Team USA first heading into final day at 2023 PANAM Male Championships

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Team USA’s first three games of team competition at the 2023 PANAM Bowling Male Championships is difficult to evaluate.

On the one hand, the American squad’s three-game total of 3,242 led the 14-team field at Sebelén Bowling Center on Friday, meaning Team USA sits just three games away from winning the coveted team gold medal.

On the other hand, if it weren’t for some terrible pin carry during the early stages of Friday’s block, the Americans would likely have had a much bigger cushion to work with.

As it stands, Team USA will start Saturday morning’s final three-game block with three teams – Puerto Rico (3,238); Venezuela (3,236) and Guatemala (3,227) – lurking within 15 pins of the top spot.

Team USA Head Coach Bryan O’Keefe has been around the sport a long time and has seen many things, but even he was having difficulty believing his eyes during the early stages of Friday’s set.

“The first game today was some of the worst tough-luck bowling I’ve seen in a really long time,” O’Keefe said. “The execution was great, but one way or another, we just couldn’t knock them all over, and it happened throughout the entire team.”

The scores definitely support O’Keefe’s assessment as all five members of the American squad scored within a 20-pin range.

Darren Tang of Las Vegas and Chris Via of Blacklick, Ohio, led the way in Game 1 with matching scores of 212.

Nicholas Pate of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, and John Janawicz of Winter Haven, Florida, were close behind with 209 and 203, respectively.

That left Matt Russo of Ballwin, Missouri, as the low man after the first 10 frames, but not by much as he came in with a steady 192.

All told, that gave Team USA a score of 1,028 to start the day despite staying locked in on the pocet well enough to have scored much higher.

Nevertheless, the Americans refused to let frustration get the better of them, and the grit paid off as the numbers climbed during each of the final two games.

Team USA pushed its total up to 1,094 in Game 2 thanks to scores of 226 (Russo), 224 (Via), 219 (Janawicz), 213 (Tang) and 212 (Pate).

The best was yet to come, however, as the group closed the day with 1,120 to get to the top of the overall standings.

Pate led the way that time with 258 and was followed closely by Tang, who finished with 245. Via, Russo and Janawicz added 222, 201 and 194, respectively.

Even though he would have liked to have seen his team’s strong performance yield bigger results on Friday, O’Keefe was happy with how the group persevered, and he likes the position it’s in heading into Saturday morning’s final round of competition.

“After that first game, we righted the ship, and more natural bowling started to happen,” O’Keefe said. “We overcame all that and still find ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so we’re just going to take it one shot at a time tomorrow and see if we can come out on top.”

The final three games of team competition kick off from Sebelén Bowling Center Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Eastern.

For the latest PANAM Bowling Male Championships standings, click here.

For more information on Team USA, visit