Junior Team USA adds three gold medals at 2019 PABCON Youth Championships

Results - Girls team | Boys team | Girls AE | Boys AE

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -
The Junior Team USA girls added to their success this week at the 2019 Pan American Bowling Confederation Youth Championships by claiming the team gold medal with a come-from-behind win at the Sebelen Bowling Center.

They entered the day third among the nine girls teams in the event's 21-and-under division and inched closer to the top spot over the day's first two games, shooting 782 and 798, to get within two pins of Puerto Rico heading into the finale.

Led by Caitlyn Johnson's 234 game, Junior Team USA rolled its highest game of the tournament, an 815 effort, to surge into the lead and secure the gold medal with a 4,666 six-game total.

Puerto Rico held on for the silver medal with a 4,607 total, and Colombia earned the bronze with 4,574.

Mexico cruised to the boys title with a 5,041 total, which included a 912 performance in Friday's second game. Puerto Rico earned the silver medal with 4,803 and Colombia took the bronze medal with 4,754.

The team event included six games over two days (three games each day) and also featured the 38-foot World Bowling Atlanta oil pattern.

Mabel Cummins, who teamed with Kamerin Peters to win doubles earlier in the week, led the way for the Junior Team USA girls in the team event with a 1,238 six-game score. Peters followed with 1,154, and the two were joined by Kaitlyn Eder (1,142) and Johnson (1,132).

"It felt amazing to win the gold medal, and it really was a total team effort," Peters said. "I bowled well most of the week, but I struggled a little bit in team. It was nice to know they had my back while I was figuring it out, and that made it come to me a little easier."

The second day of the team event didn't go as well for the Junior Team USA boys, who only were able to move up one spot from seventh place to sixth. Their day included games of 694, 780 and 794 for a 4,523 two-day total.

Anthony Neuer, the lone left-hander of the group, set the pace with a 1,232 total and was followed by Cortez Schenck (1,127), Tom Hankey Jr. (1,097) and Sean Wilcox (1,067).2019PABCONYouthBoysTeamD2ForWeb637x359

The last time the girls reached the top of the medal stand in the team event was at the 2013 PABCON Youth Championships as part of a Junior Team USA sweep. The most recent title for the boys came in 2015. The event is held every two years.

"I'm extremely proud of both teams this week and how they worked together so well on what turned out to be a pretty challenging lane condition," said Junior Team USA coach Bryan O'Keefe. "The girls fought hard today and came away with the team gold, which is incredibly special. The boys worked until the end, but they unfortunately could not overcome yesterday's struggles. Overall, it has been a great week with many successes to celebrate and be proud of."

The end of the team event Friday also determined the all-events medalists and the 16 girls and 16 boys advancing to Saturday's Masters match play, all based on their 24-game pinfall totals from singles, doubles, trios and team (six games each).

Peters topped the girls all-events standings and claimed her fourth gold medal of the week (doubles, trios, team, all-events) to go along with a bronze medal in the tournament-opening singles event. She finished with a 24-game total of 5,048, a 210.33 average.

Puerto Rico's Zoriani Reyes, this week's singles champion, took the silver medal in all-events with a 4,961 total, while her teammate, Paulina Torres, edged Cummins by a single pin for the bronze medal. Torres finished with a 4,786 total.

"Coming from that first day, when I didn't bowl as well as I wanted to the last three games, I worked hard to figure out the transition and how the lanes played from pair to pair," Peters said. "That helped us today as a team and helped me overall. It always feels good to come away with some type of medal, but having four golds and a bronze so far is a whole different perspective."

Though Cummins had to settle for a fourth-place all-events finish, she'll be among the 16 girls back on the lanes Saturday morning at 8 a.m. Eastern. Johnson (4,760) and Eder (4,619) also will be there, after finishing fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 24-game standings.

It took an average of 182.75 to make match play in the girls division.

2019PABCONYouthNeuerPetersAEForWeb250x140Neuer finished the day with games of 242 and 215, including strikes on six of his last seven shots, to win the all-events title on the boys side with a 4,938 total, a 205.75 average.

He entered the final game three pins behind Schenck, who finished with a 194 game and 4,920 all-events score. Colombia's Felipe Gil earned the bronze medal with 4,904.

In the opening-round of the best-of-three 16-player match-play bracket, Neuer will face Wilcox, who used a clean 198 finish to earn the final spot. His 24-game total was 4,619, a 192.46 average and just five pins ahead of 17th place.

Hankey also advanced, finishing 12th overall with 4,725. The boys are scheduled to hit the lanes at the Sebelen Bowling Center on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. EDT.

The 2019 PABCON Youth Championships includes two age-based categories - 16-and-under and 21-and-under - though the United States only is participating in the U21 category.

The U21 field this week featured more than 80 competitors representing 12 countries on the boys side and 11 countries in the girls division.

Bowlers are competing for medals in singles, doubles, trios, team, all-events and Masters competition.

PABCON includes competitors from North, Central and South America, along with the Caribbean.