The SYC Returns for a Weekend on the Beach

When the Storm Youth Championships was created one of the main goals was to give every bowler in the field a welcoming environment to learn, build friendships, and have fun on and off the lanes throughout the weekend.

The SYC Coastal Classic has always been one of the events where youth bowlers build new friendships, compete, learn and explore the beach together. The 2019 SYC Tour had a mixture of new bowling communities as well as some we’ve visited in past years to help welcome families from all across the United States! It’s fun to introduce new bowlers to the SYC Family and watch their friendships grow. Through modern technology and all of the youth bowling opportunities, these athletes can stay connected and support each other even after the event is complete.

As the calendar turned to October...

192 youth bowlers and their families packed up their bags and traveled to the SYC Coastal Classic on October 4-6. The event was held in two bowling centers, Little River Lanes in Little River, South Carolina and Planet Fun in Shallotte, North Carolina. The staff at both bowling centers helped ensure that the event ran smoothly from start to finish.

All SYC athletes competed in two rounds on two challenging lane conditions designed by KEGEL. Each round consisted of five games and the tournament is composed of five different divisions determined by gender and age (U20 Boys, U20 Girls, U15 Boys, U15 Girls, and U12). The top three bowlers in each round were presented a gold, silver, or bronze medal.

After both rounds were complete, each division was cut in half and those competitors who advanced returned to bowl five additional games on Sunday morning on a new pattern.

After the third round of competition was complete, tournament champions in each division based on their total pinfall were awarded the SYC Shield Trophy, a banner, and a gold medal. In addition, the SYC awarded $17,325 in scholarships to the youth bowlers.

This field included 17 past SYC Champions, several past Junior Gold champions, members of Junior Team USA, and other talented athletes from all over the United States. In addition, there were many bowlers competing in their first SYC and some who were competing in their very first tournament. It’s fun to watch the younger players watch the older players compete in the same field and start to learn about tournament competition.

Competing in his very first Storm Youth Championships event, Donaven Kline of New Jersey earned the title in the U12 Division. Henry Hind, of Tennessee, earned the silver overall medal and Bradyn Brogan joined both boys on the podium earning the bronze overall medal.

Victoria Varano commanded the U15 girls division, finishing 280 pins ahead of the silver medalist to claim her first SYC title. Rachel Moore earned the silver overall medal and Jenna Hedgepath earned the bronze overall medal. In the U15 boys division, Jacob Ballenger of Georgia, finished 13 pins ahead of the defending champion Brandon Bohn. Two-time SYC champion, Rylan Breese earned the bronze overall medal.

The competition in the U20 division was fierce. No stranger to competition, Jr. Team USA member, Kamerin Peters, stayed consistent through all three rounds of competition to claim her first SYC title. Lara Kurt, who bowled her new high game (279) on the long pattern earned the silver overall medal and SYC Champion, Melanie Katen, averaged 202 in the final round of competition to take home the bronze overall medal.

 

Winning a title at the Storm Youth Championships isn’t easy.

It requires you to be consistent on multiple challenging patterns sometimes at multiple centers. In three years, we only have three players who have earned five or more SYC titles. At the 2019 SYC Coastal Classic, Spencer Robarge took home his seventh SYC title. Robarge supports his fellow competitors throughout the competition and constantly works to welcome younger players to the event. Joining Robarge on the podium was overall silver medalist Ethan McDonald and overall bronze medalists Nolan Blessing.

In addition to the competition, USBC Hall of Fame member, Kelly Kulick led the SYC Players through a Fitness FUNdamentals seminar with fellow Team Storm Player Chris Via demonstrating proper techniques for simple exercises youth players could incorporate into their routines.

Every bowler who entered the tournament received a Storm Crux Prime bowling ball and had the option to have it drilled by the pro shop staff at Planet Fun or Little River Lanes. Many youth bowlers had their Crux Prime ready for the practice sessions. Two practice sessions were held on Friday afternoon and the evening concluded with the popular SYC Beach Party in Ocean Isle, NC.  The awesome staff at Planet Fun hosted a delicious BBQ for our SYC families while the bowlers met new friends, collected shells, played frisbee, corn hole and other games on a beautiful evening at the beach.

SYC Bowlers are featured in different ways throughout the weekend. The SYC bowlers were also invited to submit a name for each KEGEL oil pattern prior to the start of competition and were announced at the event. Austin Tungate chose the name for the Long Oil Pattern at Little River, Grand Strand, and Harrison Martin chose the name of the Medium Oil Pattern at Planet Fun, Riptide. SYC Bowler, Jillian Martin impressed the field by playing the National Anthem on her trumpet before the start of competition at Planet Fun on Saturday.

Our SYC Apparel partners, Logo Infusion, have created the Dan Keegan Scholarship for youth bowlers to earn scholarship to use towards their education throughout the year. The Logo Infusion Team were on site with SYC Gear and awarded two scholarships to SYC athletes based on their sportsmanship throughout the weekend. The winners were Parker Laubach and Brooklyn Gagnon.

