BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – The Storm Youth Championships (SYC) invited athletes and their families to travel to Fort Worth, Texas to compete at Cityview Lanes to launch the start of the 2021 Storm Youth Championships (SYC) Season. 174 youth bowlers competed in three five-game rounds on three different Kegel patterns in six divisions determined by gender and age (U18 Boys, U18 Girls, U15 Boys, U15 Girls, U12 Boys, and U12 Girls) for a national title and a portion of the $14,045.00 scholarship fund. The overall champions are decided based on total pinfall.
“SYCs are a labor of love for our team,” Leanne Hulsenberg, Tournament and Events Manager said. “Storm is a family-owned company and it’s essential for us to provide safe, fun events for families who love bowling as much as we do. Not only is it important to crown worthy champions, but we also strive to create memorable experiences for all who attend, and that includes the family members who attend too.”
It’s no secret that 2020 was a tough year for youth athletes to prepare and practice for events prior to the pandemic. Though it’s difficult for all youth bowlers, some athletes at the SYC live in areas where most bowling centers are still forced to remain closed, and families have had to be creative to find ways to keep the kids in the game. As we introduce you to our 2021 SYC Texas Champions, you’ll see stories of dedication, determination and resilience in these young athletes.
The U12 division is always a fan favorite to watch. The young bowlers in this division truly balance showcasing their skills in competition while having fun with the other young bowlers on the lanes. These competitors usually become quick friends as they bowl the 5 game blocks. In Texas, two of the youngest athletes in SYC history took to the lanes. Alex Westring (7) and Ellie Kate Murray (6) bowled in their first SYC events picking up tips. Ellie Kate was even able to capture the overall bronze medal and celebrated her seventh birthday on Sunday.
In the U12 girls division, home state favorite, Bella Love Castillo of Texas averaged 178 to earn her first SYC trophy. Castillo, a young two-hander who has bowled in SYC competitions in the past and continues to learn and grow stronger with every event she bowls. Castillo dominated the U12 girls division earning the gold in every round and leading the field by more than 400 pins. She was the only SYC athlete in the field from Texas to earn a title. Castillo will be one to watch as she continues to develop her skills in future youth bowling competition.
In Texas, U12 boy’s division was a tight race between Matteo Quintero of Tennessee and Alex Crowley of Montana. Though Crowley earned gold on both the Short and Medium Patterns Quintero averaged 231 on the Long Pattern to take the overall lead. Quintero, a member of the 2020 Storm Youth All-American Team, never stops working on his game. Since his previous SYC victory in Orlando, he has traveled to compete in tournaments all over the south and Midwest regions. Quintero averaged 206 for the event to earn his fifth consecutive SYC title in Texas.
In the U15 girls division, Avery Domaguin of California overcame obstacles to earn her second SYC title at Cityview Lanes, the same bowling center she picked up her first SYC title in 2018. In every SYC she has competed in, Domaguin demonstrates dedication to the sport and patience throughout each round. This 2-time member of the Storm All-American Team has been extremely limited on which events that she could attend in 2020 due to her father’s travel ban for work. Unlike some her friends in California she was unable to travel on the weekends to Arizona or Nevada. Her family set up a “release drill lane” at home for her to continue to practice on her release and do 1-step drills. As a family, they decided which events Domaguin would travel to compete in, and when they returned, her father was required to quarantine for 2 weeks and a COVID test before going back to work. Prior to her win in Texas, Domaguin and her mother traveled to Maryland for 6 weeks to stay with family where she was able to consistently practice for the first time in a year and successfully competed in some youth tournaments there. In Texas, she earned gold medals on both the Short and Medium averaging 212 for the event and led her division by more than 200 pins to claim the overall title.
In the U15 boys division, Elias O’Hollaren of California averaged 225 to earn his second SYC title in Texas. When bowling centers in California started closing, O’Hollaren and his dad built a platform at home where he was able to continue to practice his balance and approach drills. When some out of state tournaments started returning, O’Hollaren and his family would travel to allow him to get back on the lanes. After each event, he would evaluate his performance and talk to his coach Mark Baker about how he could improve in future events. He would also do self-evaluations and try to find ways to practice the things that he needed to work on. With centers still closed around him including his home center which recently closed permanently, his family would travel nearly two hours to find ways to get O’Hollaren on lane practice time with his coach. The dedication to the sport and sacrifices that his family made truly paid off when he earned two gold medals on the Short and Long Pattern and picked up the title.
