Simonsen Roslan Win Masters at 2016 World Youth Championships
LINCOLN, Neb. - Junior Team USA's Anthony Simonsen and Malaysia's Natasha Roslan capped an exciting week at the 2016World Bowling Youth Championships by capturing the Masters gold medals at Sun Valley Lanes.
Simonsen, who made his Junior Team USA debut, collected his third gold medal of the event by defeating all-events gold medalist Pontus Andersson of Sweden, 2-0, in the best- of-three championship match, while Roslan defeated Singapore's A mabel Chua in the deciding game, 227-187, to win the match, 2-1. Andersson and Chua earned silver medals
for their performances.
Simonsen 's title tilt against Andersson started with each bowler firing five strikes in the first six frames of the opening game. The momentum turned in the seventh frame when Andersson left a 2-8-10 split and was unable to convert, giving Simonsen the edge. He remained clean to take the advantage with a 245-213 win.
In Game 2, Simonsen started strong again with four strikes in the first five frames, while Andersson left another 2-8-10 in the fifth frame to fall behind. An 8-10 split in the eighth frame ended any chance of a comeback f or Andersson as Simonsen cruised to a 236-180 win to secure the title, 2-0.
"I think this week will be at the top of the list of memories for a long time," said Simonsen, who also won gold in doubles with Wesley Low Jr. and helped the United States to a third consecutive win in the team event. "I didn't start the week bowling very well in singles, but I was able to get myself together mentally, and a little physically, to have a great week. To go out and win medals for your country, while wearing USA on your back, is a great feeling. This means everything."
To advance to the title match, Simonsen defeated Low in a back-and-forth semifinal, 2-1. Low had the opportunity to double in the
10th frame of the deciding game to return to the title match for the second consecutive World Youth Championships, but he left a 6 pin to lose the game, 224-217. Simonsen won the first game 235-192, and Low won the second 231-224.
Low won the silver medal in Masters at the
2014 World Youth Championships in Hong
" That match w as a rollercoaster," said Simonsen, the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Masters champion. "I think Wesley out-bowled me, but sometimes it's how the pins fall that day. I guess today was my day." Andersson earned his spot in the title match
by defeating Malaysia's Tun Hakim Tun Hasnul Azam, 2-0 (233-161, 221-205). Low and Tun Hasnul Azam earned bronze medals.
The girls' title match saw both Roslan and Chua struggle to get going on the left lane in the opening game, but Roslan prevailed to secure the advantage, 190-158.
The tide turned for both competitors in Game
2 as the strikes began to add up, and Chua extended the match by delivering a double in the 10th to win, 245-236.
The striking continued into the finale, but open frames in the sixth, eighth and ninth frames quickly erased a lead for Chua, earned with a run of four consecutive strikes early in the game. Roslan stayed clean on her way to a
"I'm just so happy," Roslan said. "This is my last time competing in the World Youth Championships, so this is a great win for me. I just tried to throw good shots and do my best." Roslan swept defending Masters champion Mirai Ishimoto of Japan, 2-0 (241-218, 248-221), to advance to the title match, while Chua won her semifinal match against Junior Team USA's Gazmine Mason, 2-0 (196-187, 201-198). Ishimoto and Mason earned bronze medals
for their performances.
The Junior Team USA boys used a near- perfect deciding-game effort to claim their third consecutive team gold medal, and Korea was dominant on the girls side to return to the winner s circle for the first time since 2010.
The United States opened its final game against Japan with seven consecutive strikes and cruised to a 279-188 win, claiming the gold medal by a 2-1 margin. Junior Team USA won the opening game 218-197, and Japan used a clutch finish to take the second game, 223-
The winning team at Sun Valley Lanes on Monday included Anthony Simonsen, Wesley Low, Kamron Doyle and Michael Tang, while Japan s silver-m edal
performance included Katsuhito Nakano, Yuta Saitoh, Ryota Yakuwa and Takuya Miyazawa. Doyle and Low were part of the winning team at the 2014
World Youth Championships in Hong Kong.
"Early on today, we didn't know what to expect with the new format, but (Team USA head coach) Rod (Ross) told us to just
do what we did all week and show everyone why we were the top qualifiers," said Low, who also won gold in singles and doubles (with Simonsen) and the silver medal in all-events. "We used that advice to help turn the momentum, and to go on to complete the three- peat feels amazing. It has been really special to be a part of these last two wins."
Anchor Pak Yuna delivered a double in the final frame of Korea s opening game against the United States in the girls final, including a Brooklyn strike on her first offering, to escape with a 204-193 win, and that momentum carried over into the second game for a 246-179 win and 2-0 sweep.
Korea rallied for six consecutive strikes in the middle of the deciding game, while the United States girls suffered three open frames in the loss.