Giving back is an important part of the SYC and bowlers come together to raise funds all weekend long for Ballard vs. the Big “C” which supports continued research in cancer treatment, specifically in head, neck and throat cancer through the sport of bowling. Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Del Ballard Jr., as well as their daughter Alyssa, joined us for the event. SYC families contributed to the cause through raffles and a silent auction in addition to the $10 donation that is contributed directly to BVBC from every entry.

This tournament would not be possible without the generous donation from all of our sponsors, Storm, Roto Grip, Logo Infusion, Kegel, 3G Shoes, Ballard’s Bowling Academy and Bowlers Journal International. Families were able to learn more about all of our sponsors throughout the event. Storm and the Ballard’s Bowling Academy partnered to host a BBA Surface Maintenance Center in the player’s room so that the athletes could clean and prepare their bowling balls for competition.

Friends and family can come to cheer on their favorite youth athlete in person or virtually through the Storm Facebook Channel. Every game of the event was livestreamed on Facebook. Storm Team Members share insights about the event and youth bowlers through commentary.

Scores were updated live each game through the official scoring system of the Storm Youth Championships, BowlMetrix. For final results of all rounds of competition visit this page.

The full 2020 SYC Tour will be announced soon. The first event will take place at the South Point Bowling Plaza in February. For more information on the SYC visit the Storm SYC page at www.stormbowling.com/SYC.

 

 


The SYC Travels to Wichita

Determination. Dedication. Success. Tradition. Legacy. Excellence.

These are a few words that come to mind when thinking about the bowling community in Wichita, Kansas. Home to bowlers known around the world and collegiate bowling programs that have developed bowlers who have won on every level.

The Storm Youth Championships invited athletes and their families to travel to Wichita to experience the tradition of excellence in this community. A sold-out field filled Northrock Lanes making new friends and knocking down as many pins as they could throughout the weekend. Northrock Lanes is the largest bowling center in the state of Kansas and their staff have hosted a variety of PBA, PWBA, and youth events throughout the years. The DeSocio Family, General Manager, Brent Bowers, and the entire team helped to create a welcoming environment for all the participants and their families. Their support of the SYC made our event run efficiently from start to finish.

The SYC athletes competed in three rounds on three challenging lane conditions designed by KEGEL. Each round consisted of five games and the tournament is composed of five different divisions determined by gender and age (U20 Boys, U20 Girls, U15 Boys, U15 Girls, and a U12 Mixed Division).The top three bowlers in each round were presented a gold, silver, or bronze medal. After both rounds were complete, the tournament champions in each division based on their total pinfall were awarded the SYC Shield Trophy, a banner, and a gold medal. In addition, the SYC awarded $13,025 in scholarships to the youth bowlers.

L to R: Northrock Lanes Owner Cathy DeSocio, Morgan Nunn, Spencer Robarge, Braden McDonough, Katelyn Abigania, Lucas Hersrud, GM Brent Bowers

The talent at the SYC in every age division is impressive but watching the bowlers in the U12 Division compete with solid fundamentals and a true love for the game is pretty inspiring. These young athletes build friendships on the lanes all weekend that travel beyond the end of the tournament. Braden McDonough averaged 198 for the weekend to capture the top award in the U12 division, his first SYC title. This young man bowled exceptional throughout the weekend but truly excelled on the medium pattern where he bowled games of 266, 225, 207, 236, and 226. Did we mention he is just 11 years old? Blaine Canfield and Bradyn Brogan joined McDonough on the podium for the silver and bronze overall medals.

As these athletes continue to grow and progress, they are eager to learn as much as they can. The athletes in the U15 division illustrate this. The boy’s division was a close race for the overall medals. Lucas Hersrud had a strong showing on the short pattern and stayed consistent through the next two rounds to earn his first SYC title and banner. Bud Sicard earned the silver and Joshua Abigania earned the bronze medal. In the girl’s division, Katelyn Abigania picked up her second SYC title, leading her division by 110 pins. Rachel Moore earned the silver and Jenna Hedgepath joined them on the podium to earn the bronze.

The athletes in the U20 division continue to collect knowledge and experience every time they step on the lanes. In the boy’s division, Spencer Robarge launched the event by rolling games of 247, 269, and 289 for an 805 series. He maintained his lead throughout the weekend and earned his sixth SYC title finishing 267 pins ahead of the sliver medalist, Brandon Bonta. Casen Stickler joined these two young men on the podium earning the bronze medal.

Honor Scores: Morgan Nunn was the only SYC bowler to throw a 300 game and Spencer Robarge bowled an 805 series.

In the girl’s division, Morgan Nunn created some excitement in game two of round three when she delivered 12 perfect strikes to bowl the only 300 game of the event. This was her first perfect game and propelled her to the top of the standings in her division. She kept her nerves under control and finished the block with a 225 average to earn her first SYC title. Raina Davis earned the silver and Melanie Katen earned the bronze in the U20 girl’s division.

