CLEARWATER - Jon Brady made the most of his time in Indianapolis last week during the USA Junior Gold National Championships.
He knew another 18-hour car ride was ahead.
The 16-year-old Clearwater bowler survived the 16-player cut for the finals of his first appearance in the nation's largest youth tournament. After 46 games in five days, Brady finished 16th among 1,044 male entrants 10-22 years of age.
"It was a long week. We drove the whole way up there," said Brady, who plays on the Clearwater High School team, practices at AMF with his father, Steve, and Willie Vargas and competes in a Countryside league.
"There was a lot of bowling and a lot of driving," Brady said.
Boys must average 175 and girls 165 and qualify through leagues and tournaments in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Europe and Far East. Then, 1,476 of the best rollers compete for three days in qualifying.
"It was the most kids I had ever seen," Brady said.
After six games on the first day, July 11, he was where he'd finish, in 16th with 1,242 pins.
Largo's Terrance Reeves and Palm Harbor's Josh Guinand were near the top of the leaderboard at eighth and 10th, respectively.
Brady was among numerous local bowlers who earned the trip north. "My goal really was to make the first cut of 149," Brady said. "I was pretty nervous the first day, but I felt better throughout the week." He joined Reeves, Guinand, Palm Harbor's Andrew Owens and New Port Richey's Stephen Alessi to be among 23 Florida players who made the cut after three days.
Brady was in 40th with 3,501 pins after 18 games.
Palm Harbor's Ashly Galante (36th/5,507), Clearwater's Crystal Stutler (43rd/5,473) and Dunedin's Shannon Profit (51st/5,408) made the girls 62-player cut. None, however, advanced to the finals after 30 games at Woodland Bowl, where the University of Central Florida's Stephanie Nation, 21, Miami, won for the second straight year.
Brady moved up through 30 games. On the fourth day, he had 5,912 pins and was in 15th - one spot above the finals cutoff. Reeves finished 28th in the competition, in which pins carried over to the finals and match play and 10 bonus points were given for a win.
Virginia's Chris Bolosan, 20, knocked down 9,485 pins to lead all boys. The top six received spots on the 2006 USBC Junior Team, which will compete internationally.
Brady didn't make the roster but beat four out of the eight bowlers who did, going 6-10-0 on the last day of match play and recording 8,822 total pins. Brady received a $500 scholarship from Pepsi-Cola and the USBC. Other boys competing in Indianapolis were Chris and Justin Fecke, Chris Grube and Joseph May, all from Palm Harbor; Michael Derbyshire and Chris Edgar, Tarpon Springs; David Krutzler and Dan McLaughlin, St. Petersburg; Justin Foraker, Clearwater; James Cory, Seminole; David Segler, Treasure Island; Mike Davidson, Spring Hill; Chris Ellis, Gulfport; Gary Wisgarda II, New Port Richey; and Jason Merch, Julian Vogt and Danny Boyette, Tampa.
Other area girls in the field were Stephanie and Teresa Scanlon and Kelly Fecke, Palm Harbor; Allie Edgar and Jillian Pavlak, Tarpon Springs; Cassie Carpenter, Safety Harbor; Courtney Yeakley and Tracy Baldwin, Tampa; and Kelli McManus, New Port Richey. STRIKING SENIORS: Dunedin Lanes is taking reservations for the new fall league. Space is limited, but the competition is open to bowlers 50-and-older. The league will roll at 9 a.m. on Thursdays. An organizational meeting is scheduled for Sept. 1.
The center's next doubles tournament is at 1 p.m. on Aug. 21.
The event, four games on eight lanes with a handicap, is open to all sanctioned players.
For information on the league or tourney, call (727) 736-1282. DID YOU KNOW? According to the Places Rated Almanac, Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah, Wis., has the most hardwood per resident.
There are just 522 citizens per lane.
HIGH SCORERS: At Dunedin Lanes, Errol Weaver and Dave Mostoller each rolled a 300 last week.
It was Weaver's fifth perfect game since the fall and one of a few for Mostoller. Sandy Grumblatt led the women at the center with a 730 series, and Marc Pincince recorded a 780. In the Callahan Scratch League at Southland Lanes in Pinellas Park, Willie Griffin (268/729), Dale Sager (276/726), Julio Restina (289/716), Ron Sullivan (299/733) and Keith Hedlund (299/756) led the men.
Bev Ullrich (256/728) and Edna Berry (269/719) topped the women's competition.
Senior bowler Gary Hampshire produced 190-270-278-738 in a match-play league.