into the semifinal round of the elimination bracket, where they will await one of the eight bowlers already in the elimination bracket.

Bowlers currently with one loss in U18 boys match-play competition include Gregorio (Bud) Sicard III of Milwaukie, Oregon, Lucas Hersrud of Glyndon, Minnesota, Jordan Malott of Austin, Texas, Ashton Yamasaki of Portland, Oregon, Bobby Habetler of Chicago, Ethan Collier of Greer, South Carolina, Chris LeSueur of Kent, Ohio, and Braden Mallasch of Waupaca, Wisconsin.

Round two of elimination-bracket play starts at 7:30 a.m. with rounds continuing at 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m. One bowler will advance out of the elimination bracket and be seeded third for the U18 boys finals.   

Starr, Kanehailua, Tharps and Domaguin still unbeaten in U15 girls match play

U15 GIRLS BRACKET

U15 GIRLS FINAL ADVANCERS ROUND

U15 GIRLS ADVANCERS ROUND

With four rounds of match play still to come in U15 girls action, four bowlers still find themselves among the ranks of the undefeated. Those four bowlers are Kayla Starr of Crofton, Maryland, Samantha Kanehailua of Pearl City, Hawaii, Larielle Tharps of Orlando, Florida, and Avery Domaguin of San Diego, California.

Round three of match play is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning at Fairlanes Bowling Center.

Starr will take on Kanehailua in one winner’s bracket match while the other will feature Tharps against Domaguin.

The two winners will square off during Round 4 at 8:30 a.m. to determine the top seed for the live BowlTV finals, which will be contested at Fairlanes Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.

The two bowlers who fall in round three of the winner’s bracket will be moved to the semifinal round of the elimination bracket. There, they will await one of eight bowlers already battling their way through the elimination bracket.

The eight U15 girls bowlers currently in the elimination bracket are as follows: Miya Greene of Lemon Grove, California, Kaitlyn Stull of Raleigh, North Carolina, Macy Jones of Shobonier, Illinois, Gianna Brandolino of Joliet, Illinois, Haley Swindle of Newnan, Georgia, Katelyn Abigania of San Diego, California, Kailyn Bloch of East Islip, New York, and Alexa Escamilla of Clarksville, Indiana.

Second-round matches in the elimination bracket are scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. Additional rounds will follow at 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m. until one bowler survives and advances out of the elimination bracket. That bowler will be named the No. 3 seed for the U15 girls finals.   

Alexander, Strothers, Landin Jordan and Schenk still vying for U15 boys No. 1 seed

U15 BOYS BRACKET

U15 BOYS FINAL ADVANCERS ROUND

U15 BOYS ADVANCERS ROUND

Four bowlers enter Saturday in hot pursuit of the No. 1 seed in the U15 boys stepladder finals. The four individuals still chasing that coveted spot are Keegan Alexander of Killeen, Texas, Kai Strothers of Maplewood, New Jersey, Landin Jordan of Sycamore, Illinois, and Spiros Schenk of Newnan, Georgia.

The quartet will get back on the lanes and resume battle during round-three match-play action at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning at Northway Lanes.

Matchups in the winner’s bracket are as follows: Alexander will face Strothers, and Jordan will battle Schenk.

Coming away with a round-three victory is of particular importance because the two bowlers who win are guaranteed spots in the live BowlTV finals, which will take place Saturday afternoon at Fairlanes Bowling Center immediately following the U15 girls finals.

Meanwhile, the two bowlers who come up short during winner’s bracket round three will be relegated to the elimination bracket. Each will find himself placed into the semifinal round where he will await one of eight bowlers currently attempting to make it out of the elimination bracket.

These bowlers are still alive in the U15 boys elimination bracket as play resumes Saturday morning: Daryus Alo of Las Vegas, Roman Caporale of Fairview, Pennsylvania, Nicolas Trentler of Phoenix, Maryland, Christian Mouton of Wesley Chapel, Florida, Sebastian Huffman of Las Vegas, Quinn Dean or Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Nicholas Schaberg of Holt, Michigan, and Severo Gordon of Shermans Dale, Pennsylvania.

Round two of the elimination bracket will begin at 7:30 a.m., and additional rounds will follow at 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m. At the conclusion of elimination-bracket play, one bowler will remain and be awarded the No. 3 seed for the U15 boys stepladder finals.   

 

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