“It was intense but it was also a lot of fun,” the Stebbins High School graduate said.
Kanemoto has mixed feelings about this year’s Junior Gold Championships, as it will be her last.
“I’m kind of sad, but also excited,” she said. “The competition seems to get tougher every year, the kids start so young and are so competitive.”
More than tournament titles are on the line. The top four boys and girls in the U20 division after 26 games of qualifying land a spot on the 2017 Junior Team USA, if they are age-eligible. The U20 winner and runner-up after bracket play also qualify to the team. The top age-eligible male and female bowler in the U15 divisions after qualifying rounds earn a spot on the U15 developmental team.
Kanemoto isn’t the only returning champion. Danielle Jedlicki of Murfreesboro, Tenn., returns in the U15 girls division. Three former champions move up a division this year — Tom Hankey of Massachusetts, the U15 boys champion in 2015, is now in the U20 division, and U12 champions Amanda Naujokas (New York) and Spencer Robarge (Missouri) will now compete in the U15 division.
Competitors in all divisions will bowl 16 qualifying games over four days before the field is cut. Bowlers in the U20 and U15 divisions will bowl an additional five games before a second cut is made to a maximum of 64, and those making the second cut will bowl another five games to determine the 16 bowlers for match play.
In the U12 division, after the initial cut, competitors will bowl an additional four games before the field is cut to the top eight for match play. Match play for each division is a double-elimination bracket to determine the TV finalists. The finals will be taped for national broadcast on CBS Sports Network.