In addition to the tournament, bowlers were truly treated to a full program of optional activities on Friday. USBC OC Champion and PBA Champion Matt McNiel hosted a seminar about how technology affects the sport of bowling. He joined 27-time PWBA Champion, Leanne Hulsenberg and 20-time PWBA Champion, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard for a Q&A Segment where youth bowlers and their families could ask questions and learn more about the life of a professional bowler.

Every bowler who entered the tournament received a Storm Super Son!Q and had the option to have their new ball drilled at Wichita Bowling Supply with Billy Murphy and his staff. Many bowlers took advantage of this option to add this ball to their bags in time for the practice session where all three KEGEL patterns were made available.

L to R: Harley Shene, Blake Martin, David Jepsen, Brooklyn Gagnon

We truly try to feature bowlers throughout the weekend in as many ways possible. Past champions are recognized throughout the weekend and award winners are celebrated. One SYC Bowler, Madi Phillips, volunteered to sing the National Anthem prior to the start of competition. The SYC bowlers were also invited to submit a name for each KEGEL oil pattern prior to the start of competition and were announced at the event. The winners were Harley Shene who named the short pattern Carolyn’s Castle, Blake Martin and David Jepsen who named the medium pattern Keeper of the Plains and Brooklyn Gagnon who named the long pattern, Shockwave.

Our SYC Apparel partners, Logo Infusion, have created the Dan Keegan Scholarship for youth bowlers to earn scholarship to use towards their education throughout the year. The Logo Infusion Team were on site with SYC Gear and awarded two scholarships to SYC athletes based on their sportsmanship throughout the weekend. The winners were Amani Moore and Samuel Calderon.

The SYC Families were also invited to join the coaches from Wichita State University and Newman University for a seminar and Q&A about college bowling. They shared an inside look at the world of college bowling and youth bowlers had the opportunity to ask any questions they could think of. The students of Wichita State University hosted an optional party for the SYC bowlers to attend later that evening. The WSU Team provided games for the SYC bowlers, the bowlers could explore campus and the team set up a booth where the athletes could learn more about college life.

This tournament would not be possible without the generous donation from all of our sponsors, Storm, Roto Grip, Logo Infusion, Kegel, 3G Shoes, Ballard’s Bowling Academy and Bowlers Journal International. Families were able to learn more about all of our sponsors throughout the event. Storm and the Ballard’s Bowling Academy partnered to host a BBA Surface Maintenance Center in the player’s room so that the athletes could clean and prepare their bowling balls for competition.

We choose to align our SYC tournament with a charity close to the Storm family. The SYC event supported BVBC also known as Ballard vs. the Big “C.” BVBC raises funds for continued research in cancer treatment, specifically in head, neck, and throat cancer through the sport of bowling. The president of BVBC, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard joined us for the event. SYC families contributed to the cause through raffles and a silent auction in addition to the $10 donation that is contributed directly to BVBC from every entry.

Friends and family can come to cheer on their favorite youth athlete in person or virtually through the Storm Facebook Channel. Every game of the event was livestreamed on Facebook. Storm Team Members share insights about the event and youth bowlers through commentary.

For final results of all rounds of competition visit this page.

For more information on the SYC visit the Storm SYC page at www.stormbowling.com/SYC.


Rookie Julia Bond Shines On PWBA Tour

Don’t let the term Rookie fool you. Julia Bond has proven that she’s a fierce competitor in her first season on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour.

In her first full season on tour, Bond has picked up two PWBA Regional Titles, earned a spot in the PWBA Elite Field (top 24 in season points) based on her performance on the PWBA Tour, and won the PWBA Regional Showdown which aired on CBS Sports August 24.

Photo Credit: PWBA Tour

Our PWBA Tour Manager, Mike DeVaney, and all those who work with our Team Storm players have been impressed by Bond’s thirst for knowledge and dedication to the sport. Bond had a very strong youth bowling career earning titles at local, state, and national levels. She represented Junior Team USA from 2014-2017 and Team USA from 2017-2019 earning several medals and competed collegiately at the University of Nebraska where she was a member of the 2015 National Championship team. She was also named the 2015 NCAA Bowling Championship Most Outstanding Bowler.

“Julia continues to prove that she will be a force on the PWBA in the upcoming seasons,” DeVaney said. “Some early marks of her success- earning Elite status, winning multiple regional events including the regional showdown, and multiple top 10 finishes all point to this. As Julia continues to build her foundation, her trajectory is high. I fully expect her to be in the winner’s circle on the PWBA tour sooner than later and I am excited to support her in that quest!”

The ladies of Team Storm and Roto Grip were represented well on the 2019 PWBA Regional Circuit. Each one-day PWBA Regional tournament was paired with a national PWBA Tour event where bowlers competed in eight games of qualifying before cutting the field to four for the stepladder finals. The champions of the first four events qualified for the Go Bowling! PWBA Regional Showdown.

