Champions determined at 2016 Team USA Trials, U.S. Amateur

Aaron Smith
USBC Communications
Published: January 7, 2016 |



LAS VEGAS – Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, and Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, captured the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials titles Thursday, while Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, and Stephanie Schwartz of Racine, Wisconsin, capped the week with wins at the United States National Amateur Bowling Championships.

McEwanKentTrophy_465x262Kent used a second-place performance in Thursday’s final qualifying round at Gold Coast Hotel and Casino to win his second Team USA Trials title with a total of 38 ranking points, and McEwan captured her third win at the event with 24 points after an eighth-place finish in the final round.

Kent and McEwan earned spots on Team USA for the fifth consecutive year and also will have the opportunity to represent the United States at the 2016 QubicaAMF World Cup in Shanghai, China, in October.

“I have been so close the last few years in having a chance to go back to the World Cup and fell just short,” said Kent, who finished second at the 2012 World Cup in Wroclaw, Poland. “To be able to come through this week means the world to me. I’ve had a bitter taste in my mouth from my last World Cup appearance, and I have been wanting the chance to redeem myself, so now I’ll have that opportunity. That’s been a goal for the past few years.”

Also earning automatic spots on Team USA 2016 based on their overall performances at the Team USA Trials were Via, Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tennessee, Andrew Cain of Phoenix, and AJ Chapman of Manchester, Iowa.

Rob Gotchall of Clarksville, Tennessee, Ronnie Russell of Marion, Indiana, and John Janawicz of Winter Haven, Florida, were selected by the National Selection Committee based on their performances this week.

Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina, Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois, and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, New York, were selected by the National Selection Committee based on submitted resumes.

“This week has been really unbelievable,” said McEwan, who also won the 2012 and 2013 Team USA Trials. “To come out on top is such a great feeling, and being back on Team USA and getting to bowl the World Cup with Marshall is awesome. I think it all hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Joining McEwan with automatic spots on Team USA 2016 was Stefanie Johnson of Grand Prairie, Texas, Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, and Shannon O’Keefe of O’Fallon, Illinois.

Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, Erin McCarthy of Omaha, Nebraska, Josie Earnest of Nashville, Tennessee, and Bryanna Cote of Red Rock, Arizona, were selected by the National Selection Committee based on their performances at the Team USA Trials this week.

Kayla Johnson of Washington, Illinois, Brittni Hamilton of Webster, New York, and Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, were selected by the National Selection Committee based on submitted resumes.

ViaSchwartz_275Schwartz also earned a spot on Team USA by defeating Heather Penatzer of Tucson, Arizona, in the finals of the women’s U.S. Amateur title match, 238-133.

“I just wanted to make good shots and do my best,” said Schwartz, who has been a member Junior Team USA since 2014. “It’s a great feeling. I’ve never won anything this big, so it’s really cool. Being able to be on both Team USA and Junior Team USA is incredible.”

Via captured the men’s U.S. Amateur title by delivering two strikes in the 10th frame to lock out top-seeded Doyle, the defending Team USA Trials champion, 219-212.

“I knew I had a good look and could make the shot,” said Via, who was a member of Junior Team USA in 2011 and 2012. “I just had to zero in, focus and make the best shots possible. It’s unbelievable to be on Team USA. Spending time on the Junior Team was amazing, and I’ve been wanting this ever since. It’s a dream come true.”

Penatzer defeated Jordan Richard of Tipton, Michigan, 235-199, to advance to the stepladder final, while Via outlasted Chapman, 279-246, to earn his spot in the men’s final.

This week marked the first time the U.S. Amateur Championships has been held in nearly a decade.

Some of the nation’s top young bowlers also found success at Gold Coast this week, earning spots on Junior Team USA.

Automatic spots on the boys side went to Anthony Simonsen of Princeton, Texas, Wesley Low Jr. of Palmdale, California, Matt Russo of Millstone Township, New Jersey, and Kenneth Ryan of Farmingdale, New Jersey.

Meeco Walker of East Cleveland, Ohio, and Andrew Anderson of Holly, Michigan, were selected by the National Selection Committee based on their performances.

Doyle, Michael Tang of San Francisco, Cortez Schenck of Phoenix, Thomas Peters of Belleville, Illinois, Brandon Biondo of Carpentersville, Illinois, and Chad Mee of Hamburg, New York, already earned their spots on Junior Team USA 2016 based on their performances at the 2015 Junior Gold Championships.

Earning automatic spots on Junior Team USA 2016 for the girls was Schwartz, Penatzer, Haley Richard of Tipton, Michigan, and Kayla Crawford of Silvis, Illinois.

Ashley Dunn of Palmdale, California, and Gazmine Mason of Cranston, Rhode Island, were selected by the National Selection Committee based on performance.

Jordan Richard, Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, Hollyann Johansen of Wichita, Kansas, Sydney Brummett of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, and Sierra Kanemoto of Dayton, Ohio, already earned their spots on Junior Team USA 2016 based on their performances at the 2015 Junior Gold Championships.

James Grago III of Hampstead, North Carolina, led the men’s final qualifying round on the 45-foot Rome pattern with a 1,448 total, while O’Keefe paced the women with a 1,361 total.

The players this week earned points based on their finishing position in each of the qualifying rounds – the top bowler of the block earned one ranking point, second place in the block earned two points, etc. – with the lowest total of ranking points after five six-game blocks determining the winners.

To be eligible for the U.S. Amateur portion of the event, a bowler must not hold or have held a professional membership (PBA or PWBA) anytime in 2015. Also, anyone who has won a professional title (regional, national or senior) as a professional was not eligible to compete as an amateur.

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