Defending Classified champions savor time in spotlight at 2018 USBC Open Championships

By Matt Cannizzaro and Fran Piraino
USBC Communications

A year ago, Dwayne Brossett of Natchitoches, Louisiana, and Wiley Collins of Winter Springs, Florida, reached the pinnacle of the bowling world as they claimed titles at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

Both were first-time participants at the 2017 event in Las Vegas and didn't know exactly what to expect when taking to the tournament lanes for the first time, but it didn't take long for them to understand the magnitude of their success at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

Brossett emerged as the 2017 Classified All-Events champion with a 1,745 nine-game total, while Collins saved his best for last and claimed the Classified Singles title with a 652 series.

This week, the two returned to the USBC Open Championships a day apart to put those titles on the line at the Oncenter Convention Center.

While their results in their sophomore campaigns didn't equal their inaugural success, both soaked in the celebrity status that comes with winning a coveted Eagle at the world's largest participatory sporting event.

The modest Brossett appreciated the added perks, which including receiving his championship watch in front of his peers Saturday before their team event and then seeing a gold cup next to his name on the scoreboard for the first time, a designation given to all champions anytime they compete in the tournament.

"It's humbling," Brossett said. "I'm very competitive, and I enter a lot of competitions. To accomplish what I accomplished last year is awesome."

This time around, the 62-year-old right-hander posted sets of 483 in doubles, 479 in team and 389 in singles for a 1,351 all-events total. Isaac Wake of Versailles, Indiana, leads Classified All-Events this year with 1,754.

CollinsWiley2018OCForWeb637x359Collins also enjoyed the spotlight and coming in this year as a defending champion.

"That's pretty cool to see the cup next to your name," Collins said. "It's quite the experience to see something like that. I enjoyed it."

In his title defense at the Oncenter Convention Center, the 51-year-old right-hander posted games of 188, 149 and 176 for a 513 series. Jochen Rehbein of Germany leads Classified Singles this year with 622.

Coleman added sets of 491 in team and 465 in doubles for a 1,469 all-events total.

Both Brossett and Collins conceded that nervousness played a role in their second Open Championship appearances. In Las Vegas, they were oblivious to the pressure as unknown tournament rookies.

"Last year, I was excited more so than nervous," Brossett said. "This year, that's all there was (nerves). Last year, it was all new. I was excited about being there. This time, I was nervous. I felt like the spotlight was on me. There's the pressure of trying to do good on top of doing what you did before."

Collins felt the nerves, too, but tried to stay focused on what brought him to the Open Championships to begin with - enjoying the experience and time with friends and teammates.

"I was nervous yesterday a little bit for team," Collins said. "In doubles and singles, there was no expectations. We come to have fun and just enjoy the day."

With their second tournament appearances in the books, the Open Championships remains special to both bowlers. They look forward to returning to Las Vegas in 2019.

"I'm going to describe it as one of the ultimate bowling competitions in the United States," Brossett said. "You have all kinds of bowlers, and they all come together to compete. This has been going on for 115 years. I'll tell you, it is unbelievable how it is all coordinated, and we get to come and have fun."

Again, even though there won't be another Eagle on the mantle in 2018, Collins now may be hooked on the Open Championships.

"It's definitely fun to do," Collins added. "I probably didn't do as good as I wanted, but I still held my own. It's all good. We'll be back again next year."

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