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Johnson, Schaub claim titles at Team USA Trials

Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Cassidy Schaub of Polk, Ohio, emerged as the champions Friday at the 2009 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials after a 36-game marathon put their skills to the test.

Johnson led from Game 1 all the way until the end, concluding the tournament with 7,959 (221.08 average), while Schaub, a left-hander who uses a two-handed approach, topped the men's field with 8,192 (227.56 average) at Sunset Station Hotel and Casino's Strike Zone Bowling Center.

"There are a lot of great bowlers here and any of them could have caught me, so I feel fortunate," said Johnson, who earned a spot on Team USA for the second straight year. "This is very satisfying because I came out to prove that I belong here, and I think I did that."

The players competed on four USBC Sport Bowling certified lane conditions this week, and Schaub pulled away on the Masters condition, which was used in Friday's final round.

"This is a great feeling, especially after not making the team last year," said Schaub, a Team USA member in 2007. "Coming into this pattern today, I was really nervous because I didn't have a good look, but I was able to make it work. I started with a ball that was smooth and gave me a little room left and right and kept jumping in from there."

The top three men and top three women in the final standings earned automatic spots on Team USA for 2009. Among the men, David Haynes of Las Vegas finished second with 8,051, while John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, N.Y., took third with 8,049. For the women, Shannon Pluhowsky of Phoenix was second with 7,891, and Shannon O'Keefe of Arlington, Texas, finished third with 7,820.

The National Selection Committee also picked Tim Pfeifer of Cranberry Township, Pa., Nathan Bohr of Derby, Kan., Diandra Asbaty of Chicago and Stefanie Nation of Orlando, Fla., to round out the final roster for Team USA in 2009.

Heading into the Team USA Trials, 10 players had already secured spots by virtue of their selection earlier this year. Walter Ray Williams Jr., Tommy Jones, Chris Barnes, Rhino Page and Patrick Allen make up the remainder of the men's team. On the women's side, Tennelle Milligan, Lynda Barnes, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Kim Terrell-Kearney and Wendy Macpherson were selected.

Finally, four spots on Junior Team USA 2009 were up for grabs at the Team USA Trials. The top two boys and top two girls who are 20 years old or younger as of Jan. 1, 2009 earned automatic spots.

Szczerbinski finished on top among the boys, earning a spot on both teams, while Chris Pierson of Waukesha, Wis., took second with 7,687. For the girls, Josie Earnest of Vandalia, Ill., led the eligible field with 7,568, and Jennifer Boisselle of Valrico, Fla., finished second with 7,453.

The National Selection Committee polished off the Junior Team USA 2009 roster by adding Angela Reynolds of Shickshinny, Pa., Dayna Galganski of Orlando, Fla., Jake Peters of Decatur, Ill., and Paul Hogan of Manteca, Calif., to the team.

At the USBC Junior Gold Championships in Detroit last July, 12 players earned spots on Junior Team USA. The boys group includes Geoffrey Young, Daniel Spink, Pfeifer, Andrew Koff, Brent Bowers and Jarret Mizo, while the girls team includes Kristie Petravich, Christine Bator, Ricki Williams, Kim Yioulos, Brittni Hamilton and Jessica Earnest.

By Lucas Wiseman, USBC Communications
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