Team USA women second halfway through trios at 2017 World Bowling Championships


Team USA's Kelly Kulick rolled a 257 game to end the opening round of trios at the 2017 World Bowling Championships, but the digits represented more than just a number on the scoreboard.

As the 11-day event progresses, things are taking shape for Kulick and her teammates, both in the standings and on the lanes at the South Point Bowling Plaza in the form of angles and ball motion.

All competitors at the 2017 World Championships now have navigated through six games of singles, six games of doubles and three of the six games of trios qualifying, all with two common goals in mind - conquer the 39-foot Beijing oil pattern and win as many medals as possible.

"For me, more women on the pair now means more breakdown and more friction, and I bowl better when there's a higher amount of friction because I can get farther inside than most of the other ladies," Kulick said. "We're progressing each day by paying more attention to shapes than where the ball is crossing at the arrows and the breakpoint. It's about controlling the pocket, and when that happens, we're able to have those 230 and 250 games."

Kulick has performed better each day, including a bronze-medal effort in doubles Tuesday with Danielle McEwan, and she feels that through trial and error, making mistakes and watching the ball reaction of other players as closely as her own, things are becoming clearer.

The 40-year-old right-hander was joined in trios Wednesday by McEwan and Shannon O'Keefe, and although they know they still have some adjustments to make, they did walk off the lanes as the squad leaders with a 1,910 three-game total.

When competition concluded for the day, they were second behind a talented trio from Indonesia - Professional Women's Bowling Association standout Tannya Roumimper (670), Sharon Limansantoso (663) and Putty Armein (630), who combined for a 1,963 total.

Kulick started the first day of trios with games of 197 and 235 on the way to a 689 series and was followed by McEwan (632) and O'Keefe (589).

Germany is third with 1,904, Singapore is fourth with 1,893 and the other group of Team USA women, Stefanie Johnson (615), Shannon Pluhowsky (599) and Josie Barnes (552), are in 18th place with a 1,766 total.TeamUSATriosWomen2ForWeb250x140

The strong finish certainly helped Kulick feel more comfortable and confident with where she's playing and what equipment she's throwing, but she now must figure out how to get out to a faster start each day, especially with only six-game totals determining the four semifinalists in each event.

"The older I get, the tighter my muscles are, so I'm focusing on the things that will help me loosen up the troublesome areas that have affected my flexibility early on," said Kulick, who shot 1,154 in singles and 1,265 in doubles. "Whether I have to get up early, take a hot bath or shower, stretch, run, jog in place - I'll do whatever it takes to loosen things up. When I can be aggressive and feel like I can throw it, that's when I feel like I have miss room."

TeamUSATriosMen1ForWeb250x140The Team USA men ended the first day of trios fifth and 25th in the standings with 1,908 and 1,806 totals.

AJ Johnson (680), Jakob Butturff (620) and Chris Via (608) are 11 pins out of the top four with three games to go, while Marshall Kent (707), Tommy Jones (569) and Chris Barnes (530) will have a little more work to do.

Japan leads with 2,018 and is followed by Korea (1,957), Sweden (1,946) and Germany (1,919).

Each round of competition has given the Team USA coaches and players the opportunity to try different things, hoping to find the right combination of bowling balls, surface, angles and moves, all while remembering that everyone else is doing the same thing, so the lanes likely won't place exactly the same from one day to the next.

"I like where we are now, but we're still learning and developing, taking information from what we're doing well and what adjustments we're making, but we also have to consider that the dynamics of the field will change as other teams adjust, too," Team USA head coach Rod Ross said. "The team event is the big picture, but our focus right now is making the medal round for trios. We're here to win as many medals as we can as a team, and we'll continue working and making the adjustments necessary to help make that happen, one event at a time."TeamUSATriosMen2ForWeb250x140

The Team USA coaching staff this week includes USBC Gold coach and Junior Team USA head coach Bryan O'Keefe and Team USA assistant coach Mark Baker, a USBC Silver coach.

Competition continues with three squads of trios Thursday, beginning at noon Eastern, and the top four teams will advance to Sunday's semifinals.

The men's and women's semifinals will take place simultaneously Sunday, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern.

The 2017 World Championships will run until Dec. 4. The final two days of competition will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel to a worldwide audience.

This year's tournament is a combined men's and women's event, which happens every four years. The 2013 World Championships at nearby Sunset Station in Henderson, Nevada, also was a combined event.

The field includes 213 men from 36 countries and 176 women from 30 countries.

Countries participating this year in Las Vegas include: Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States, Ukraine, Venezuela and Wales.

For more information on the 2017 World Championships, visit