">College bowling helps Harris find success at Junior Gold
HENDERSON, Nev. - Holly Harris of Long Prairie, Minn., has spent the past year trying to get the most out of her freshman season at Wichita State University. On Monday, she put her new-found skills to the test in the opening round of the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships presented by Brunswick.
After averaging 176.83 in last year's Junior Gold, Harris got off to a strong start at Sunset Station's Strike Zone, firing a six-game total of 1,410, a 235 average, to kick-start her tournament. Harris is among 1,600 USBC Youth bowlers competing in the Las Vegas area this week in the Junior Gold Championships.
"When I went to Wichita State, we focused a lot on staying in the present and not worrying about the past or future," Harris said. "I also worked on increasing my ball speed and worked a lot on lane play. I'm just surrounded by so many great players there that I've become a sponge trying to soak up all I can."
Harris fired games of 211, 243, 233, 233, 245 and 245 in the opening round on the 39-foot Seoul lane pattern.
"I watched the practice session after me yesterday and I felt like I was too far right on this pattern," Harris said. "I decided to move left of most of the other girls and that meant my moves were smaller and I stayed closer to the pocket."
Qualifying at the Junior Gold Championships consists of three rounds over three days. All bowlers in the field will roll 18 qualifying games before the field is cut to the top 124 boys and 62 girls (all ties advance) for the semifinals on Thursday. The top 16 boys and top 16 girls will advance to Friday's match-play finals. The semifinals and finals will be broadcast live on BOWL.com.
With two rounds of qualifying to go, Harris said she's thrilled to be off to a good start but knows there's a long road ahead.
"I'm pretty happy with the way I've started," Harris said. "I just have to have the mindset that the next squad on Tuesday is a whole new tournament. I have to keep making good shots and fill frames."
In addition to national titles and scholarships, the Junior Gold Championships also awards spots on Junior Team USA. The top four male and top four female finishers after match-play competition will automatically qualify for Junior Team USA 2012, and the National Selection Committee will award four at-large spots - two male, two female - from the pool of athletes that make match-play finals.
USBC Youth members who meet the average requirement (175 or higher for boys, 150 or higher for girls) can join the Junior Gold program and are then eligible to qualify for the USBC Junior Gold Championships. Visit BOWL.com/juniorgold for more information on the Junior Gold Championships and the Junior Gold program.