Barnes, a Junior Team USA member from Denton, Texas, won his four total pinfall matches over two games heading into first place. Barnes, who is the son of USBC Hall of Famers Chris and Lynda Barnes, beat out Julian Salinas, Justin Bohn, Charles Bostic and Cayleb Carey.
“The game against Charles (Bostic) was a big game to really lock him down, I think,” Barnes said of the game that propelled him into a guaranteed spot in the championship round. “He’s a very tough opponent.”
After beating Bostic, 416-346, Barnes, who will be a junior on the Wichita State University bowling team, knocked out Carey by 100 pins (472-372) in the game to decide the lead. series #1. Carey of Hobart, Indiana earned the No. 2 seed.
Justin Bohn of Jackson, NJ, defeated Costa Gastouniotis of Goleta, Calif., in the match to determine third and final berth, 426-388. Bohn is the son of USBC Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III and the brother of two-time Junior Gold Champion Brandon Bohn.
On the girls side, Kurt’s path to the No. 1 seed included wins over Katelyn Orisek, Mabel Cummins, Madyson Marx and Anna Callan. The win over Cummins came by a pin (376-375) as Kurt converted the reserve 3-6 on the 10th frame, then got eight pins on his final shot to secure the victory.
“Mabel has been such a good friend of mine for so many years,” said Kurt, who will be a sophomore on the Savannah College of Art and Design bowling team. “She’s an incredible player and she’s very consistent. I knew I really had to make sure I focused on myself. It was all very nerve-wracking. I knew that every shot I threw, I had to make sure I was zoned on that shot.
The matchup for the No. 1 seed against Callan of La Crosse, Wis., wasn’t as nerve-wracking. Kurt built a 34-pin lead after Game 1 and extended it on a low-scoring Game 2 to win by a score of 350-289. Callan, who will play as a redshirt freshman at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, will be the No. 2 seed for the championship round.
In the match to determine the No. 3 seed for the Finals, Jaelle Hamman, a member of the USA Junior Team from Jarrell, Texas, defeated Amanda Naujokas of Ronkonkoma, New York, 406-377. Hamman, who will be a sophomore on the Mount Mercy University bowling team, is seeking back-to-back junior gold titles after winning the U18 division last year in Indianapolis.
It’s important to stay undefeated and earn the top seed, as the double-elimination format requires the top seed to be beaten twice in the championship round.
“I really wanted to get two chances,” Barnes said of the importance of being the No. 1 seed for the Finals. “That’s a big advantage.”
Kurt, on the other hand, didn’t put so much emphasis on the No. 1 seed. But she had a good reason.
“Actually, I didn’t know that!” laughed Kurt when told the No. 1 seed would have to lose twice in the championship round to be defeated. “I’ve had the same mindset all week. I know going into the final I’m going to have my nerves, but I’m just going to tell myself to breathe and be calm and do what I did all week.
The championship round for the boys and girls U20 divisions will be played on Friday at the Fairlanes Bowling Center. BowlTV.com will broadcast the finals live starting at 9 a.m. ET.