“The PWBA Regionals simply provide another avenue of competition for women bowlers,” said PWBA Director of Operations Tennelle Milligan in the PWBA Press Release regarding the Regional Program. “With a lower cost, bowlers can see what it takes to compete on challenging conditions and get a glimpse of the PWBA experience.”

At the first event of the season, Elise Bolton of Florida earned the PWBA Greater Cleveland Regional title. Julia Bond of Illinois picked up the next two titles at the PWBA Sonoma County Regional and PWBA Lincoln Regional. Gazmine Mason of Rhode Island picked up the title at the PWBA East Hartford Regional. The final regional title of the season went to KT Simpson at the PWBA Orlando Regional.

Photo Credit: PWBA Tour

Bolton, Bond, and Mason all qualified for the PWBA Regional Showdown based on their performances in the first four PWBA Regional Events of the season. Kayla Bandy of Maryland earned the fourth position based on her accumulated prize winnings in PWBA regional competition.

In the first match, Mason faced Bolton. Bolton stayed clean through the early parts of the match while Mason had two opens. Mason threw the final six strikes to defeat Bolton 217-214.

The second match paired Bond against Kayla Bandy in a close match. Bandy could have defeated Bond by 1 pin had she struck out in the 10th frame. Delivering a strike on her first shot, she was stopped by a 10 pin. Bond defeated Bandy 214-204.

The title match was a two-game total pinfall competition between former collegiate teammates, Bond and Mason. Bond defeated Mason 441-420 to take home the PWBA Regional Showdown Title.

 

Though her rookie season is wrapping up, we caught up with Julia to discuss her first year on tour and what she’s looking forward to in the future.

Photo Credit: PWBA Tour

Tell us a little about your first full season on the PWBA Tour. What were your goals going into the season?

Overall, I’m proud of my first season. I made a few cuts and got to participate in some of the regionals. Going into this season my goals were to learn and absorb as much information as possible. I wanted to make sure I internalized my experiences so I could use that information for the rest of my career.

Tell us about how it felt to be bowling on TV for the Regional Showdown?

Naturally I felt nervous. This event meant a lot to me and I wanted to perform well. However, through the nerves I was excited. I was happy to be there and happy to have the opportunity to show what I got.

What balls did you use on the show?

On the show I used the !Q Emerald and the Halo Pearl.

You competed at several PWBA Regionals this season. What do you feel is the difference between these events and a main PWBA Tour event?

For me personally I tried to treat them as similar as possible. Everyone is there to win and I’ve learned to never underestimate people.

What advice do you have for women who might not be ready to bowl the PWBA Tour stops but want to compete in the regionals?

My advice would be to just go for it. It’s a wonderful opportunity. I know it can be intimidating but I think that’s what’s great about it. It helps give you that nudge out of your comfort zone. I think every athlete can benefit from being pushed outside their comfort zone.

What advice do you have for college players who are ready to make the jump to the PWBA Tour?

My advice for college players who are ready to take the plunge would be to take your experience you learned from college and be prepared to expand them. Things that worked in college may not work out here, and that’s ok. That’s the learning process. Also, learn to be your own #1 fan. It’s awesome having a team behind you but you’re all you got out here. Learn how to push yourself.

What has been the hardest part about competing on the PWBA Tour?

The hardest part for me have been the weeks where I felt like I did everything right and made the best shots I could, and they still weren’t enough. It was tough to process but it was something I had to face. I think the emotional/mental lessons are the hardest, but I believe they’ll make me stronger.

What is your goal for the rest of the season?

My goal for the rest of the season is to give it my all. I want to end on a positive note. I want people to be excited about my next season as much as I am.

What are your plans for after the PWBA Tour wraps up?

After the tour wraps up, I plan on working on my game in the off season. After I graduated college I jumped right into the tour and there’s some things I want to clean up. I’m already making plans for next year!

 

Bond's determination to improve and commitment to her game is something that can't be taught. It's something that a player feels in their heart and believes in their soul. We're proud that Bond chooses to be a member of Team Storm and can't wait to see all that she will accomplish in her career. 

 

UP NEXT ON THE PWBA TOUR, THE LADIES TRAVEL TO BUFFALOE LANES NORTH IN RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA FOR THE QUBICAAMF PWBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP SEPTEMBER 3-8.


Burkett Wins First PBA Regional Title

Team Storm Staff Member, John Burkett, won his first Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Regional Title at the PBA Houston Emerald Bowl Southwest Challenge. According to the PBA he is also the first former Major League Baseball player to win a PBA title at any level.


Burkett said he used his HALO Vision for most of the event. When the lanes started to get tight down lane during match play he made a ball change to the Storm AstroPhysiX to win the title. Burkett finished the tournament with 4,946 total pins for 21 games, including match play bonus pins. Tyler Wright and Jordan Malott

“I don’t care what it is; to win something with the PBA name on it makes me very proud,” Burkett said in the PBA Release.

