Well, this is the end of a long but productive week. This is the third time I’m attended Team USA Trials and each time I come away with even more respect for all of the players who compete in this event. It is without a doubt the most demanding format I have ever seen. It also goes beyond simply playing for money even thought there is some of that aspect as well. But, the bigger thing is the sense of accomplishment and the privilege of wearing the colors of the USA. And of course being able to compete as a representative of the USA.
Today the WTBA London pattern challenged all the athletes. As it turns out you either really did well or struggled with carry. Overall the pattern was very tight especially depending on what end of the house you played on. The high end of the house played completely different than the low end. Pair to pair there were significant differences in reaction and depending on how many games you played on either end had an impact on your scores. As the block went on, it was clear the higher scores were on the lower end of the house.
Suffice to say that the day belonged to Nicole and Billy. Nicole had an outstanding block and was able to get herself within striking distance of the top Juniors in the competition. However, she did not quite get high enough to win a bid to Junior Team USA. But, that does not take away from an outstanding performance. Given the start she had at the beginning of the week, some would have just quit. Nicole fought hard all week to improve her position.
Billy was within 7 pins of winning the final block of the week today and cashing as a result. Billy also put Rhode Island on the map by scoring a 300 during the block. This is on top of the “30 clean” he had the day before. In fact, Billy actually went 40 frames without an open. This is especially impressive since this is his first time out here at this event.
Courtney also had a good week. There were no doubt some ups and downs but, in the final analysis she had a very good tournament as well. Today, she was plagued with untimely carry problems and fell prey to some splits and washouts which routinely broke up what otherwise would have been some impressive scores. She ended the block with an outstanding 246 which capped off an otherwise successful outing. Notable growth in many areas was very evident.
These three players represented our area very well and did well against a very impressive and talented field. We should all be very proud of them.