ARLINGTON, Texas - The annual United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials helps welcome a new group of athletes that will represent the United States in international competition, and the 2019 event resulted in a total of 10 Professional Women's Bowling Association members getting the call to wear the red, white and blue.
The 2019 USBC Team USA Trials, which took place Jan. 3-7 at the Gold Coast Bowling Center in Las Vegas, tested competitors over five days and five challenging lane conditions. They bowled six games each day.
PWBA Tour champion Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, proved her strong finish to the 2018 season, which included back-to-back runner-up finishes at the QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship and PWBA Tour Championship, was a sign of big things to come for 2019 as she claimed the title, recording a total of 49 ranking points for her five rounds and earning a spot on Team USA for the 15th time.
Players in the field at Gold Coast earned points based on their finishing positions in each qualifying round. The top bowler of the block earned one ranking point, second place earned two points, etc., with the lowest total of points determining the champion.
The win means Kulick will have the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2019 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, an event she previously has not competed in and had on her "bucket list." The location of the 2019 World Cup has not been announced.
Kulick's win also tied into another big moment in her career. It was announced earlier on the final day of the Team USA Trials that the six-time major champion had been elected to the USBC Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place May 1 in Las Vegas as part of the USBC Convention.
PWBA members joining Kulick on Team USA 2019 include Sydney Brummett of Wichita, Kansas; Josie Barnes of Hermitage, Tennessee; Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas; Liz Kuhlkin of Schenectady, New York; Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York; Shannon O'Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois; Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, California; Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio; and Jordan Richard of Tecumseh, Michigan.
Brummett was the second-highest PWBA member in the standings, finishing fourth overall with 78 points.
The 22-year-old right-hander has been part of Team USA since 2017 and recently switched back to 15-pound equipment after using 14-pound bowling balls during her 2018 rookie season on the PWBA Tour.
Pluhowsky leads the group in longevity as she makes her 19th consecutive appearance on Team USA. She's followed by Johnson (15 years), O'Keefe (15), Parkin (10), McEwan (eight), Barnes (seven), Kuhlkin (two) and Richard (two).
Also earning spots on Team USA 2019 were Julia Bond of Aurora, Illinois, and Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, both collegiate standouts and former members of Junior Team USA.
Bond, who competed for Nebraska, would be considered a front-runner for PWBA Rookie of the Year if she elects to join in 2019. Clemmer, who won the 2019 U.S. Amateur, is a junior at McKendree and a two-time National Tenpins Coaches Association Player of the Year (Division II/III).
Several countries have their national teams predominately made up of PWBA Tour members, including Colombia, Malaysia and Singapore.
The 2019 PWBA Tour season will kick off with the PWBA Greater Cleveland Open at Yorktown Lanes in Parma Heights, Ohio, from April 25-27.