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Team USA Wins Four of

Six Gold Medals It’s no secret the primary mission for Team USA at the 2011 WTBA World Women’s Championships in Hong Kong was the gold medal in team.

But as Shannon Pluhowsky pointed out, a strong lead-up to the team event can help. “Obviously, the more success you have during the week, the more success you’re likely to have as a team,” she pointed out. “The team gold was the most important thing, but we had a goal during the week of winning as many medals as we could.”

The goal-oriented Pluhowsky certainly did her part, medaling in five of the six divisions. Ironically, the American squad opened the proceedings at Hong Kong Bowling City on a less-than- impressive note. Only one member of Team USA, Shannon O’Keefe (eighth), finished in the top 24 in singles, which featured 171 bowl- ers. From that point on, Team USA would be on the platform at every medal ceremony.

In doubles, Pluhowsky paired

Ballard (205). (For more info and a video of

Team USA’s performance, see page 4.) “We were down early, but nev- er panicked,” said Pluhowsky. “Everyone was throwing good shots. Around the fifth frame we were all lined up, and the strikes started coming. When we put together 15 straight strikes, each bowler had a turkey.

SHOWING THEIR STRIPES: For the first time since ’87, Team USA claimed the team title at the World Women’s Championships, with (l-r) Shannon Pluhowsky, Stefanie Nation, Shannon O’Keefe, Liz Johnson, Kelly Kulick and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard claiming gold.

with Liz Johnson to capture Team USA’s first gold, relegating team- mates Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Kelly Kulick to bronze in the semi- finals, then besting Singapore’s Jazreel Tan and New Hui Fen in the final. Team USA earned gold and bronze again in trios, as Pluhowsky, O’Keefe and Stefanie Nation outshot Japan’s Natsuki Sa- saki, Haruka Matsuda and Kanako Ishimine in the final. Japan had narrowly beaten Team USA’s trio of Dorin-Ballard, Johnson and Kulick, 668-661, in the semifinals.

In the all-important team event,

Team USA rallied from sixth place after the first three-game block to slip into the top four after the sec- ond block, earning a spot in the semifinals. There the U.S. struggled against Germany, but prevailed, 1,080-970.

The title match saw Team USA, led by Johnson, who ran off the first nine, string together 15 consecutive strikes late to race past Singapore, 1,210-1,140, for the gold. Johnson finished with 279, fol- lowed by Pluhowsky (256), Kulick (244), O’Keefe (226) and Dorin-


“It was exciting and rewarding at the end. And it’s always more fun winning with a team. It was really cool.” Three U.S. bowlers (Pluhowsky, Johnson and Ku- lick) finished in the top 16 in All-Events, with Pluhowsky earn- ing bronze, to earn spots in the Masters. While Johnson lost in the round of 16 and Kulick bowed out in the quarterfinals, Pluhowsky defeated Germany’s Patricia Luoto (3-2), Indonesia’s Tannya Roumim- per (3-0) and Germany’s Nadine Giessler (3-2) to reach the gold medal match.

Pluhowsky (300, 219, 299, 223) cruised to a 3-1 win over Daphne Tan (226, 238, 234, 191) of Singapore in the title match on the strength the first 300 in a Masters final. “Obviously, this tournament was the highlight of my career individu- ally,” Pluhowsky added.

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