USA's Clemmer and Bailey advance to doubles semifinals at 2018 World Youth Championships


Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, set a goal of winning a medal in every event during her debut at the World Bowling Youth Championships, and she's perfect through two events after earning a place in the doubles semifinals with Taylor Bailey of Joliet, Illinois.

The two averaged more than 218 as a pair during their six games of doubles qualifying Sunday at Thunderbowl Lanes, and they grabbed the No. 2 seed for Monday's bracket-style semifinals with a 2,621 total.

Clemmer, a 20-year-old right-hander, set the pace for the duo with a 1,361 individual effort, while Bailey, also 20 and right-handed, added 1,260. They surged toward the top of the standings with games of 506 and 514 in their fourth and fifth games of the day, and they finished the outing 52 pins behind Mexico's Paola Limon and Raquel Orozco (2,673).2018WYCMexicoGirlsDoublesForWeb250x140

The top four teams in each division (girls and boys) will bowl for gold, silver and bronze medals, starting with the girls Monday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. The second half of the boys field will bowl its six qualifying games Monday morning, and the boys semifinals will get underway at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Clemmer and Bailey, who also are teammates at McKendree University, will meet Sweden's Alida Molander and Cajsa Wegner in one semifinal, and Limon and Orozco will face Canada's Dakota Faichnie and Mykaela Mitchell in the other. The Swedes qualified third with a 2,591 total, and the Canadians had 2,585.

"This feeling is incredible," said Clemmer, who claimed a pair of collegiate national titles with Bailey and the Bearcats in 2017. "I bowl with Taylor a lot in college, but this is a whole different ball game. Being able to do this with her means a lot to me and makes me very emotional because she's my best friend. It's also incredible to say I've medaled in two events so far."

The eight days of bowling at the 2018 World Youth Championships include singles, doubles, team and Masters competition. Semifinal winners in each event move on to bowl for the gold medals, and semifinal losers each receive bronze medals.

Clemmer's week started with bronze in singles. She lost to eventual champion, Nanami Irie of Japan in the semifinals and just missed a title-match meeting with her Junior Team USA teammate, Caitlyn Johnson, who earned the silver medal.

The competitive journey for Clemmer and Bailey has featured much celebration, including winning at both the National Collegiate Athletic Association Bowling Championship and Intercollegiate Team Championships in 2017.

A year later, though, they learned some tough, but valuable, lessons as they settled for runner-up finishes at both tournaments.

They've been able to live through and learn so much from the ups and downs, all while under the leadership of McKendree bowling coaches, Bryan and Shannon O'Keefe.

A main lesson from the O'Keefes is that you only can control what you can control. Once the ball leaves your hand, the result is between the ball and the pins. Bryan O'Keefe also is the head coach for Junior Team USA.

"Taylor and I roomed together freshman year and got very close, and sharing the two national championships, as well as some tough losses, really helped us all bond as teammates," Clemmer said. "It would mean the world to me to be able to finish this off together tomorrow. She's dreamed of being on Junior Team USA for years, and here we are at the World Championships together. It would mean so much to win."

In their final game Sunday, Bailey struggled on the way to a 152 finish and was afraid she'd cost them a shot at the medal round. But, the whole event, and concept of the Team USA program, are about camaraderie, support, picking each other up and using every opportunity as a chance to learn.

"I didn't bowl the greatest last game today, and I thought I let Breanna down, so finding out we made it feels incredible," Bailey said. "Yesterday was a good day, so I came in today with the same mindset, which was to make good shots. At the same time, you have to be sure not to let yesterday or tomorrow affect today's performance. This is everything I've ever wanted, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Junior Team USA's Mabel Cummins of Elburn, Illinois (1,328), and Johnson, from Rockwell, North Carolina (1,185), finished eighth Sunday with a 2,513 total.

HahlenLow2018WYCDoublesForWeb637x359Two of the four Junior Team USA boys - Bryan Hahlen of Greenwood, South Carolina, and defending doubles champion Wesley Low Jr. of Palmdale, California, both two-handers - bowled Sunday, too, but they will end up short of the medal round and a repeat win for Low.

Hahlen (1,292) and Low (1,210) combined for a 2,502 total, which was 10th among the 33 boys doubles teams that competed Sunday. The remainder of the field will take the lanes Monday at 9 a.m. Eastern.

Sweden's Emanuel Jonsson and William Svensson set the pace in boys doubles Sunday with a 2,678 total, a 223.17 team average. They were followed by singles gold medalist Georg Skryten and Jonas Dammen of Norway (2,633), Aidan Poh and Jomond Chia of Singapore (2,627) and Japan's Hideaki Hata and Yuma Haraguchi (2,625).

Junior Team USA's Jeffery Mann and Cortez Schenck will make their doubles run Monday morning.

Doubles medals will be awarded Monday evening, and bowlers at the 2018 World Youth Championships will be back on the lanes Tuesday and Wednesday to compete for the coveted team titles. The event's top performers will advance to Masters match play Thursday and Friday.

The World Youth Championships is held every two years, and the 2018 edition has brought more than 200 competitors from 37 countries to the Detroit area to bowl for medals in singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters competition.

World Bowling is providing livestream coverage of the event, and bowling fans from around the globe will be able to watch the competition live from start to finish. Coverage will include all qualifying, semifinal and final rounds.

For more information on the 2018 World Youth Championships or to watch the livestream, visit