SAMBUENO, JOHNSON LEAD TEAM USA TRIALS AFTER DAY 1
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Toby Sambueno of Henderson, Nev., and Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., took the lead after the opening round Monday at the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials.
Sambueno and Johnson each earned one point for their first-place finishes in Round 1 at Texas Star Lanes. The players in the field earn points based on their finishing position each round. After four rounds, the man and women with the least amount of points will be crowned champions.
Sambueno led the men’s field with a seven-game total of 1,664, an average of 237.71, on the 39-foot Seoul lane condition. Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, was second with 1,624, which earned him two points, and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., was third with 1,623, earning him three points.
“I’m surprised I bowled that well,” Sambueno said. “If I was to guess, I would have said I would bowl well on the medium or short patterns. On the long pattern tomorrow (47-foot Paris), if I can get the ball to read the lane, I should be fine.”
On the women’s side, Johnson led the way with 1,543, a 220.43 average, while Diandra Asbaty of Chicago was second with 1,500. Leanne Hulsenberg of Roseville, Calif., finished third with 1,497.
“It was about shot-making today, and I managed to make good shots,” Johnson said. “I struggled in the practice session yesterday with my timing, but I was able to work through it, fill frames and had a couple big games when I needed them.”
The top three men and top three women in the standings after all four rounds will earn automatic spots on Team USA for 2012. If Johnson or any other bowler who has already been selected for Team USA in 2012 finishes among the top three, the automatic spot drops to the next player in the standings.
In addition to the automatic spots on Team USA, the National Selection Committee, which is led by Team USA head coach Rod Ross, will select two men and two women as at-large selections to Team USA.
A total of eight Junior Team USA spots - four boys and four girls - also will be available. The top two boys and top two girls in the final points standings will earn automatic spots, while two boys and two girls spots will be at-large selections taken from either the Team USA Trials field or the finals field from the USBC Junior Gold Championships held in July 2011. All bowlers 20 and under as of Jan. 1, 2012 are eligible for Junior Team USA.
A total of 225 bowlers are competing this week with 145 in the men’s field and 80 in the women’s field. It’s the highest entry count for the event since 2007 in Reno, Nev., when 233 bowlers took part.