GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Team USA continued its strong performance at the Pan American Games on Wednesday by taking the top two spots in men's and women's singles qualifying.
All four U.S. players were among the top 16 men and top 16 women who advanced to Thursday's singles match play at Bolerama Tapatio to determine medalists.
Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., led the women's field with a 12-game total of 2,644 (220.3 average), while Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., had 2,636 (219.7 average). On the men's side, Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, led with 2,849 (237.4 average), and Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., was second with 2,763 (230.3 average).
"Once we get lined up tomorrow and don't give the pocket away, we'll be OK," Kulick said. "Hopefully Liz and I don't face each other until the finals because I would be OK with either silver or gold knowing one of us is bringing home the gold."
Barnes said they used Wednesday's competition as a way to get comfortable heading into Thursday's matches.
"Bill and I both used today as an opportunity to try a few things and this morning, especially, those things worked," Barnes said. "We also used today to get into a better rhythm and our shot making got better and better."
In the opening round and the quarterfinals Thursday, matches will be three games with the highest pinfall advancing. For the semifinals and finals, the action will shift to best-of-three matches.
Barnes will take on Art Oliver Jr. of Canada, while O'Neill will battle Rolando Sebelen of the Dominican Republic in the first round. For the women, Kulick takes on Stephanie Martins of Brazil, while Johnson will bowl Yoselin Leon of Puerto Rico.
Held every four years, the Pan American Games are the second-largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. This year, nearly 6,000 athletes from the American Zone are competing in 36 sports.
2011 PAN AMERICAN GAMES
(At Bolerama Tapatio, Guadalajara, Mexico)
(12 games; Only advancers listed)
1, Chris Barnes, United States, 2,849.
2, Bill O'Neill, United States, 2,763.
3, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 2,691.
4, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 2,660.
5, Alejandro Cruz, Mexico, 2,658.
6, Manuel Fernandez, Dominican Republic, 2,608.
7, Francisco Colon, Puerto Rico, 2,605.
8, Jose Lander, Venezuela, 2,604.
9, Santiago Mejia, Colombia, 2,601.
10, Alejandro Reyna, Costa Rica, 2,599.
11, Ernesto Franco, Mexico, 2,596.
12, Marcelo Suartz, Brazil, 2,483.
13, Andro Simounet, Puerto Rico, 2,481.
14, Mario Valverde, Costa Rica, 2,455.
15, Rolando Sebelen, Dominican Republic, 2,445.
16, Art Oliver Jr., Canada, 2,439.
1, Kelly Kulick, United States, 2,644.
2, Liz Johnson, United States, 2,636.
3, Caroline Lagrange, Canada, 2,508.
4, Sofia Rodriguez, Guatemala, 2,500.
5, Marizete Scheer, Brazil, 2,414.
6, Aumi Guerra, Dominican Republic, 2,412.
7, Jennifer Park, Canada, 2,389.
8, Karen Marcano, Venezuela, 2,369.
9, Kamilah Dammers, Aruba, 2,360.
10, Thashaina Seraus, Aruba, 2,346.
11, Aseret Zetter, Mexico, 2,338.
12, Andrea Rojas, Chile, 2,325.
13, Patricia de Faria, Venezuela, 2,312.
14, Anggie Ramirez, Colombia, 2,289.
15, Yoselin Leon, Puerto Rico, 2,282.
16, Stephanie Martins, Brazil, 2,229.