INDIANAPOLIS – Wednesday was moving day at the 2021 Junior Gold Championships as bowlers in all three aged-based divisions (18-and-under, 15-and-under and 12-and-under) attempted to use the third qualifying block to position themselves inside or within striking distance of the cut position prior to Thursday’s final four-game block.
Carter Street of Dublin, Ohio (pictured above), made a massive charge up the leaderboard during Round 3 at Western Bowl, rolling games of 300, 276, 255 and 223 for a 1,054 block in the boys division for U18.
Street began Wednesday’s round outside of the cut for U18 in 202nd place, and his big four-game set now has him sitting in a great position heading into Thursday’s final round with an overall total of 2,594, a 216.17 average.
He started his round with 20 consecutive strikes, and entered his final frame of Game 3 with strikes on 31 of his first 33 deliveries.
Having already notched one honor score on the day with his 300, Street collected another not too long thereafter as his 255 in Game 3 completed an 831 series. A late split caused Street’s incredible pace to slow a bit during Game 4, but he still did more than his share of striking to finish the four-game block with a 263.5 average.
“I really couldn’t tell you what was different about today compared to the first two days,” Street said. “I guess switching centers was a game-changer for me. I came out today just trying to tell myself to strike as much as I could, and, fortunately, I was able to do a lot of that.”
Despite his incredible success in Round 3, Street is being careful not to let his mind wander or his focus wane heading into Thursday’s final qualifying round.
“I’m looking at tomorrow no differently after today,” Street said. “They can play like this for me, or they can play really hard again. When I make a good shot, I’m just going to try to repeat it.”
Brandon Bohn of Jackson, New Jersey, nearly reached Street’s four-game score during his third round late at Expo Bowl. Bohn, the 2017 U12 champion, rolled games of 245, 246, 289 and 246 for a 1,026 total.
The big set helped Bohn finish the third round with an overall total of 2,650.
Clarifying the cut
Due to the differing number of participants in each field, every division will advance different numbers of bowlers into Friday’s advancers rounds.
In U18, the boys division features 1,166 bowlers, which will be cut down to the top 167 athletes after Thursday’s final qualifying rounds. The 167 players who advance will bowl five games Friday before the field is cut again, this time to the top 64.
Those 64 players will move on to a second five-game round Friday, with 26-game pinfall totals determining the 16 players advancing to the double-elimination bracket. The first two rounds of bracket play will begin Friday evening.
For the girls in U18, the field of 558 will be cut to the top 80 for the initial advancers round, with 52 making the final advancers round before match play.
In the U15 division, the field of 630 boys and 298 girls will be cut to the top 90 and 43, respectively, after four rounds of qualifying. After five additional games, the top 56 boys and 28 girls will advance to the second advancers round before determining the top 16 for bracket play.
For the bowlers in the U12 division, the top 28 boys will advance from the 195-player field, while the top 14 girls will move on from 92 players.
Things will be slightly different from the other divisions moving forward, however, as U12 bowlers will only bowl one four-game advancers round before the field is cut to the top eight in each division for the double-elimination bracket.
Bracket play will consist of two-game total-pinfall contests to determine who advances in each match. Three players will emerge from bracket play to compete in the stepladder finals to determine the champion.
The two finalists in the match-play bracket will bowl to determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the stepladder, while the winner of the elimination bracket will be the No. 3 seed.
With the finals in each division being broadcast live on BowlTV.com, the top overall seed for the stepladder would have to be defeated twice in the true double-elimination format.
The championship rounds will take place Saturday at Expo Bowl at 10 a.m. (U12), 2 p.m. (U15) and 6 p.m. (U18). All times are Eastern.
Cain keeps inside cut position
Things looked rather bleak for Ian Cain of Livonia, Michigan, after the opening round of qualifying in the boys division for U18. After starting the tournament with a solid 211, things quickly went south for the right-hander, causing him to finish Monday’s round with a score of 670 and a daunting uphill climb from 778th place.
Things turned around in a big way for Cain on Tuesday, however, as he rolled games of 235, 300, 255 and 202 for a 992 set that moved him all the way up to 47th place in the standings heading into Wednesday’s third round of qualifying.
“I was disappointed in myself after the first day, but I got to a point during Round 2 when I was just sort of in the zone,” Cain said. “I got myself into an area on the lane that I was comfortable playing, and I just kept stringing strikes. No matter what I did, it just kept happening.”
It happened particularly often during Game 2, when Cain connected on all 12 shots to a perfect game, the first of his bowling career.
“I had never shot 300 before, not even in practice or just messing around,” Cain said. “To have my first one come at Junior Gold is just surreal. I still can’t really take it in yet. I’ve been so close so many times that it feels great to have the pressure of it off my shoulders.”
Cain’s third qualifying round failed to produce the same fireworks as that of the day before, but he still put up a solid set, shooting 773 at Western Bowl, to give himself a three-day total of 2,435, which keeps him well inside of the cut line heading into Thursday’s final qualifying block.