Junior Team USA's Stretch wins silver medal at 2024 IBF Youth World Cup

Women's Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals
Men's Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals

LIMA, Peru – Jenna Stretch of Auburn Township, Ohio, won the women’s silver medal at the 2024 International Bowling Federation Youth World Cup in Lima, Peru, on Friday, giving the 19-year-old right-hander a medal during her debut tournament as a member of Junior Team USA.

Stretch reached the podium by going 2-1 on the day at VIDENA Bowling Center of La Villa Deportiva Nacional (VIDENA), defeating top seed Nora Johansson of Sweden (237-234; 208-189) in the quarterfinals and Colombia’s Sara Duque (152-148; 186-178) in the semis before falling to Costa Rica’s Elena Weinstok (184-207; 205-228) in the gold-medal match.

Duque went on to claim the women’s bronze medal thanks to a 210-207, 225-212 victory over Singapore’s Ning Tay.

Although Stretch would certainly have loved to run the table to claim gold, she was far from disappointed with her silver-medal performance.

“I was just grateful for the opportunity to come here and represent Junior Team USA for the first time, so to have this result feels really great,” Stretch said. “I gave it my all during that last match; she (Weinstok) just bowled pretty good.”

Stretch bowled quite well on Friday herself, however; she had to or else she never would’ve earned the opportunity to take on Weinstok for the gold medal.

Stretch’s first match of the day pitted her against Sweden’s Johansson, who dominated the women’s field during the latter stages of qualifying and Thursday’s round-robin matches to secure the No. 1 seed heading into the final day of competition.

None of that intimidated Stretch though; instead, she just stayed focused on her own game rather than worrying about what Johansson was doing.

“Nora (Johansson) is a fierce competitor, and she bowled great all week, so I wasn’t sure how things were going to go,” Stretch said. “I just tried to stay patient and calm, hit the pocket and make my spares. I took the breaks that I was given, and it worked out in my favor.”

Both bowlers needed breaks during the semifinals as a tricky pair of lanes led to low scores and the need for a great deal of patience from both Stretch and Colombia’s Duque; nevertheless, just as she had all week long, Stretch found a way to grind, survive and advance.

“I struggled with that pair (Lanes 15-16) all week, but my opponent was also struggling, so it was a spare battle sort of match where both of us just wanted to hit the pocket,” Stretch said. “I knew that I just needed to stay calm and get all the pins I could, and that ended up being enough.

“After that, I went into the title match feeling like whatever happened, I was just grateful to be on the podium, especially during my first time competing for the team. It feels really good.”

Sweden’s Robin Ilhammar brought home the men’s gold medal by topping Germany’s Zeno Janssen by scores of 300-225 and 233-194. Lukas Jelinek of the Czech Republic got past Malaysia’s Megat Zaqrul Msiqal (224-223; 196-192) to win bronze.

Junior Team USA’s Carter Street of Dublin, Ohio, finished 11th during Thursday’s round-robin match-play block and was eliminated from medal contention.
Friday marked the final day of the 2024 Youth World Cup, which kicked off on Jan. 21 and concludes this evening when athletes and coaches will take part in the closing ceremonies and banquet.

For tournament results, standings and information, visit the Peruvian Bowling Federation’s website, FEDEPERUBOWLING.com/World-Youth-Cup.

For more information on Junior Team USA, visit BOWL.com/JuniorTeamUSA.