According to PBA.com, during his 16-year MLB career, Burkett compiled 166 wins with 1,766 strikeouts and a 4.31 earned run average, pitching from 1987 to 2003 with the San Francisco Giants, Florida Marlins, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox. His best season came in 1993 when he went 22–7 with a 3.65 ERA for the Giants. Burkett was selected to the Major League All-Star game twice, in 1993 and 2001.

We know this is just the beginning of success on the lanes for Burkett! He hopes to add more titles including a PBA50 Title to his resume.

Keep throwing those strikes, Mr. Burkett! Thank you for choosing to throw Storm and Roto Grip Products.


Youth Spotlight: Katelyn Abigania

Name: Katelyn Abigania

Age: 12

Hometown: San Diego, California

Home Bowling Center: Sea & Air Lanes in Naval Air Station Coronado, San Diego

Favorite Storm Bowling Ball(s): Currently: Storm PhysiX All-Time Fav: Storm !Q Tour Nano

Sometimes you meet young athletes who just strike you as wise beyond their years. Miss Katelyn Abigania, age 12, is one of those young bowlers who we’ve watched compete in events across the United States and handles herself like a little pro on and off the lanes.

After taking home the U12 Girls Junior Gold title in 2018, Katelyn didn’t stop working hard. We witnessed Katelyn’s determination at the 2019 Storm Youth Championships in Las Vegas where she battled a wrist injury from an accident while competing in the event. She finished 194 pins ahead of the rest of the girls in the U12 field to capture the title and earn a spot on the Storm All-American Team. She has also won several JBT (The Junior Bowlers Tour) titles and was named 2018-19 Girls Scratch All-Conference Bowler of the Year. In addition, she earned the California State Pepsi Championship title in her division.

In June, Katelyn was invited to be a guest for “Little Champions Week” on Live with Kelly and Ryan. She was flown to New York City where she got to explore the city for the first time, give Kelly and Ryan some lessons live on air, and show off her skills on the lanes that they built for the TV show. Katelyn said this experience was truly a once in a lifetime experience for her and she was honored to be chosen to represent youth bowlers on the show.

“I hope to inspire all the bowling fans and their families for the future of bowling.” Katelyn said.

This summer, Katelyn and her family traveled to Detroit to defend her U12 Girls Junior Gold title. Katelyn said this title felt harder to capture and she felt her abilities were put to the extreme. She led qualifying after Day 1 of qualifying and never dropped below second through the cut to match play. In match play, Katelyn was sent to the elimination bracket after her second match and battled back to earn the #3 seed for the U12 Girls TV Finals which aired on CBS Sports.  Katelyn bowled a 196 game in the championship match to win back-to-back U12 Girls titles and earn the scholarship.

In addition, Katelyn also competed in the USA Bowling competition. Katelyn teamed up with her friends and fellow SYC Champions, Sebastian Huffman, Avery Domaguin and Elias O’Hollaren to create the “SDLV Strikers” team. These youth bowlers bowled lots of baker matches throughout the week and qualified for the U12 TV finals which aired on CBS Sports on August 20 where they faced DKJ Pro Shop. The Strikers battled and earned the team victory. Katelyn says this is one of her favorite parts of her summer!

In the future, Katelyn hopes to bowl as a collegiate bowler, represent Team USA and bowl on the PWBA Tour someday. She'll be bowling in the U15 Girls Division in the upcoming Storm Youth Championships taking place the last weekend of August in Wichita. The event will be livestreamed on the Storm Bowling Facebook channel.

 

We think that Katelyn is well on her way to chase her dreams.

 


Katelyn Simpson Wins PWBA Orlando Regional

Katelyn “KT” Simpson’s favorite city on the PWBA Tour is without a question, Orlando!

It was an exciting week for Simpson that started with the PTQ at the PWBA Orlando Open. After eight games, eight players would earn spots into the Elite Field of the PWBA Orlando Open. Katelyn qualified in the 7th position averaging 207. She bowled 22 more games averaging 214 to earn the fourth seed for her first TV PWBA Stepladder Final on CBS Sports.

Though she lost her match, she quickly had to push it out of her mind and stay focused. Simpson was on the roster for the PWBA Orlando Regional the very next day. She added eight more games of qualifying to her week averaging 211 to qualify as the fourth seed of the stepladder finals which aired on BowlTV.

 

She climbed the ladder and won her first PWBA Regional Title defeating Kayla Bandy 222 to 203 in the finals.

After the 43 games were complete, Simpson could finally catch her breath and think about her exciting week in the Sunshine State!

When the PWBA Tour kicked off in April, Simpson, was among the star studded 2019 Rookie Class hitting the lanes for the first time as full-time PWBA Touring Players. Simpson was an All-American while competing at the University of Pikeville and was a member of Junior Team USA in 2015. After completing her undergrad, she served as a graduate assistant for two years sharing some of her knowledge on the lanes with younger athletes as she worked towards her MBA. She completed her MBA, talked to her family and decided to head out on the PWBA Tour. Her family was in full support of her decision and decided to make it a summer adventure!

