You might not realize it, but this is a major accomplishment:
Team USA’s Marshall Kent won the gold medal in boys’ singles at the 2012 World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday.
The days when U.S. bowlers romped to medal after medal in international competition are long gone. Yes, Americans win plenty of medals, but many other countries have caught up and/or passed the U.S. Many of those countries treat bowling more as a sport and some subsidize their top bowlers.
So when a great young bowler like Kent defeats bowlers from Singapore and Japan to win a gold medal it is something very much worth celebrating for American bowling fans.
According to this United States Bowling Congress news release, Kent closed with games of 246 and 244 to lead the final qualifying block at 1,317 for six games. That tied him with Australia’s Sam Cooley, who bowled in the first block, for the fourth and final spot in the semifinals, and Kent advanced because his final game was higher — Cooley finished with 236.
A release has not been put out on the bracket finals, but between a variety of Tweets and Facebook posts, I learned that Kent first defeated top qualifier Basil Low of Singapore 196-188 and then Shusaku Asato of Japan 226-197 in the title match.
Fellow Junior Team USA member Tyler Vostry reported on Facebook that Kent struck in the 10th frame to win both of his matches.
Update: This USBC news release that came out Tuesday afternoon confirmed that Kent struck in the 10th frame to win both matches and also doubled in the last game of qualifying to make the final four.
USBC reported that in the title match, Kent started slowly before making a big move to the right in the sixth frame, which he called “an educated guess.”
“I had to do something and that’s what I felt I had to do,” Kent said in the release. “I ended up throwing six strikes in a row to come back and win the gold medal. ... It’s unbelievable. To accomplish the goal we had coming out here, to be able to be the guy to grab the gold for the United States … I can’t even describe it. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
This was Kent's Facebook post with the picture of his medal (below attached to this blog): "Words will never be able to describe this feeling. Thank you so much for everyone's support, all of the congrats, and words of wisdom. This has been a dream of mine for many years, and now I finally lived it. Gold medal at worlds for the USA. Unbelievable :) ♥ "
And here is an awesome video feature on Kent's gold.
In other Team USA boys’ singles results, Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, finished 22nd, Andrew Koff of Miami 60th, and Zack Hattori of Las Vegas 72nd.
Kim Seon-Jeong of Korea won the girls’ singles with a 228-169 victory over top seed Hee Kar Yen of Malaysia. Seon-Jeong beat Juliana Franco of Colombia, 203-146, in the semifinals while Yen reached the title match with a 225-151 victory over Cristina Rodriguez of Puerto Rico. Semifinal losers each get a bronze medal.
In Team USA girls’ singles results, Amanda Greene of Romney, W.Va., finished 12th, Jessica Earnest of Vandalia, Ill., 24th, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., 28th, and Kelsey Muther of Topeka, Kan., 38th, USBC reported in this news release.
The World Youth Championships runs through July 3, with medals awarded in five events: singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters match play.
The World Tenpin Bowling Association announced at the tournament that the 2014 WTBA World Youth Championship will be contested in Hong Kong, while the 2016 event will be in Lincoln, Neb.
Details are in this news release.