RESULTS: Team USA Trials homepage
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. - In the race to earn the fewest points at this year's United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials, Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Kyle King of Glendale, Ariz., lead the field after two rounds at Texas Star Lanes.
Johnson leads the women's field with four points (one point for first place in Round 1 and three points for third place in Round 2), while King is on top in the men's division with 10 points (five in Round 1 and five in Round 2).
The players in the field earn points based on their finishing position each round. After four rounds, the man and women with the least amount of points will be crowned champions.
Johnson, who was in 32nd place after five games Wednesday, finished with games of 267 and 268 to bolt up the standings and put herself in a strong position with two rounds remaining. Johnson finished third in the second round with a seven-game total of 1,581.
"I helped myself a lot those last two games, but it's not over yet because there's a lot of bowling left," Johnson said. "I didn't have a problem hitting the pocket all day, I just couldn't carry. Once they broke down and opened up, I got to the right spot with the right ball."
Leanne Hulsenberg of Roseville, Calif., sits just behind Johnson in second place with five points. Hulsenberg finished third in the opening round and second in Round 2. Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., is third overall with 10 points, while Diandra Asbaty of Chicago is fourth with 18 points.
In the men's division, King has put together a pair of two fifth-place finishes in taking the lead. He totaled 1,630 for seven games in the second round and holds a four-point lead over Adam Johnson of Oswego, Ill., who is second with 14 points.
Christopher Via of Springfield, Ohio, and Roger Petrin of Matthews, N.C., each have 29 points, but Via occupies the third position by virtue of a higher total pinfall.
"My thing was to try and keep the ball in the pocket because every pin is valuable right now," King said. "The thing is, your position is never secure. I have to treat tomorrow as a new day and bowl well the rest of the way."
The top three men and top three women in the standings after all four rounds will earn automatic spots on Team USA for 2012. If Johnson or any other bowler who has already been selected for Team USA in 2012 finishes among the top three, the automatic spot drops to the next player in the standings.
In addition to the automatic spots on Team USA, the National Selection Committee, which is led by Team USA head coach Rod Ross, will select two men and two women as at-large selections to Team USA.
A total of eight Junior Team USA spots - four boys and four girls - also will be available. The top two boys and top two girls in the final points standings will earn automatic spots, while two boys and two girls spots will be at-large selections taken from either the Team USA Trials field or the finals field from the USBC Junior Gold Championships held in July 2011. All bowlers 20 and under as of Jan. 1, 2012 are eligible for Junior Team USA.
A total of 225 bowlers are competing this week with 145 in the men's field and 80 in the women's field. It's the highest entry count for the event since 2007 in Reno, Nev., when 233 bowlers took part.
All rounds of the Team USA Trials are being broadcast on BowlTV, which can be found at YouTube.com/BowlTV.