P a k w a s join ed on th e lan e s by Lee Yeongseung, Kim Jinju and Hong Sunhwa, and the roster for the Junior Team USA girls included Julia Bond, Gazmine Mason, Jordan Richard and Stephanie Schwartz.
Pak and Lee also were the doubles winners this week, topping Mason and Bond in the final, and Mason added gold medals in singles and all-events.
"Taking the two gold medals individually was nice, but winning gold in team would ve been amazing," said Mason, a standout and national champion at the nearby University of Nebraska. "I always say that what happens was supposed to happen that way, and Korea bowled very well today to earn the gold medal. We are grateful to have had the opportunity, and we are still very proud to have gotten the silver."
The United States and Korea were the first teams to navigate through the new best-of- three Baker format used for the team medal round at the World Youth Championships. In the recent past, traditional team games were bowled, with total pinfall determining who would advance or win.
The history of the World Youth Championships dates back to 1988, when it debuted in the Philippines as the International Youth Championships. Not counting two years early on when team competition was mixed, the United States is the only country on the boys side to win team gold more than twice, claiming four overall. In girls competition,Korea now has won the team gold medal a record five times.
"We are very proud of the win today, and I think this speaks volumes about the programs and events we have in place in the U.S. to help develop such quality players, many of whom have been with us for multiple years," Ross said. "We trained for the new format, but you can t really train for those types of pressure situations. We got pushed to three games twice and struck when we needed to, and I m extremely proud of our team today."
On the way to the gold-medal match, the Junior Team USA boys found themselves on the verge of defeat heading into the final frame of their third game against Canada, w hen Canadian anchor Mitch Hupe rolled a four- count to open the door.
The United States slipped past Canada, 2-1 (220-250, 244-170, 219-196) to set up the meeting with Japan, a 2-1 winner over Sweden (179-222, 257-208, 224-179).
Canada s roster also included Dylin Hunter, Jordan Klassen and Nathan Ruest-Lajoie, while Sweden was represented by all-events winner Pontus Andersson, all-events bronze medalist Jesper Svensson, Filip Wilhelmsson and Anton Ahlgren.
Junior Team USA s Wesley Low earned his second gold medal in as many events, while Lee Yeongseung and Pak Yuna of Korea broke two qualifying records on the way to the girls doubles title at Sun Valley Lanes.
Low, the boys singles winner earlier in the week , teamed with World Youth Championships first-timer Anthony Simonsen to win gold in boys doubles with a 418-338 victory against Malaysia s Rafiq Ismail and Tun Hakim Tun Hasnul Azam.
Simonsen led the way for the United States with a 227 game, and Low added 191. Ismail and Tun Hasnul Azam earned the silver medal, shooting 189 and 149, respectively.
"I've won a few tournaments throughout my bowling career, but winning a gold medal for your country is a completely different, and amazing, feeling," said Simonsen, also a member of adult Team USA. "I m speechless, really, but I wouldn t be disappointed to have this feeling a few more times."
Simonsen and Low managed just two strikes in the first five frames against Malaysia, but the duo used a 3-7 split conversion from Low in the fifth frame to turn the momentum in their favor. Low followed with two strikes, and Simonsen tossed four of his own to pull away. "After the fourth frame, (Team USA head coach) Rod (Ross) told us he wasn t seeing the intensity he saw in the first match, and we needed to get that back," Simonsen said. "Wesley making the 3-7 was the turning point, and we were fortunate to be able to string some
strikes for the win."
On the girls side, the Koreans dominated doubles from the start, breaking the event s three (1,392) and six-game (2,694) qualifying records. Singapore previously held the three- game mark with 1,358, rolled in Helsinki in 2010, and Mexico owned the six-game record with
2,675, shot in Orlando, Florida, in 2008.
The strikes continued for Lee and Pak in a 514-342 win against the United States in the championship match. Pak set the pace with a 277 effort, while Lee contributed 237.
Junior Team USA s Gazmine Mason, the singles gold medalist this week, and Julia Bond, who won bronze in singles, fell behind early with a pair of open frames and managed just one double prior to Mason s 10th frame. Mason finished with a 184 game, and Bond had 158. Mason and Bond earned the silver medal.
" It has been my dream to be a world champion, and I'm so happy we were able to be successful," Lee said. "It s an unbelievable feeling."
Both Korea and the United States w ere unchallenged in their semifinal wins.
Lee (201) and Pak (208) downed England s Emily Allen and Keira Ray, 409-311, and Mason (196) and Bond (208) topped their Junior Team USA teammates, Stephanie Schw artz and Jordan Richard, 404-335.
Allen rolled a 181 game in the loss, and Ray had 130. Schwartz led the way for the United States with 203, and Richard added 132. All four bowlers earned bronze medals.
