LAS VEGAS – The United States swept the men’s and women’s team titles Saturday at the 2015 World Bowling Senior Championships.
In the men’s final, the U.S. took advantage of some early miscues by Australia as they coasted to an 887-675 victory at Sam’s Town Bowling Center. The women’s gold-medal match went down to the final frame, with the U.S. outlasting Mexico, 785-754.
The U.S. men’s team quickly distanced themselves from their opponent after all four Australian players were unable to mark in the fourth frame. The U.S. never let off the gas as they were led by Ron Mohr, the only returning member from the U.S. team that won silver at the 2013 event, who fired a 278 game. Mohr was joined by Johnny Petraglia (212), Lennie Boresch Jr. (210) and Bob Learn Jr. (187).
“This was everything,” said Mohr, who won gold medals in doubles and all-events in 2013. “Two years ago, we missed the team gold, which is the objective. To capture it this year and see the guys’ reactions, it’s as good as it gets.”
The win capped off a resilient performance by the U.S. squad, which started the final round of qualifying Saturday nearly 120 pins out of the medal round before averaging more than 225 as a team in their final two games to move into third with a six-game total of 4,972.
The U.S. men defeated Sweden, which bested them in the 2013 title match, in the semifinal to advance to the championship round, 859-805, while Australia, which led qualifying with 5,087, rolled over Canada, 858-713. Sweden and Canada earned bronze medals.
Neither team backed down in the women’s title match, as both the U.S. and Mexico continued to keep the pressure on one another throughout the entire game. The U.S. team, featuring Tish Johnson (214), Lucy Sandelin (201), Robin Romeo (193) and Paula Vidad (177), held the advantage as both teams started the 10th frame, and did what they needed to secure the win.
“The big thing in a match like that is filling frames,” said Romeo, who teamed with Johnson and Sandelin to take the bronze medal in team event in 2013. “The lanes were tough and strikes were hard to come by. We were disappointed with bronze in 2013, so we really wanted to win the gold this year. There’s no feeling in the world that can match bowling for your country.”
The U.S. women’s team paced qualifying with a 4,861 total, and defeated Australia in the semifinal, 821-707, to earn their spot in the finals. Mexico edged out defending champion Sweden in the other semifinal, 765-746. Australia and Sweden took home bronze.
The all-events medalists also were determined Saturday as Sandelin and Canada’s John Chapman secured gold medals by posting the highest 18-game totals from singles, doubles and team qualifying.
Sandelin, a USBC Hall of Famer, cruised to the gold by nearly 150 pins over the rest of the women’s field with a 3,756 total. Sweden’s Susanne Olsson took silver with 3,617, and defending all-events champion Robin Romeo moved from fifth to third in her final game to earn bronze with 3,542.
“I’m a big student of the mental game, and really try to focus on the process and not the result,” said Sandelin, who also has won gold in doubles and bronze in singles this week. “If you focus on the process, the result takes care of itself. I wasn’t focusing on all-events. I just wanted to take it one shot at a time and cover my spares, and that’s why I think I did so well. I’ve worked very hard to get here, and it feels awesome.”
Chapman nearly averaged 218 for the week as he finished with a 3,922 total to record the win after collecting a silver medal in doubles and bronze in singles and team. Boresch earned silver with 3,904, while Australia’s Shaun Cummings took bronze with 3,889.
“I’m battling a knee injury, so I’m surprised that I’m bowling as well as I am,” Chapman said. “This is my first time bowling for Canada at 56 years old, so I wanted to give it my best. I’m known for my consistency, and I think I proved it this week. I’m ecstatic. To win gold in all-events, I couldn’t be prouder. It’s a great feeling.”
The top 24 players in all-events on both the men’s and women’s side also advanced to Masters, which will start Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. All advancers will bowl an additional six games to determine the top eight for round-robin match play. The top four scores after match play, including bonus pins, will advance to the medal round.
Mohr (3,872) and Petraglia (3,712) placed fourth and 11th, respectively, to advance to Masters on the men’s side for the United States. Johnson (3,535) and Vidad (3,520) finished fourth and fifth in all-events to also advance to Masters on Sunday.
All rounds of the 2015 World Bowling Senior Championships will be broadcast live on BOWL.com’s BowlTV.
The World Bowling Senior Championships features more than 200 male and female participants age 50 and older from 33 countries vying for medals in singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters competition.
For more information on the World Bowling Senior Championships, visit WorldBowling.org.