Her parents, Terri & Wayne, who own KT Lanes in Emmett, Idaho and the famous Bowling Doodles, Blake and Adam, jumped into their RV and spent the summer on the road traveling from stop-to-stop. They tried to fit in as many pit stops and family memories as they could.

Blake and Adam who learned how to bowl at their home lanes as puppies were fan favorites at all the Pro-Ams and Fan Fests! They signed paw-o-graphs and took tons of photos while KT worked hard on the lanes learning more and more each week.

We chatted with Simpson about her exciting week on the lanes in this exclusive interview.   

Tell us a little about your first full season on the PWBA Tour:

My first year has been full of learning. I’m just trying to embrace the learning curve as best as I can. It’s been full of ups and downs and I’m doing my best to learn from both but especially the downs. I was really frustrated after the Connecticut PTQ. I didn’t have a good start, but I threw it great down the stretch and the pins didn’t fall my way. I sat down with our Tour Managers, Mike DeVaney and Steve Jacobs and we had a really good conversation about what I need to do better and how I can improve out here. I really just bought in to what they were saying and executed as much as possible these last couple events. I only want to keep getting better and I’m trying to learn as much as possible in this first year!

What were your goals going into the season?

My goals going into this season were to make as many cuts as possible and give myself a chance at Rookie of the Year. I didn’t really have many expectations because I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect! These ladies are good so to just be competing against them is a privilege.

The Orlando Open was a great week for you from start to finish! Walk us a little bit through the week from your perspective:

Yes, this week was a really good week for me. I executed pretty well, made most of my spares, had a few hiccups here and there, but I just tried to take what the lanes gave me and make adjustments as needed and of course Mike and Steve were a huge part of my success this week. I like when there is friction, so I was able to play my A game and stay aggressive!

What was your favorite part of bowling on you first PWBA telecast? 

The atmosphere was amazing. Intimidating a little bit at first because all eyes are on you at all times. I really was trying not to have the stone look on my face that I always get made fun of for! You could just feel the energy and the people rooting for you and that was so cool!

The cut was really tight between a few players going into the last game of the PWBA Regional ....tell us about those final games.

I had a rocky start. I made good shots but all 10 pins just didn’t want to fall for me all at the same time in a consecutive fashion so once I found the right ball that went through the pins the right way I just took advantage and put some good games together to give myself a shot at making cut. I knew what the girl close to me had shot the last game, so I knew I needed to at least beat that. I just told myself to make really good shots. Execute them and whatever happens, happens. I had a carry struggle. Four 10 pins and an 8 pin that last game so I knew I just needed to get as many pins as possible in those last couple frames!

Tell us about the final frame of that title match at the PWBA Regional. What was going through your mind?

Honestly, I sound kind of repetitive but just to execute a good shot. I tried not to think about anything else. Just focus, breathe and execute. See the shape first that I wanted and then to execute. Kayla did the right thing, she made me finish on the hard lane, it was a lot tighter, so it required a little more focus.

What balls did you use this week?

In the Orlando Open I used a Hy-Road X, a little bit of the PhysiX and AstroPhysiX and actually on the show when I switched to the Idol PRO that was the first time I had thrown it all week! In the regional, I used a little bit of a HALO Vision but mostly the Idol PRO!

What has been the hardest part about competing on the PWBA Tour?

These ladies are soooooo good! You have to be on top of your game all the time. They are sharp and if you are not on top of it, they will run you over. We also bowl a lot of games, so I’ve had a few issues with my hand over the course of the tour. I actually changed my fit in between the US Open and the second half of the tour. We may still have some tweaking to do. I had a couple skin patches on, on the show.

Though Simpson wanted to thank everyone at Storm for all they do, we want to thank her for choosing to throw Storm and Roto Grip on the lanes every day. We’re proud that she’s part of our team.

 

The PWBA Tour travels to Buffaloe Lanes North in Raleigh, North Carolina next for the QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship September 3-8.


Youth Spotlight: Caroline Thesier

Name: Caroline Thesier

Age: 17

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Home Bowling Center: Victory Lanes

Favorite Pro Bowler: Kelly Kulick

One of the brightest and hardest working young athletes we have seen in a long time, Miss Caroline Thesier is truly having a memorable 2019. In January, she was selected to Junior Team USA from her performance at the Team USA Trials in Las Vegas. In March, she won her second Storm Youth Championship (SYC) title in Rohnert Park, California. At home in North Carolina, she won three Tough Shot Tour titles and was named Bowler of the Year in May. She traveled to Smyrna, TN for Memorial Day weekend and finished second overall in the U20 Division at the Music City SYC. After that she traveled to Junior Team USA camp in Texas where she said she got to know her other teammates and built a special bond with them.

