Success continues for young bowler at 2014 USBC Open

RENO, Nev. - Jon Trzcinski of Bay Shore, N.Y., has a resume that includes experience and success with one of the decade's most dominant collegiate bowling programs, and that helped get the attention of United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer John Gaines, a four-time winner at the USBC Open Championships, bowling's premier team tournament.

Despite making just his second trip to the Open Championships, and first with Gaines and his Lodge Lanes teams, Trzcinski didn't show any signs of nerves or intimidation while sharing the lanes with a group that includes more than a century of tournament experience, 10 titles and a handful of honor scores on the championship lanes.

Instead, the 23-year-old right-hander calmly bowled his way into the top five in four events at the National Bowling Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday.

His sophomore appearance at the Open Championships ended with nine consecutive strikes for an 802 series, which is the fifth 800 of this year's event and tied for second in Regular Singles. The effort catapulted him to a 2,196 all-events total and fifth place in Regular All-Events.

Louis Jenkins Jr. of Warr Acres, Okla., leads singles with 826, and 2013 Team All-Events champion Anthony LaCaze of Melrose Park, Ill., tops the all-events standings this year with 2,273.

"I'm a numbers guy, so I was able to add it up in my head, but I didn't know what the leaderboard said, and my focus was on going up there and making good shots," said Trzcinski, who had games of 243, 289 and 270 in singles. "I was definitely emotional after. I'm a very intense and emotional person, but I tried to stay calm on every shot. When it was done with, though, it was nice to let it all go."

LodgeLanesKids2014_465x262Trzcinski's efforts helped Lodge Lanes Kids of Orlando, Fla., into third place in Regular Team on Tuesday with 3,527, and they were able to continue the momentum as a group during doubles and singles, moving into second place in Team All-Events with a 10,205 total. Janz H.I. of Beaver Dam, Wis., leads with 10,363.

Jeff Ussery added a 2,073 all-events total for Lodge Lanes Kids and was followed by Shawn Lee, who had a 300 game at the 2008 event in Albuquerque, N.M. (2,006), Matt Gilman (1,981) and Aaron Lorincz (1,949).

The team success was similar, yet different, than what he experienced as a member of the Webber International University team that claimed the men's titles at the XBowling Intercollegiate Team Championships and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Invitational in 2012.

"This definitely is still very intense, but in a different way because it's only three games of team and nine games overall," Trzcinski said. "It was amazing to see 10 people work as one, and it's nice to see what can happen with nine sets of eyes behind you and everyone there for each other."

Trzcinski was hand-picked by Gaines, with support from his teammates, creating a dynamic similar to Gaines' own career at the Open Championships, where he developed an appreciation for the importance and tradition of the event under the tutelage of USBC Hall of Famer Bob Goike two decades ago.

Gaines even named his teams this year in honor of Goike and their teams that found so much success in the 1990s, including back-to-back Team All-Events titles in 1997 and 1998.

Lodge Lanes Kids and Lodge Lanes Too, the defending Regular Team champion, include a balance of bowling, coaching and equipment knowledge, tournament experience and success and raw talent. Gaines and Trzcinski have worked hard in recent months to further develop some of that talent.

"Jon had some winning experience in the team setting, and the other guys agreed he was a great player and would be a good fit for our group," said Gaines, who also won Regular Singles in 1998. "We have worked on a few things physically, we worked a lot on communication, so I could learn what he sees and says and how to verbalize things to him and I expressed how important it is to manage and maintain an even demeanor while we're out there."

Although the four members of Lodge Lanes Too who were at the NBS this week will not repeat in the team event, their 3,321 total Tuesday helped fuel their own move up the Team All-Events standings Wednesday. The settled into seventh place with 10,109.

Two-time Open Championships titlist Mitch Jabczenski made his 42nd consecutive tournament appearance and set the pace for Lodge Lanes Too with a career-best 2,094 all-events effort. He was followed by three-time winner and 2014 Team USA member John Janawicz (2,063), former Team USA member Vernon Peterson (2,046), Gaines (1,969) and Ron Dixon (1,937).

Dixon, who rolled an 815 series at the 2011 event, stepped in this year for Scott Newell, the fifth member of last year's winning team, who was ineligible because of his win on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour during the 2011-12 season. With Dixon, Lodge Lanes Too boasts 127 years of Open Championships experience.

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Presenting sponsors for the 2014 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.