Butturff, Johnson front-runners at 2019 Pan Am Trials

Results - Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Overall | Total Points

ARLINGTON, Texas - After four days of competition across four challenging lane conditions, Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, and Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas, are the front-runners in Team USA's qualifying process for the 2019 Pan American Games.

This week's Pan Am Trials at the International Training and Research Center accounted for 60 percent of the performance-based qualifying process for the 2019 Pan American Games, which will be held in Lima, Peru, from July 26-Aug. 11.

Players bowled six games each day and earned points based on their daily finishes. Points also were awarded for their 24-game pinfall totals.

Butturff landed atop the men's standings on each of the first three days and finished third Friday. The 24-year-old left-hander pulled ahead of the field early in the week, thanks to a pair of 300 games, and he averaged 236.54 on the way to a 24-game total of 5,677, nearly 400 pins ahead of Nick Pate of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota (5,293).

"It's definitely a great feeling to be in this position and having been able to bowl well today on a pattern I've struggled on in the past," said Butturff, a three-time Team USA member. "It's nice to have the lead heading into the (United States Bowling Congress) Masters, which is being held in Las Vegas in a center I grew up in. There's still a long way to go, though, and I just want to bowl the best I can."

The near-perfect week earned Butturff eight points in the men's standings, followed by Pate (16), EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana (18), AJ Johnson of Oswego, Illinois (28), and Darren Tang of San Francisco (33).

Johnson, a 35-year-old right-hander, was consistent on the women's side, finishing second during the event's first three days and fifth Friday. She averaged 212.42 and led the nine-player women's field with a 5,098 pinfall total.

Johnson's consistency netted her 13 points, followed by newly elected USBC Hall of Famer Kelly Kulick of Union New Jersey (21), Shannon O'Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, and Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, who are tied with 26 points, and Sydney Brummett of Fort Wayne, Indiana (29).

Nine women and 10 men competed this week at the ITRC. The 2019 Team USA roster includes 12 women and 13 men.

"This week definitely was a challenge with a unique format, basically a new tournament every day, so I just focused on one day at a time," said Johnson, who has been on Team USA since 2005. "I came in with the mindset of making good shots, keeping my ball in play and making spares. That's really what got me where I am now, and that game plan's not going to change moving forward. I hope I can keep riding the wave into Queens and finish strong."

This week's competition was the first portion of a two-part qualifying process for the 2019 Pan American Games.

The team members tested their skills on World Bowling oil patterns ranging in length from 36-44 feet. Over the four days, they faced the 41-foot Rome pattern, 36-foot Stockholm, 44-foot London and 39-foot Beijing.

ParkinPate2019PanAmForWeb250x140The final day of competition ended with Pate at the top of the standings with a 1,321 six-game total. He was followed by Tackett (1,303) and Butturff, who finished with a 255 game and 1,293 total.

Parkin, the top performer in Tuesday's first round, closed the event in the lead for the second time. She posted a 1,277 total Friday and was followed by Kulick (1,242) and 2018 U.S. Women's Open champion Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York (1,210).

The process will conclude for the men at the 2019 USBC Masters and the women at the 2019 USBC Queens, where they'll again be assigned points based on their finishes in qualifying and in their respective match-play brackets. The major events will count for the remaining 40 percent of the qualifying process.

The top two men and top two women will earn the opportunity to represent the United States at the 2019 Pan American Games.

"There's still a lot of work to be done to qualify for the Pan Am Games, but I'm happy with my start and looking forward to the next part of the process," Johnson said. "This is the event we have that's the closest to the Olympics, so getting the opportunity to go, and the chance to march in the opening parade while wearing the red, white and blue, would be amazing."

This year's Pan Am Games will bring together approximately 6,700 athletes and feature 39 sports and 62 disciplines.

The Pan Am Games are the second largest multi-sport event, gathering the 41 National Olympic Committees that make up PanamSports and are held every fourth year. The Games last were contested in Toronto in July 2015. Bowling made its debut at the event as a demonstration sport in 1983.

The first edition of the Pan Am Games was held in Buenos Aires in 1951 and welcomed 22 countries competing in 18 sports.

Visit BOWL.com/TeamUSA for more information about the athlete selection process for the Pan Am Games and to learn more about the Team USA program.