In the boys semifinals, Low and Simonsen cruised to a 482-372 win against the Dominican Republic s Hector Simo (190) and Wascar Cavallo (182). Simonsen had 246 in the win, and Low rolled a 236 game.
Malaysia had little trouble dispensing Sweden's Pontus Andersson and Jesper Svensson , who broke the boys six -game qualifying record (2,815) Thursday on the way to the top seed for Friday's semifinals.
In the 458-394 w in , Tun Hasnul Azam finished with 234, and Ismail added 224. Svensson had 206 for Sweden , and Andersson, a defending doubles champion at the World Youth Championships, had 188. Sweden and the Dominican Republic earned
The United States swept the gold medals as Wesley Low of Palmdale, California, earned the redemption he waited two years for, and local collegiate standout Gazmine Mason of Cranston, Rhode Island, triumphed in her adopted hometown.
Low, who claimed the silver medal in singles at the 2014 event in Hong Kong, was dominant in this year s final, cruising to a 224-134 win against Mohammed Al Merekhi of Qatar at Sun Valley Lanes.
As the all-events record holder at the World Youth Championships, also achieved in 2014, Low knows this week s event is a marathon, with the ultim ate prize being a third consecutive team title for the Junior Team USA boys. He sees Wednesdays win as a confidence-building steppingstone.
"I think it was amazing to have the chance to bowl for the title again and just an honor to even make the top four with all of the incredible bowlers here," Low said. "The real focus is on the team event at the end of the week, but this is a great start. Each time w e bow l is an opportunity to learn more about the lanes and oil pattern, and I m going to approach each day with an open mind."
Having already helped bring a National Collegiate Athletic Association bowling national champions hip to the nearby University of Nebraska (2015), Mason was ecstatic to claim a world championship at home in the United States and in the city and bowling community that have been so welcoming.
She took the lead for the first time in the final match with a Brooklyn strike in the sixthframe and turned that fortune into four consecutive strikes. Victoria Chin of Malaysia kept the pressure on with a strike in the ninth frame and a double in the 10th, leaving Mason needing eight pins in her final frame for the win.
Mason left the 2-4-10 split on her first offering and toppled two of them on the spare attempt to escape with a 211-207 victory.
The w in marked the first girls singles title for the United States at th e World Youth Champion ships since Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, captured the gold medal at the 2000 event in the Dominican Republic.
"This w in means everything to me," said Mason, a 20-year-old right- hander and two-time member of Junior Team USA. "I ve worked so hard for this, and getting the gold feels amazing. I m thankful for all of the support from my teammates and coaches."
In a bittersweet semifinal w in, Mason defeated her Junior Team USA and Nebraska teammate, Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, 234-169. Mason struck seven times in the first nine frames, while Bond was undone by a trio of open frames.
"We re always competing during practice and at tournaments, so this is something we've been through before," Mason s aid. " We both wanted to win and both did the best we could."
Chin earned her spot in the final with a 219-201 win against Sweden's Filippa Persson, who used a perfect game in qualifying to lead the 79- player field.
Persson and Bond each earned bronze medals for their efforts.
Low, a 19-year-old two-hander who attacks the lanes from the left side, averaged more than 230 in qualifying and claimed the No. 3 seed for the semifinals.
O n the way to h is second consecutive championship match in singles a t the World Youth Championships, Low outlasted the Dominican Republic s Hector Simo,
Simo had a chance to lock up the win with a double in his final frame, but a 10 pin on his first shot gave Low the chance to advance, which he did with three 10th-frame strikes. Simo earned a bronze medal for his performance, the first medal of any kind for the Dominican Republic at the World Youth Championships. The event s history dates back to
In the other semifinal, neither Al Merekhi, nor top seed Aseel Alroomi of Kuwait, could gain any traction, and Al Merekhi was able to mark in the 10th frame for a 185-178 win, setting up his meeting with Low.
Team USA head coach Rod Rossechoes Low's sentiments about capitalizing on the hot start to the week.
"The hardest part about this is just getting to the top four, and we were fortunate to get some breaks along the way to get there in singles," Ross said. "Things went our way in the semifinals and finals, and I hope this is just the start of a great w eek. There s a lot of talented bowlers and teams here, so we definitely have a lot more hard work ahead of us."
The United States led the way in the medal count at the 2016 World Youth Championships, collecting six gold medals, three silver medals and four bronze medals for a total of 13 of the 39 handed out at Sun Valley Lanes this week.
Th e 2016 World Youth
Championships featured more than
200 athletes from 37 countries competing for medals in singles, doubles, team , all-even ts a n d Masters.
For complete results from the 2016
World Youth Championships, visit
2016wyc.worldbowling.org. Article was posted with permission from Stars & Strikes, America's Bowling Newsmagazine. www.starsandstrikesbowling.com