Big start powers J.Kent at Junior Gold

INDIANAPOLIS - Jacob Kent of Newark, N.Y., wants to make a name for himself as a bowler instead of being known as the son of a former professional bowling star. After the way he started the 2010 United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships, his new identity is already taking hold.

Kent put together a massive six-game block of 1,480, an average of 246.6, on Monday to kick off the tournament and followed it with 1,210 Tuesday for a 12-game total of 2,690. He will conclude qualifying Wednesday at Woodland Bowl.

More than 1,500 of the top youth bowlers in the nation began their quest for $125,000 in scholarships Monday as qualifying at the Junior Gold Championships got underway at Woodland Bowl, Western Bowl and Expo Bowl.

Kent is well-known as the son of former Professional Bowlers Association touring star Doug Kent but Jacob is striving to establish his own identity as a bowler.

"I feel like the way I have bowled the past couple years is starting to build up a name for myself," said Kent, who competed at the 2010 USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships in May. "I'm still known as Doug Kent's kid, and when I go to tournaments I have to live up to the Kent name. But I feel like I'm starting to make a name for myself now."

When he bolted to the top of the leaderboard after the first round of qualifying this week at Junior Gold, Kent's score turned heads. He had games of 196, 264, 258, 248, 234 and 280 at Expo Bowl.

"It was an incredible day because I just got in a zone and kept repeating shots," Kent said. "After awhile, I wasn't paying attention to my score at all and I looked up and saw I had six in a row during the 280 game. When I looked around at everyone else's scores and saw I was that far ahead, I was astounded. It was just a perfect day. I couldn't have asked for more."

Although his scores weren't quite as spectacular in the second round Tuesday at Western Bowl, Kent was pleased with the block he put together, finishing with games of 222, 189, 225, 194, 181 and 199.

"I struggled a bit today because the lanes were a little tougher than I expected," Kent said. "I didn't throw it as good today as I did Monday, but I still threw it decent. I still feel confident with how I'm throwing it. All my hard work is paying off. This year I match up to the patterns better than I have in the past."

Qualifying continues through Wednesday. At the end of the 18 games, the field will be cut to the top 150 males and top 78 females (all ties advance) for the semifinals. Semifinals competition, which consists of two six-game blocks, will be Thursday. The top 16 males and top 16 females will earn spots in the match-play finals, which will take place Friday and consist of 16 games of match play.

USBC plans to provide live video coverage on of the semifinals and the match-play finals. Coverage will begin at 9 a.m. (EST) each day.

In addition, the players are competing for spots on Junior Team USA. The top four male and top four female finishers after match-play competition will automatically qualify for Junior Team USA 2011, and the National Selection Committee will award four at-large spots - two male, two female - from the pool of athletes that make match-play finals.