LAS VEGAS –Act like you’ve been there before.
Whether you’re in the end zone or on the biggest stage in bowling, the impactful words of football great Vince Lombardi offer excellent advice for any aspiring athlete, and Brandon Biondo of Carpentersville, Illinois, heeded those words Tuesday as he took the lead in one event and made a run at another at the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
The 20-year-old first-timer was as composed as any veteran as he averaged nearly 232 through six games of doubles and singles at the South Point Bowling Plaza and posted sets of 698 in doubles and 693 in singles.
Biondo calmly rebounded from two opens in his first four frames Tuesday and teamed with his father, Vince, to claim the top spot in Regular Doubles with a 1,452 total.
Vince Biondo, a former Team USA member and 2003 Team All-Events winner at the USBC Open Championships, rolled 11 strikes in the final game, including his last seven shots, to finish with 264 and a 754 series.
They are the third father and son to lead Regular Doubles this year, though the previous leaders, John Nolen of Waterford, Michigan, and Mike Reasoner of Hazlet, New Jersey, are not related. In fact, they’d only know each other for two days before taking the lead last week with 1,431.
“It is hard for me to put this into words,” said Vince Biondo, a 47-year-old right-hander who made his 23rd tournament appearance. “Today, I was just looking for some redemption after last night. Bowling with my son was the motivational part of that, and the emotions are something I will never forget. This is unbelievable, between all the hard work we’ve done over the years, the ups and downs and between Junior Gold and Wichita State.”
Despite being an Open Championships rookie, Brandon Biondo is far from inexperienced, and that again showed at the start of singles, when he was able to maintain his focus and start his final set with 10 consecutive strikes, before a 7 pin ended his run at the seventh perfect game of the 2017 tournament.
He followed the 289 singles start with a 184 game, but strikes in six of his first eight frames in the finale left him with a chance at the top of the Regular All-Events standings. However, a 2-8-10 split in the ninth frame left him mathematically unable to catch Jacob Boresch of Kenosha, Wisconsin, who leads with 2,122. Biondo finished with a 2,108 total, which is second overall.
“Today started off a little rough, and I was thinking way too many frames in advance, especially because we bowled so well yesterday,” said Brandon Biondo, a four-time winner at the USBC Youth Open Championships. “I just needed to settle into my zone and the present moment. I did not have expectations coming out here. In fact, the goal was to get to 1,800 and be even, and that would have been OK with me.”
Biondo saw those expectations well within reach after he opened his tournament career with games of 237, 257 and 223 for a 717 series and helped Bowlers Connection 1 of Carpentersville into sixth place with a 3,222 total.
The momentum of the hot start carried over for him and the team, and they entered the final game of their 2017 Open Championships campaign with the chance to take the lead in Regular All-Events and Team All-Events, respectively.
In the end, Bowlers Connection 1 settled into fourth place in Team All-Events with a 9,813 total. Brandon Biondo was followed by Vince Biondo (1,994), Dakota Vostry (1,945), Dan Marazzo (1,933) and Mason Petrin (1,833). Team NABR of Fairport, New York, leads with 9,957.
“We did everything we could, and we laid it all out there, and if someone comes and beats us, more power to them,” Vince Biondo added. “We performed when we needed to. It will be great to get the call, but nobody can take away these memories.”
Brandon Biondo is a product of the Team USA bowling program – his mother Joey Biondo also is a former Team USA member and is a three-time winner at the USBC Women’s Championships – so it was extra special when Brandon continued the patriotic tradition by making Junior Team USA in 2016 and 2017.
Most recently, the youngest Biondo has been honing his skills as a member of the collegiate powerhouse Wichita State bowling program, and his Open Championships teammates were confident enough in his abilities to have him in the anchor position in the lineup for their exciting run in the team event Monday night.
“I think for me, I thrive in the team event,” Brandon Biondo said. “I think with my teammates, we bounce ideas off each other and that helps me. Anchoring is just a spot on the lineup. It doesn’t matter to me, as every spot is the same and everything means the same. It was just a blast being out here and bowling with these guys. It doesn’t get any better.”
Things actually can get better for the Biondo family, if they can hold the lead for another few weeks and bring another title to Carpentersville.
The 2017 Open Championships kicked off Feb. 18 and will conclude July 16 after 149 consecutive days of competition.
The Regular Division is for individual bowlers with entering averages of 210 and above and doubles teams with combined entering averages of 419 and above.
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