Moore, Smith claim titles in 25th annual Teen Masters Championships

ALLEN PARK, MICH. — Rachel Moore went undefeated in the final round of match play on Friday and held off a late charge by qualifying leader Hope Bunk to claim the girls title in the 25th annual Teen Masters Championships.

In the boys division, top-seeded Nathen Smith of Noblesville, Ind., had enough of a lead to overcome a challenge from Thomas McLaughlin of Jacksonville, Fla., to claim the boys title on the historic arena lanes at Thunderbowl Lanes.

Moore, out of Keokuk, Iowa, took a 51-pin lead over Bunk heading into the final game of the night.

Both bowlers started with two strikes, but Bunk, out of Billings, Mont., had a couple of opens midway through the match. Moore also had a couple of opens, but stayed clean the rest of the way for a 188-172 decision.

Moore finished with a pinfall total of 7,411 with a 10-2 record in match play. She averaged 197.5 for 36 games.

“When Hope opened twice I tried to stay clean after that,” she said. “I felt like I got more carry tonight than this afternoon.

“Tonight I just kept moving my feet and changing my speed.”

Bunk, who finished 12th last year, had high average among the girls at 198.2, but just went 6-6 in match play.

Brooklyn Gagnon of Sioux Falls, S.D., was third at 7,286, while Mia Stolakis of Worcester, Mass., made a good run to finish fourth with 7,277. Fifth-round leaded Abbie Leiendecker of Wooster, Ohio, placed fifth at 7,254.

Smith took a comfortable 107-pin lead into the position round match against McLaughlin, who had rolled a 280 game and averaged just under 240 for his final six games.

McLaughlin opened the match with seven straight strikes, putting some early pressure on the leader. And Smith was feeling the heat.

“I was straight up nervous,” he said. “Thomas put up a pretty good fight. He had a good run the last couple of games.”

But McLaughlin’s string ended in the eighth with a seven count. After he didn’t strike in the ninth, all he could shoot was 266. Smith was shooting at a 210 pace, which was enough relieve some of the pressure.

Smith lost the match, 254-210, but finished with a pinfall total of 8,039 — 33 better than McLaughlin.

“When Thomas didn’t strike in the eighth and ninth frames, I kind of loosened up a little,” Smith said. “I didn’t really need to strike as much, I just needed to stay clean.

“And I got the job done!”

Smith finished with a 215.8 average and went 9-3 in match play.

Ryan Speer of Beech Grove, Ind., placed third with 7,939, followed by Hayden Tarris of Bettsville, Ohio (7,838) and David Hayes of Terra Haute, Ind. (7,810).

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