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.


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.


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.


Team Storm Update From Las Vegas

Things are really heating up in Las Vegas!

If you happen to be visiting the entertainment capital of the world this week, you're in luck! Between The USBC Open Championships, The Weber Cup and the US Women's Open there's plenty of ways to watch bowling. Even if you're not in town, you can follow most of the bowling action by watching online.

WEBER CUP UPDATE

On Wednesday, Team USA rolled the first baker 300 game at the Weber Cup which helped them take the lead over Europe, 10-6.

Full match scores include:

USA 10–6 EUROPE

Kyle Troup 278–201 Osku Palermaa
Butturff/Barnes 234-236 Palermaa/Barrett
Chris Barnes 257
–234 Dominic Barrett
Troup/Butturff 236-257 Svensson/Palermaa
Jakob Butturff 278
–235 Jesper Svensson
Barnes/Simonsen 267-267 Barrett/Williams (USA win roll-off 60-16)
Kyle Troup 246–242 Osku Palermaa
USA 300-257 Europe

 

Photo Credit: Vincent Rochefort/Matchroom Multi Sport

Weber Cup XX is taking place at Mandalay Bay Resort with live matches daily 11 am through Friday. The event is broadcast live globally on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in America. More info can be found by visiting www.webercup.com.

Women's US Open

The challenging patterns have been testing the ladies of the PWBA this week at the US Women's Open taking place at Texas Station in Las Vegas. Danielle McEwan lead the Team Storm players in 2nd after two days of qualifying on Wednesday. She has averaged 212.75 through 16 games of qualifying. Liz Johnson, Julia Bond, Anita Arnett, and Thashaina Seraus round out the Team Storm players in the Top 10. USBC and PWBA Hall of Fame Member, Leanne Hulsenberg averaging 225.75 to jump into 14th place. Her 1806 set was the second highest set of all 108 players on Day 2.

Watch some of the styles of Team Storm competing at the US Open in this video.

Qualifying at the US Open continues Thursday where the field will be cut to the top 36 players.

Bowling fans can follow all the action LIVE on BowlTV. More info can be found by visiting pwba.com

USBC Open Championships

Team Storm player, Dan Higgins, led his team to success at the USBC Open Championships over the weekend. The members of Higgy's Aquarium took over the lead of the team event with a 3,362 total. The team marked all but one frame. Higgins put together a 755 set using two Phaze IIs and an !Q Tour.

"My performance is a credit to my team, and how they help me," said Higgins in the USBC Release. "I'm all about being clean and accurate, but without this team, my job is a lot harder. It's great to have the chemistry we have, everyone pulling for one another, and no one in it for themselves."

He shared his thoughts on the event with past OC Champion Matt McNiel in this interview.

Higgy's Aquarium took home the Team All-Events title in 2016. They finished second in 2017 and 2018.

Read more about the success of Higgy's Aquarium here.


Gazmine Mason Visits I PROMISE School

Team Storm Member and PWBA Tour Rookie, Gazmine “GG” Mason was recently invited to share her story through sports and interact with the students at the I PROMISE school in Akron, Ohio.

The LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools partnered to design a brand new school for the public school students in Akron. According to their website, “a culmination of years of on-the-ground work and research-based interventions through LeBron’s I PROMISE program, the I PROMISE School will be more than a 1st - 8th grade academic institution. It will infuse APS’s rigorous curriculum with a STEM, hands-on, problem-based learning focus with LJFF’s ’We Are Family’ philosophy to create a complete wraparound for its students and their families.”

The I PROMISE students were able to ask Mason questions about her journey through youth and college bowling and she was able to share how she has persevered. The school also set up an inflatable bowling set and also some plastic bowling pins so that all the students could bowl with Mason and learn a little about the sport of bowling. Her favorite part of the day was being able to say the student promise with the kids.

“All I know is that they inspired me more then they know,” Mason said. “These kids are brilliant and so special!”

Mason said in her blog. “I PROMISE kids, family, faculty, staff, LeBron James, friends & family, and Akron, I appreciate and love you all! An unforgettable, eye-opening experience that I will forever be grateful for!”

A graduate of Nebraska, Mason is currently competing on her first year on the PWBA Tour. A few of her goals for the season are to make cuts consistently, win at least one event, and make it to the PWBA Tour Championship in Richmond.

If you get the opportunity to meet Mason on the lanes this summer, you’ll find out quickly that her passion for the sport of bowling is contagious. She hopes to inspire the next generation of youth athletes to set their goals high and work hard.

“DREAM BIG and work towards that dream every single day no matter what ANYONE says.” Mason said.

 

Photo Credit: I Promise School


Danielle McEwan Wins Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open

It all came down to the 10th frame at the 2017 Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open. In the end, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, defeated Shannon Pluhowsky 226-224 to win her third PWBA title. The win earned McEwan $10,000 and a spot in the Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship in Richmond, Virginia. We caught up with Danielle between her travels to ask her some questions about her most recent win.

It means a lot that I was not only able to compete but able to walk away with a title from an event in my own state.

CBS Sports aired the Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open where you earned your third PWBA title this week? What did it mean to you to take home that title for a tournament that was hosted in your home state?

It was awesome to have a PWBA stop in New York, my home state. Even though Rochester isn't very close to where I live, I grew up bowling high school and other state tournaments all over the state. Therefore, I found myself constantly bumping into people that started conversations with phrases such as "I haven't seen you since high school" at this tournament.

What were your favorite Storm Bowling Balls in your bag this summer?

All of them!! The patterns we bowled on this summer were so drastically different from weekend to weekend, having multiple options to choose from allowed me to be consistent each week. Some of my favorites that stand out are the Sure Lock, Phaze II and Code Red.

What have you been up to during the off-weeks of the PWBA Tour on the road to the PWBA Tour Championships?

They may have been off weeks for the PWBA tour, but they haven't been off weeks for me by any means. I just got home from traveling to Sweden for the World Bowling Tour event. I now will have 3 days to get back on this time zone, get some good quality practice days on the lanes and in the gym and then it's off to Richmond!

What do you plan to do on the off-season?

Over the last few years, I've competed on the PWBA tour, the PBA tour, the World Bowling Tour, as well as represent Team USA in multiple international competitions. Therefore, there is really no off season for me. As soon as the PWBA Tour Championship wraps up, I will be training with Team USA and will then go right into another World Bowling Tour event in Thailand. The rest of the year will then be spent competing against the guys!

Do you have advice for bowlers who might be thinking about going out to test their skills on the PBA Tour or PWBA tour?

The advice I always give people who ask how to get to this point is to plan out your stepping stone path. For me, my path started with high school bowling, which led to college bowling, which led to Jr. Team USA then Team USA, and then out to competing on tour. For others that might mean competing in local tournaments, to regional events, to national events.

If your goal is to compete on the highest level on either tour - set a game plan on how to get there and work hard every day for it.

What’s one thing about yourself that fans might not know about you?

I love flying and I love airports. It's just recently become a new obsession- 100% related to my travel schedule over the last few years. In addition to constantly booking flights, I find myself doing research and reading tons of articles and blogs on different planes, airports and everything that has to do with travel. If you ever have any questions about seats on different aircrafts, fare classes, upgrades, the best places to eat in any given airport or the best way to argue with airline representatives, I can definitely help you out!