Junior Team USA heads to Thailand for WYC

ARLINGTON, Texas - Eight members of Junior Team USA will compete in the 2012 World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships starting Sunday, taking on a talented field of youth bowlers from around the world.

The World Youth Championships will take place through July 3 at the Blu-O Paragon Bowling Center in Bangkok, Thailand. Medals will be up for grabs in in five events - singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters match play.

Marshall KentAndrew Koff of Miami again will represent the United States at the event after winning the all-events gold medal two years ago in Helsinki, Finland. He will be joined on the boys team by Team USA Trials champion Marshall Kent (pictured, left) of Yakima, Wash., Zack Hattori of Las Vegas and two-handed bowler Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio.

Danielle McEwanOn the girls side, Team USA Trials champion Danielle McEwan (pictured, right) of Stony Point, N.Y., will be accompanied by three-time Junior Team USA member Jessica Earnest of Vandalia, Ill., Amanda Green of Romney, W.Va., and Kelsey Muther of Topeka, Kan.

"We have a very talented team this year, and we look forward to see how they match up with the rest of the world," Team USA head coach Rod Ross said. "We had a great training camp week with Junior Team USA, and the depth of this year's team made it very hard to select the players for this competition. However, I believe they are ready, and we look forward to the competition."

The Americans will take on a tough international field, including Korea, which won six gold medals, two silver medals and five bronze medals at the 2010 World Youth Championships. Junior Team USA claimed five total medals in Helsinki.

"The international teams are very good, and are getting better every year," Ross said. "The stronger international teams do have a slight advantage as they have competed together as team in several tournaments prior to the worlds, as well as having trained together for a substantial time."

A record 50 countries are expected to compete in the 2012 World Youth Championships, with nine coming from the American Zone, 18 from the Asian Zone and 23 from the European Zone.