Caroline went straight from Junior Camp to Florida for Teen Masters where she had another impressive runner-up finish. As soon as she finished in Florida, Caroline, her brother Nate and her dad Jack drove home to North Carolina to pick up her mom and then continued their summer travels to Detroit for Junior Gold.

Caroline’s week in Detroit was solid from start to finish and she was never lower than 18th place and qualified 3rd for the U17 TV show which aired on CBS Sports. In the title match, Caroline bowled 265 to take home the title and a $4000 scholarship.

When asked what the highlight of her action packed summer was, Caroline said,

“The highlight of my summer had to be either Team USA Camp or winning Junior Gold. Both of them were so amazing, I can’t decide!”

After a celebratory family trip to Disney World, she came home and won the first Tough Shots Tour event of their season in Durham, NC. Caroline is entered in the last two SYCs this year in Wichita and Myrtle Beach so we can assume more titles might be added to her growing resume.

 

It appears that there’s no stopping Caroline this year!


Nick Pate Earns Gold Medal at PAN AM Games

Many of our Team Storm players spend much of their year traveling to compete across the United States and several even fly around the world for their next event.

In January, Nick Pate joined Team Storm and started the year off by rolling 300 on Day 3 of Team Trials to earn a spot on Team USA.

Since that first event of the year, he has continued to excel on the lanes and recently traveled to represent the United States with Team USA at the PAN AM Games in Lima, Peru. Though Pate had a slow start to the week, he kept his mental game sharp and continued to work hard on the lanes throughout the competition.

“The grind was in full effect all week,” Pate said. “Each day I told myself that I need to be mentally stronger than the next and do whatever it takes. I found success by doing something breathing exercises and I’m glad it worked.”

His mental determination paid off when Pate rolled 300 during the singles event using the new PRO-Motion. Pate, as do most of the players who have thrown the PRO-Motion see it as a benchmark ball in their bag. When the lanes are transitioning, or you need something predictable this seems to be the ball that our Team Storm players rely on.

“The PRO-Motion is incredible,” Pate said. “I tried the IDOL in practice, but it wasn’t coming off the spot the way I needed to. PRO-Motion gave me a little bit more down lane reaction. It gave me the bigger symmetric ball roll in the front but didn’t burn up off the spot and continued through the deck beautifully.”

For Pate, the lanes continued to get tougher and he kept his mental game sharp as he battled to earn the gold medal. The final match was between Pate and Marcelo Suartz of Brazil came down to the final frames. In the end, Pate was victorious 190-189.

“Winning the gold medal means the absolute world to me,” Pate said. “The Pan Am Games is the closest thing that bowling has to Olympics and to win the gold medal is just incredible.”

Pate, who had a successful collegiate career competing for Midland University. In 2015, his team finished second at the Intercollegiate Team Championships and he was awarded the Most Valuable Player Award. In 2017, he took home the title at the Intercollegiate Singles Championships. After graduation, Pate has moved on to compete on the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour full-time. Since joining Team Storm, he has qualified for match play seven times and continues to grow as an athlete.

“My favorite part of the year is the constant learning,” Pate said. “I’m learning more and more what balls fit my game. Most importantly, I’m learning how to become better with my mental game.”

We’re proud that Pate chooses to throw Storm and Roto Grip products and we’re looking forward to all that he will accomplish in the sport of bowling.


Bowlers Join Forces To Raise Funds In Houston

The PBA-PWBA Xtra Frame Luci Bonneau Memorial Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Tournament, sponsored by Storm kicks off this weekend. The “Luci”, as the touring players refer to it, is the world’s largest and most popular Mixed Doubles Tournament in the world.

A sold-out field of 160 doubles teams from all around the world will travel to Houston, Texas to compete in the 20th annual event.

2018 Champions, Liz Johnson and EJ Tackett

The brain child of newly inducted PWBA Hall of Famer, Donna Conners, the event represents the power of coming together in fellowship for a cause. Conners and Luci Bonneau met through bowling and became travel partners on the LPBT. In 1999, Bonneau was battling breast cancer and Conners never left her side. They dreamed of creating a bowling tournament to raise funds for breast cancer research when her treatment was complete. When Bonneau passed away, Conners knew she had to build the event they dreamed about.

"Upon starting the tournament, I had a plan and then worked the plan," Conners said. "My five year plan was met in three years, so every three years I made a five year plan."

Although the players are competing for a title and a $20,000 top prize they all know that this event means more than just that. 

All of the funds raised are donated to The Rose, a Houston-based organization that helps women who can’t afford breast care treatment or mammograms, and the Huntsman Group, a cancer research facility based in Utah.

"Taking care of the players was the main objective of the event but I've found that the players have taken care of me,"  Conners said.

"Together, hand and hand, we have grown this event. I have a theory that without the players, we don’t have a pro-am. Without the pro-am, we don’t raise money for the charity. With the the added support of all the sponsors and volunteers the event continues to reach new heights every year. I am so honored and forever grateful to all."

