Pluhowsky Wins Women's Masters at 2016 PABCON Adult Championships
CALI, Colombia - Team USA's Shannon Pluhowsky showed a lot of grit this week at the 2016 Pan American Bowling Confederation Adult Championships, both in her performance and on her bowling ball, and she closed the tournament by winning the Masters gold medal at Bolera Departamental. The 34-year-old left-hander did not get off
to a strong start on the 36-foot Beijing oil pattern, but she worked with Team USA coaches Bryan O'Keefe and Chris Barnes throughout the week to match the right bowling ball with the right surface for success. Pluhowsky bowled progressively better in each of the tournament's four main disciplines, and that allowed her to finish among the top
16 in the all-events standings and advance to the Masters match-play bracket, where she averaged more than 228.
She defeated Mexico's Sandra Gongora, 2-
0 (244-176, 226-207), in the final, after topping three of her Team USA teammates along the way.
"Obviously, it's never fun to have to bowl your teammates, but when you're fortunate to have all six players make the cut, it's bound to happen at some point," said Pluhowsky, a 16- time Team USA member. "Last night was a little rough because we came here for the team gold medal and didn't get it, but we communicated well, regrouped for today and bowled well. Ending on a high note was great." Pluhowsky defeated Bryanna Coté, 2-0 (227-217, 278-202), in the opening round, downed Danielle McEwan, 2-1 (215-227, 224-
222, 214-181), in the second round and topped Missy Parkin, 2-0 (210-181, 219-215), in the semifinals.
Parkin, who started the week with the singles gold medal, earned bronze for her Masters run, sharing the honor with teammate Shannon O'Keefe, who fell to Gongora in the other semifinal. Team USA's Josie Earnest was eliminated in the first round Friday.
While it took an average of more than 209 to qualify for the Masters, Pluhowsky found herself averaging just above 200 for the first half of the tournament, with disappointing finishes in singles and doubles.
But, an open mind and some elbow grease from Barnes, helped Pluhowsky average more than 220 on the way to the trios gold medal with O'Keefe and Earnest and nearly 233 while helping the United States to the silver medal in team. The surge helped her to the No. 11 seed for the best-of- three Masters bracket.
"The ball I ended up using late in the week really didn't look good in practice or during the first two days, so it wasn't even in play when we decided to change the surface and see if we could make it work," Pluhowsky said. "We did a lot of
fishing early, but sometimes, that can hurt you, too. Eventually, the goal was just to try and get to 200 each game and try not hurt the team too much. We decided to try one more thing, and it worked out great."
The answer came in the form of a 500-grit Abralon pad, which Barnes used before each game to keep the surface on the ball fresh. During trios, team and Masters, they went through two pads.
Another big change on a whim also paid off for Pluhowsky, as she decided minutes before the start of trios to go with a five-step approach, instead of four, to help slow her down.
For Bryan O'Keefe, who guided the Team USA men and women through the two-week stretch in Cali, it was a satisfying experience that ended with 17 medals for the United States. This week, the women earned gold (Parkin) and bronze (Coté) in singles, gold (Pluhowsky/ O'Keefe/Earnest) and bronze (McEwan/ Parkin/Coté) in trios, silver in team and bronze in all-events (McEwan) to go along the with their stellar Masters performance. The haul
included nine medals for the women.
"I definitely think our zone is getting much stronger, especially on the women's side, and it was a very competitive, even challenging at times, week for us," Bryan O'Keefe said. "Overall, I think both of our teams performed great, and I'm very proud of all 12 players. They kept fighting and worked together throughout both weeks. It was a terrific team effort all around." Article was posted with permission from Stars & Strikes, America's Bowling Newsmagazine. www.starsandstrikesbowling.com