Janawicz, Muther on top after three rounds at Team USA Trials

LAS VEGAS - John Janawicz of Winter Haven, Fla., and Kelsey Muther of Wichita, Kan., took the lead after three rounds Monday at the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials.

Janawicz picked up his second first-place finish in three rounds Monday and leads the men with 18 points, while Muther has 25 points to lead the women at The Orleans Bowling Center.

The players in the field earn points based on their finishing position in each round. After five rounds, the top three men and top three women with the least amount of points will advance to the stepladder finals Wednesday at 7 p.m. Pacific live on BowlTV.

Janawicz became the first bowler since the Team USA Trials went to a points system two years ago to win two rounds in the same year. He started Monday's third round with a 197 game and went on to average 270.4 for the last five games on the 34-foot Stockholm pattern.

PBA star Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, sits in second place with 21 points. Barnes had a chance to take the top spot in Monday's third round but left a pocket 7-10 split in his final frame of the day to finish second. Second-round leader Robert Gotchall of Lincoln, Neb., is third with 30 points.

"It's a great spot to be in, but there's still two days left, and I can't get too far ahead of myself," Janawicz said. "I have to work on some strategy before tomorrow's pattern because I don't feel too comfortable with how my look was in practice."

Muther has finishes of 17th, fifth and third so far to lead the women's division. Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, is second with 28 points, while second-round leader Sarah Lokker is third with 28 points. Ties for points are broken by total pinfall.

"We were just here bowling a college tournament last month, so it helps that I'm familiar with the surface here," said Muther, who bowls at Wichita State. "I just try not to think about the outcome and focus on making good shots every time I'm up to bowl."

Action shifts to the fourth round of the event, which will be contested on the 45-foot Mexico City pattern on Tuesday. All rounds of the Team USA Trials are being broadcast live on BOWL.com's BowlTV.

The top three men and top three women after five rounds of qualifying will be guaranteed spots on Team USA in 2014 and will bowl in the stepladder finals for the right to be declared champion, a spot in the QubicaAMF World Cup and prize money.

Two more men and two more women from the event will be selected to join Team USA, while five men and five women will be selected from a pool of eligible bowlers based on their bowling resumes and Trials performance if they competed.

A total of eight Junior Team USA spots - four boys and four girls - also are available. The top two boys and top two girls in the final points standings will earn automatic spots, while two boys and two girls spots will be at-large selections taken from either the Team USA Trials field or the finals field from the Junior Gold Championships held in July 2013. All bowlers 20 and under as of Jan. 1, 2014 are eligible for Junior Team USA.

For more information on the Team USA Trials, including live streaming, live scoring and complete standings, visit BOWL.com/TeamUSATrials.