Storm Products have been proud sponsors of the event since 2002

We're proud to support the event in every way possible. In 2019, Storm joined forces with recent Donna Conners, to initiate our 2019 Paint the Lanes Pink™ campaign by offering 300 Limited-Edition !Q Tour 20™  bowling balls.

An exclusive club of 300 supporters have added one of these Limited-Edition !Q Tour 20 bowling balls to their collection. The Chrismans also elected to donate all the manufacturing costs to ensure the full $90,000 raised will go towards helping someone in the future.

"I'm truly speechless," Conners said. "It was an opportunity to raise money for the foundation that even I could not have planned for. I'm so thankful to Storm."

The tournament will be part of the FloBowling PBA Summer Tour and will stream live on FloBowling.

Teams will be split into four squads and bowl one 7-game round on Friday and Saturday. The top 40 teams will bowl another 5-game qualifying round Sunday. The field will be cut to the top eight teams who will advance to an 8-game round-robin match play final round.

For a complete roster of teams entered, click here. To learn more about FloBowling subscription prices and to watch live all weekend visit FloBowling.com.


A Chat With Danielle McEwan

It’s not the first time that Danielle McEwan hugged a championship trophy but it’s definitely one she will always remember.

In June, McEwan defeated Tannya Roumimper to win the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open. This was her second career PWBA major title and her fifth PWBA title overall.

"This was one of my top goals - to win the U.S. Women's Open," McEwan said in the official USBC Press Release.

We asked Danielle to reflect on this incredible achievement and share some of what was going through her mind throughout the week. She shared her thoughts and some tips for all the bowlers in Storm Nation in the interview below.

Tell us about the week. How did you stay present through the difficult lane conditions?

This week was possibly the best I've ever seen my mental game for so many days in a row. Between seeing the patterns in the practice sessions and knowing from past experiences how challenging the format of the US Open is, I knew it was going to be an extremely challenging week. However, I also felt I was ready for that challenge. I was feeling confident with my physical game after the last couple of stops and I knew if I stayed patient and went through my process, anything was possible.

In the final match, you had to double to defeat both opponents. What was going through your mind?

When I got up in the tenth frame both matches, my brain was possibly the quietest it’s ever been. In the past, I struggled being in this exact situation because my brain would start going crazy. I would focus too much on the result, the what ifs and all the things that are outside of my control. Those ended up being shots that cost me matches and titles.

I've spent hours and hours going over those shots, talking to coaches about what happened and how I will handle it differently the next time. This time, it all came together. All the lessons of the past clicked at the perfect time and I just did it.

What does this win mean to you? Is it your favorite win of all time?

This title means the absolute world to me. THE U.S. OPEN! It's the hardest, most prestigious tournament of the year. Only the best of the best have won this event in the past and I am so honored to add my name to that list.

Which balls were in your bag throughout the week?

  • Spare ball!!!! Which was my life saver on those super difficult patterns.
  • Sure Lock
  • Idol
  • Phaze 2
  • !Q Tour
  • Code Red
  • Code Black
  • Halo Pearl
  • Hustle Ink
  • Idol Pearl

I left my ball card the same for the round of matchplay.

For the show, I swapped out the Sure Lock, Phaze 2 and Code Red for a !Q Emerald, Winner Solid, and Hyroad Pearl, the ball I ended up using on the show. I'm very lucky that my Storm Tour Team consists of the best and smartest guys out there.

Has your preparation or practice changed since the start of the PWBA Tour?

My pre-season training routine and mid-season training routine are very different. Before the season starts, I'm on the lanes all day, every day and if I'm not on the lanes, I'm in the gym. However, once the season starts, my practices turn into much shorter, focused practices with lighter gym workouts. These weekends on tour take everything out of me, so most of the week is spent recovering and preparing to handle the upcoming weekend, both physically and mentally.

You'll be switching roles a little bit and coaching your siblings at Junior Gold. Are you looking forward to helping them on the lanes?

I can't wait to be at Junior Gold supporting Nick and Tor. They are super talented and work so hard. I love being able to be right behind them as they chase their dreams. BUT.......... it's so much easier to compete than watch. The week of Junior Gold often feels more stressful for me standing in the back, out of control, living and dying with every shot they throw, than the U.S. Open itself.

What advice do you have for all the bowlers out there who are getting ready to attack a tournament near them?

Be prepared.

As most of you know, I have a very disciplined practice and workout routine. I do most of that so that when I walk into an event, I know that I'm prepared for whatever challenges are ahead of me and that helps me with my confidence.

Practice hard, be prepared and be organized, that's how you will compete at your best.

Though Danielle McEwan is spending the week at the 2019 USBC Junior Gold Championships, she's still fitting in some time to practice. The PWBA Tour returns July 25 for the PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles. For more information on Danielle and all the PWBA players visit pwba.com.