By Joe D’Amodio | firstname.lastname@example.org
Staten Island Advance | silive.com
DETROIT — Jason Wichnovitz finished in 62nd out of a field of 868 athletes in the U17 division of the United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships late Friday night.
He was the only Islander of three to reach the Final Advancer Round. Maya Avilez (15U Girls division) and William Courtney (U17 Boys) got eliminated in the Advancer Round. In all, 23 Island bowlers competed in the event.
Wichnovitz, a lefty, averaged 183 through 26 games, 16 in qualifying and 10 in the Advancer Rounds on Friday.
“This week has taught me a huge lesson,” said Wichnovitz. “For those who don’t know, the last few years at Junior Gold and Teen Masters I have felt that I didn’t belong to compete with these other athletes, and I was losing hope on myself. This year both Teen Masters and Junior Gold was a HUGE reminder that I belong with these athletes and that I can compete on the same level as them.”
Meanwhile, Maya Avilez fell 55 pins short of the Final Advancers Round after an 848 five-game set in the Advancer Round on Friday morning. Maya averaged 177 through her 21 games of competition.
“After missing last year’s cut by five pins, I came into the tournament with the goal of making the first cut,” she said. “I was determined, prepared endlessly, and succeeded. From there anything else was icing on the cake. Unfortunately, during Advancers Round the breaks didn’t go my way. Overall, for the week I am so proud of my performance and growth from last year. Now I am ready to whack ‘em in U17.”
This was Courtney’s third trip to the Junior Gold Championships and best finish (86th place). He fell only 57 pins shy of the next round.
He had a great week, averaging 186 but lost some steam In the end.
“I was very hopeful going into the week and got a great result! I am really happy about my performance and can’t wait to get back on the lanes next year in Vegas,” he said. “The week of bowling was absolutely exhausting, bowling about 30 games in one week. However, that was all worth it and can’t wait to take a little bit off to rest.”
Melissa Kammerer, Rab’s Youth Program Coordinator and Team Gold Manager who has competed in six Championships herself during her youth bowling career, was on hand all week working with the Island contingent and provided support, lots from her own experiences at Junior Gold and at Wichita State University.
“Rab’s Team Gold has worked their hearts out on the lanes this year and it definitely shows it, especially for Jason, William, and Maya!” she said. “They showed the courage of what never giving up really means. They have bowled a few Junior Golds in the past and always fell a few pins short. This past year I watched them on and off the lanes work harder than ever and it paid off. We had some amazing bowling for all of our athletes regardless of scores. Now it’s time for them to learn from this experience and work even harder for next year.”
U15 Division – Field Size: 715 Boys / 356 Girls
GIRLS – 24 Advance to the Final Advancers Round (cut: 3772)
37 – Maya Avilez 145, 139, 212, 183, 169-848 | 3717
U17 Division – Field Size: 868 Boys / 443 Girls
BOYS – 64 Advance to the Final Advancers Round (cut: 3967)
42 – Jason Wichnovitz 193, 202, 232, 181, 152-960 | 4022
86 – William Courtney 226, 207, 175, 164, 149-921 | 3910
BOYS – 16 Advance to the Match-Play Bracket (cut: 5047)
62 – Jason Wichnovitz 147, 135, 168, 143, 147-740 | 4762