Classified leaderboards shaken up at 2018 USBC Open Championships

By Matt Cannizzaro and Christine Nichols
USBC Communications

The Classified Division leaderboards were overhauled Monday at the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, as new leaders emerged in doubles, singles and all-events.

Jochen Rehbein of Lindenfels, Germany, showed his versatility by conquering two oil patterns on the way to the lead in Classified All-Events with a 1,718 total, which also included a stop at the top of the Classified Singles leaderboard with a 622 set.

Earlier on the same squad at the Oncenter Convention Center, Adam Valentinas of Palos Park, Illinois, and Daniel Hartmont of Orland Park, Illinois, raised the bar in Classified Doubles with a 1,097 effort.

On Friday afternoon, OH NO Team 2, also from Orland Park, made a run at the top spot in Classified Team, ultimately settling into second place with a 2,331 total. Leading Classified Team this year is 2 Legit 2 Split of Mount Ayr, Iowa, with 2,386.

Bill Michalski of Syracuse, New York, previously held the lead in Classified All-Events with 1,693, Juan Cavazos of Clinton, Iowa, was the leader in Classified Singles with 617 and Robert Johnson of Stansbury Park, Utah, and Kenneth Poulsen of West Valley City, Utah, topped the Classified Doubles standings with 1,082.

Rehbein finished his ninth visit to the USBC Open Championships with games of 231, 201 and 190, and any frustration he felt from a missed spare in his final frame was replaced by surprise and satisfaction when he found out he was leading two events.

"I had no idea what I needed," said Rehbein, who had a 610 series in team and 486 in doubles this week in Syracuse. "I saw what I had, but I tried to stay focused. I saw (the media relations person) recording my last frames, and I thought, 'oh what is going on over here?'"

The 47-year-old left-hander now is in the enviable position of having to nervously wait for thousands of bowlers to make their way to the Salt City to take their own shots at Open Championships glory.

The event just reached its halfway point and will run daily until July 8, so Rehbein must wait another seven weeks to see if his scores will hold up. There's a challenge though - Rehbein does not have internet at home.

"I never thought I would be in this position, where I would be leaving the tournament leading not only singles, but all-events, too," Rehbein said. "Every bowler bowling in the Open Championships tries hard to achieve an Eagle, and this would be something indescribable. I will check the leaderboard every so often until I get back to Germany, but I don't have internet at home."

ValentinasAdamHartmontDaniel2018OCForWeb250x140Valentinas and Hartmont, who both regularly bowl at Rolling Lanes in Countryside, Illinois, will have to endure the same wait, of course, but they'll be able to sweat it out together.

In their first tournament as doubles partners, the duo combined for games of 374, 299 and 424. Hartmont led the way with 206, 157 and 240 for a 603 series, and Valentinas contributed 168, 142 and 184 for 494.

When Valentinas, a 38-year-old left-hander, missed a 4 pin in his final frame, Hartmont had an opportunity to deliver in a crucial moment, and his clutch final-frame double sealed their place atop the standings.

"It was a team effort," said Valentinas, who made his fourth tournament appearance. "Daniel handled the pressure very well. He knew what he needed, and he stepped up and delivered."

The 59-year-old right-hander already feels like a winner, but if their number stays in the lead until the end of the tournament, he'll add his name to the elite list of champions in the 115-year history of the Open Championships.

"I take it one game at a time, and I have confidence in myself and my teammates," Hartmont said. "I also try to inspire and motivate my teammates. After Adam missed his single-pin spare, I knew I had to double. I tripped the 6 pin for the second strike of the 10th frame and sealed it."

Valentinas was consistent in his 2018 tournament campaign, adding sets of 498 in singles and 434 in team for a career-best 1,426 all-events total.

Hartmont saved his best for doubles, and his 603 series was his second 600 set in 12 tournament appearances. His first was a 632 series in singles during his debut at the 2007 event in Reno, Nevada. He added 469 in team and 450 in singles this year for a 1,522 all-events total.

"I never thought about taking the lead in doubles," Valentinas said. "I knew with how well Daniel was bowling, we would have a good shot. I like being in the position of having to check the leaderboard periodically, and winning the Classified Doubles title would be a surreal feeling."

OHNOTeam2OC2018ForWeb250x140In OH NO Team 2's run toward the top of the standings Friday, Robert Taksas led the way with a 561 series and was followed by Jeff Taksas (482), Kevin Dressel (452), Pennie Davidson (420) and Nick Palmer (416).

Classified Team includes five-player teams with combined entering averages of 900 and below, Classified Doubles includes pairs with combined entering averages of 360 and below and Classified Singles and Classified All-Events include individuals with entering averages of 180 and below.

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