The two athletes who took home the U18 titles at the SYC have won events on every level of competition. From local events, to regional events, to national events, and now they both are starting to test their skills against the professionals in the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) and Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) competition. They continue to break records and both set the bar higher for total number of SYC titles. In addition, these two athletes who are the first two members of the Storm Evolution Program named to Storm Staff based on their exceptional grades, community service initiatives, and success on the lanes. They have passion for the sport and have aspirations to compete at the highest levels. They also are always willing to mentor younger athletes and help them learn more about the game.
Jillian Martin of Ohio showcases her determination, advanced knowledge of lane play strategies, and enthusiasm for the sport every time she steps on the lanes. Prior to the SYC in Texas, Martin competed on the PWBA Tour in January making two final stepladders and earned the PBA Junior title in Florida. In Texas, she collected the gold medal on the short and medium patterns averaging 213 overall to earn her eighth overall title, a record number of SYC titles for the girls division. After competition is concluded, Martin is always gracious to her fellow competitors. Her dedication to the sport of bowling on the lanes is matched off the lanes in the classroom where she maintains a GPA greater than 4.0. In addition to future youth competitions, Martin plans to compete in more PBA and PWBA events in 2021.
Spencer Robarge, who also took home the PBA Junior title in Florida before traveling to the SYC continues to shatter records. Staying consistent through the first two blocks he had his best performance on the final day averaging 247 on the long pattern. He averaged 234 overall to take home his 11th SYC title. Setting records isn’t new for Robarge, he holds the record form most 300 games of a USBC Youth Player in addition to earning the most SYC titles. Robarge who serves as mentor to several youth players who were competing in the field at the SYC also gives back to the sport by serving on the Greater Springfield Youth and Missouri State Youth Board of Directors. Robarge will compete in the USBC Masters and the PBA U.S. Open in 2021. He has also committed to bowl collegiately at Wichita State University in the fall.
Both Martin and Robarge are members of the 2020 Storm Youth All-American Team.
In addition to the overall champions, the top three athletes in each division were presented a gold, silver, or bronze medal after each round.
Overall Medalists: U12 Girls– Bella Castillo (gold), Aleiya Kerrigan (silver), Ellie Kate Murray (bronze). U12 Boys- Matteo Quintero (gold), Alex Crowley (silver), Jos Weems (bronze). U15 Girls– Avery Domaguin (gold), Karina Capron (silver), Kaitlyn Stull Star (bronze). U15 Boys– Elias OHollaren (gold), Trevor Anifer (silver), Rylan Breese (bronze). U18 Girls– Jillian Martin (gold), Lara Kurt (silver), Victoria Varano (bronze). U18 Boys– Spencer Robarge (gold), Brandon Bohn (silver), Tyler Keller (bronze).
The Medalists on the Short Pattern: U12 Girls– Bella Castillo (gold), Aleiya Kerrigan (silver), Ellie Kate Murray (bronze). U12 Boys – Alex Crowley (gold), Matteo Quintero (silver), Jos Weems (bronze). U15 Girls– Avery Domaguin (gold), Kaitlyn Stull (silver), Abigail Starkey (bronze). U15 Boys – Elias O’Hollaren (gold), Trevor Anifer (silver), Gavin Murray (bronze). U18 Girls– Jillian Martin (gold), Frances Davila (silver), Lara Kurt (bronze). U18 Boys– Garrett Andrus (gold), Spencer Robarge (silver), Samuel Calderon (bronze).
The Medalists on the Medium Pattern: U12 Girls– Bella Castillo (gold), Aleiya Kerrigan (silver), Janiyah Graham (bronze). U12 Boys – Alex Crowley (gold), Matteo Quintero (silver), Anthony Swanson (bronze). U15 Girls– Avery Domaguin (gold), Charisse Graham (silver), Kara Beissel (bronze). U15 Boys– Trevor Anifer (gold), Spiros Schenk (silver), Chase Swenson (bronze). U18 Girls– Jillian Martin (gold), Lara Kurt (silver) Morgan Brookover (Bronze), U18 Boys– Julian Salinas (gold), Spencer Robarge (silver), James Bennett (bronze).
