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.
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.
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.
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.