For twins Er. and Et. Klemencic, bowling is a family affair. The duo, who are rising juniors at Mount Paran Christian School, spent their summer training for and competing in the Junior Gold Championships, an annual national tournament for the top male and female youth bowlers in the United States. The tournament has eight divisions – U12 Boys, U12 Girls, U15 Boys, U15 Girls, U18 Boys, U18 Girls, U20 Boys and U20 Girls.
Through their hard work and dedication to the sport, both bowlers progressed through the levels of the tournament. Miss Klemencic had advanced each of her previous three attempts at the Junior Gold competition, though this year’s event marked her first appearance on the BowlTV finals. Even better, she went on to clinch the National Champion title in the U18 Girls division as the BPAA (Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America, Inc.) Junior Gold Champion for 2022.
In order to compete at Junior Gold, athletes must first compete in a Junior Gold qualifying tournament or league. More than 3,200 United States Bowling Congress Youth members competed at this year’s event in Grand Rapids, Mich. The aim is to win not only the national title, but also a portion of the $500,000 scholarship fund and a spot on the Junior Team USA.
From a pool of 569 female bowlers, Miss Klemencic advanced to the winners bracket, where she bowled a 223. By virtue of this first place finish as National Champion, she has also earned a spot on the Junior Team USA, an elite group of top American youth who represent the U.S. in international bowling competition.
“It’s really amazing to come out here and do what I love to do and finally be rewarded by walking away with a championship,” she said. “To have this happen is a dream come true; it’s just awesome.”
Mr. Kelemencic also advanced from the initial pool of 1,208 bowlers, averaging 202.56 per game. He ultimately finished the tournament in 147th place.
Mother Cathy Klemencic said, “They both did amazing. It’s an honor to qualify for the tournament. Not everyone gets to participate in the tournament, as you have to qualify to go. Making the first cut – or the Advancers round – is also a big deal. This was the first year [my son] made the cut. That is a huge improvement for him from previous years. All of the hard work with their bowling coach is paying off for [them both].”