By Nick Bonsanto and Aaron Smith
LAS VEGAS – Chris Via’s run to conclude the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships served as an incredible end to a breakthrough year on the lanes for the talented two-hander from Blacklick, Ohio.
Competing on the final two days of the 2021 event at the South Point Bowling Plaza and Bowling Center, Via posted an 825 set in team and followed with 710 in doubles and 768 in singles to win Regular All-Events with a nine-game total of 2,303 – the third highest score in tournament history.
By the time he laced up his shoes in Las Vegas for his appearance at the USBC Open Championships, Via already had collected his first victory and major championship on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour at the 2021 U.S. Open and rolled a pair of perfect games on television to make the leap to the next level in his career.
“To look back and see all I accomplished in a short span of six or seven months was pretty crazy,” Via said. “I was very fortunate to be put in that position and was able to take advantage of some great opportunities. It’s one of those years I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
The 30-year-old right-hander returned to the Open Championships this week for his eighth tournament appearance, and although he was unable to match his Eagle-winning performance, he’s walking away from the 2022 event with another strong showing on the championship lanes.
After receiving his championship watch prior to his team event Sunday, he fired a 724 series in team to put himself in position to make a run at the 2,241 total leading Regular All-Events this year by Brian Waliczek of Frankenmuth, Michigan.
On Monday, he rolled sets of 682 in doubles and 750 in singles to settle in at 2,156, which puts him in the top 25 in Regular All-Events.
“It was really cool to come in and be presented with the beautiful watch,” said Via, a four-time member of Team USA. “It comes with some expectations as well. I knew scores were pretty high this year, and I wanted to get after it. I felt like I bowled pretty well, but the scores didn’t add up quite to what they were last year.”
Heading into the 2022 event, Via tried not to add any additional pressure to his return to the Open Championships.
Instead, it was about celebrating the moment and spending time with some of his friends as they competed at South Point.
“This tournament is so hard to win,” Via said. “It’s nine games. If you have a mediocre game, you’re really pushing to have a chance at winning all-events. I came in here just trying to have fun. This is a weekend where I get to hang out with my friends and people I don’t get to see very often. Bowling well is a bonus, but it’s definitely about the people I get to hang out with while I’m here.”
Regular All-Events features bowlers with entering averages of 176 and above.
Visit us on Facebook at the official USBC Open Championships page.