ARLINGTON, Texas - Every January, the top bowlers from across the United States lace up and compete in hopes of making the most prestigious team in the sport – Team USA.
The 2017 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials recently took place at Sunset Station’s Strike Zone Bowling Center in Henderson, Nevada, and at the end of the five-day event, a total of 10 Professional Women’s Bowling Association members earned the chance to represent the red, white and blue.
The USBC Team USA Trials is the qualifying event each year for Team USA, but there are several ways competitors can earn spots on Team USA.
Players can earn automatic spots through their performances during the week, be selected by the National Selection Committee based on their performances at Team USA Trials or submitted resumes or by winning the United States National Amateur Bowling Championships, which runs alongside Team USA Trials.
Erin McCarthy of Omaha, Nebraska, captured the 2017 Team USA Trials title in exciting fashion, delivering the first strike in the 10th frame of her final game, her sixth consecutive strike, on her way to a 241 finish. She went around Shannon O’Keefe of O’Fallon, Illinois, and held off a late charge by Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, who fired 258 in the finale.
Joining McCarthy, O’Keefe and Kulick as PWBA members who made Team USA 2017 are Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California, Kayla Johnson of Washington, Illinois, Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, Bryanna Coté of Red Rock, Arizona, Josie Earnest of Nashville, Tennessee, and Stefanie Johnson of Grand Prairie, Texas.
Also making the team were Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, Stephanie Zavala of Downey, California, Sydney Brummett of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Stephanie Schwartz of Racine, Wisconsin. Bond (Nebraska), Zavala (Sam Houston State), Brummett (Wichita State) and Schwartz (Stephen F. Austin) currently compete at the collegiate level.
McCarthy just missed making the PWBA Tour’s season-ending Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship in 2016, and she credits the work she’s done on her swing during the offseason to helping her top a field of PWBA stars and top amateurs at Sunset Station. She now looking forward to the 2017 PWBA Tour season, which starts in April.
“I’ve been battling some things with my swing since the U.S. Women’s Open,” said McCarthy, the runner-up at the 2015 USBC Queens. “It took a toll on me, but I’ve really worked hard the past two or three months trying to get it fixed. I had a lot of help along the way from some good bowlers and coaches, and it really paid off this week. Making the team again is a dream in itself, but I don’t know if this win will sink in for a couple of weeks.”
With the win at Team USA Trials, McCarthy will join men’s winner Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, as the Team USA representatives at the 2017 QubicaAMF World Cup in Hermosillo, Mexico.
In addition to the World Cup in 2017, members of Team USA also will be traveling to the World Games in Wroclaw, Poland, and Lee Evans Tournament of the Americas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in July, and World Bowling Combined Championships in Kuwait in December.