The Medalists on the Long Pattern: U12 Girls– Bella Castillo (gold), Aleiya Kerrigan (silver), Janiyah Graham (bronze). U12 Boys – Matteo Quintero (gold), Alex Crowley (silver), and Jos Weems (bronze). U15 Girls– Karina Capron (gold), Keira Magsam and Morgan Kline (silver – tie), Avery Domaguin (bronze). U15 Boys– Elias O’Hollaren (gold), Trevor Anifer (silver), Braden McDonough and Dylan Murray (bronze – tie). U18 Girls– Victoria Varano (gold), Lara Kurt (silver) Katharina Mente (Bronze). U18 Boys– Spencer Robarge (gold), Pablo Prado (silver), Joshua Abigania (bronze).
The SYC is focused on providing education through seminars in addition to fun competition to the families who choose to spend the weekend at the SYC. Ballard’s Bowling Academy and Turbo 2-N-1 Grips sponsored two socially distanced seminars. In addition, every athlete who entered the tournament received a Storm Parallax bowling ball. The event was livestreamed over the two days on the Storm Bowling Facebook Page and scores were uploaded live through the official scoring system of the Storm Youth Championships, BowlMetrix.
Josh Modelo, Rusty Dickinson, and the staff at Cityview Lanes helped to ensure a safe environment for all the participants and their families. Their support of the SYC ensures the event ran efficiently from start to finish.
Giving back is an important part of the SYC and athletes 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. BVBC also raises money for nutritional supplements and treatments for those going through the cancer journey. $10 of every entry will go directly to BVBC to continue to fight the war against cancer. SYC athletes raised $4,360 at the SYC Texas event through entries and ball raffles.
“Team BVBC would like to thank all of the SYC families for their support this past weekend at the SYC in Ft. Worth,” Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, President BVBC said. “One thing we always say is; we may never meet the people we help, but we know by the organizations we partner with that families are not left alone and get help when needed. We truly help give those families a voice when they may not have one.”
The owners of IAM Bowling, Ken and Kathy Keegan provide the apparel for the SYC. IAM Bowling is the official jersey partner and merchandizer of the SYC and creates customized jerseys to help commemorate each of the SYC events. They have also created the Dan Keegan Scholarship for youth athletes to earn scholarship to use towards their education throughout the year. They awarded two scholarships to SYC athletes based on their sportsmanship throughout the weekend. Brianna Archabal and Trevor Anifer were chosen as the recipients and will each receive a $250 scholarship.
We’re proud to partner with great companies to enhance the SYC experience at events including Storm, I Am Bowling, Kegel, Turbo 2-N-1 Grips, 3G Shoes, Master, and Ballard’s Bowling Academy. In addition, P&P Plumbing Co. Inc. and USBC North Central Texas provided local sponsorship of the event.
The 2021 SYC Tour has six events remaining on the schedule. The next event will take place in the Quad Cities May 28-30, 2021. Entries will open in April on the Storm Bowling Website. More information will be available soon for this event.
For final results of all rounds of competition and for more information on the SYC visit the Storm SYC page at www.stormbowling.com/SYC.
About the Storm Youth Championships (SYC)
The Storm Youth Championships (SYC) was created to celebrate all of the great things about youth bowling. Our goal is to bring players and families from around the country together in the spirit of competition and camaraderie. For more information visit stormbowling.com/SYC
About Storm Products, Inc.
Storm Products Inc. continues to lead the bowling industry in innovation through our high-performance bowling equipment featuring the Storm, Roto Grip, 900 Global, 3G and Master Brands. In addition to creating the highest quality of products that the top athletes choose for PBA and PWBA Tour competitions, Storm strives to continue to inspire existing bowlers, foster and develop new bowlers, and educate those in our industry to provide exemplary service to all bowlers. Visit stormbowling.com to learn more.
About Ballard vs. The Big “C” (BVBC)
BVBC was created out of love for PBA Hall-of-Famer, Del Ballard, Jr., who has survived his battle with tonsil cancer. Since forming, BVBC has raised over $200,000 to help raises funds for continued research in cancer treatment, specifically in head, neck, and throat cancer. For more information visit http://www.ballardvsthebigc.org.