Written by TBA High Performance & Education Manager Mike Griffith
Welcome to the June NTS Update, looking back on the past two months with the National Training Squad.
In what started out as a return to normality, May was certainly a busy month; with what seemed like a series of ranked events running back-to-back. However, June followed and was hit hard, with two ranked events postponed due to a return to COVID restrictions and border closures.
In this current climate, we are all struggling to establish some consistency within the NTS in 2021, creating a new normality we can trust, and can only hope that the future months will be kind. But we must remember; staying safe and healthy is our main priority for now.
On a positive note, we have just completed the second round of NTS Zoom catch-up meetings with all the squads, following on from the ones we held earlier this year in March. These meetings are an initiative designed to provide transparency and clarity to the athletes and coaches in our NTS; updating them directly on any developments and initiatives being planned in our sport. It is also a good chance for athletes to ask questions, and discuss topics affecting them personally, allowing our athletes to have a say in the direction of the NTS.
Aussie Continues to Shine in the US: Sam Cooley
After his first PBA Major title in March in the PBA Cheetah Championship, followed by finishing just short of the stepladder finals in both the USBC Masters and US Open events, Sam Cooley has continued with his great form in the United States.
In a tremendous run of wins through the Kia PBA Playoffs, defeating many top athletes in his path, Sam was only beaten in the title match by the champion Kyle Troup, finishing runner up in this prestigious event. As part of the best of 5 game final, Sam managed to bowl a 300 game on live TV, earning another $10,000 USD on top of the mere $60,000 USD he received for coming Runner Up. Amazing result!
I recommend you check out the YouTube video of his 300 game (where you actually get to see Sam smile) here:
However, it does not stop there! Sam has added to his PBA titles by winning his first-ever PBA Regional event: The PBA West Casino Morongo Open in California in June. Averaging over 243 Sam beat Jakob Butturff in the final, and PBA legend Robert Smith in third place to take the title. Great work Sam, well deserved.
The Monmouth University Athletics Department recognised the achievements of its student-athletes with its annual Student-Athlete Awards. Topping off a fantastic debut season for Monmouth University, South Australian, Jamie Phelan received the Most Valuable Player award for the Bowling team.
The redshirt freshman finished her debut season with a long list of achievements including:
2020-21 (Redshirt Freshman):
- All-MEAC Second Team
- All-NTCA Freshman Team
- Eight 200+ games on the season
- Won the individual title at the Garden State Classic (2/13) after knocking down 1,037 pins for a 207.40 average
- Season-high and team-weekend high score of 258 at the Garden State Classic (2/13)
- Placed second overall at the Northeast Roundup (3/5)
- Team-weekend high score of 236 at the Northeast Classic (2/6)
- Made her collegiate debut and placed 12th overall with a 195.80 average at the Northeast Classic (2/6)
- Two-time MEAC Bowling Rookie of the Week (2/9 & 2/16)
- MEAC All-Academic Team
Congratulations Jamie on a fantastic season!
A quick shout out about some of the notable performances by our NTS Athletes over the past two months.
Queensland Junior Cup:
Back in early May, our Juniors hit the track for the first time in over 575 days. The Queensland Junior Cup certainly lived up to its reputation by hosting 63 Juniors in a great display of Junior talent.
- Girl’s Champion: Junior NTS Member Emily Meehan took the girl’s title with a solid performance, after qualifying in fourth position. It all counts what you do at the end. Well done Emily.
- NTS Junior Girls shone taking 6 out of the top 8 places available in the final.
- Boy’s Champion: Up and coming star Blake Walsh dominated the event, taking the boy’s title with an amazing performance. Blake qualified with a 230.3 average over 12 games, which included an astonishing 241.3 average over 6 games in his second block of 6 games. Wonderful performance Blake.
- NTS Boys also took 6 out of the 8 places in the final.
Great effort by all. Good to see so many juniors attend the event, and show the strength of what they have to offer.
Queensland Ladies Classic:
The month of May saw our NTS Ladies form part of 54 women to compete in the Queensland Ladies Classic.
- Champion: It was not one of our NTS athletes who won this event, rather one of our NTS Assistant Coaches! Bianca Flanagan rose to the top in a tough battle to claim a title that has evaded her until now. Fantastic effort Bianca for a great win. We are proud of you.
- Bec Whiting dominated through qualifying with 211.5 average (14 games) and a 231.7 average (4 games) in the Top 16, leading at the end of both stage 1 and Stage 2. Great effort Bec.
Well done ladies. A true battle that was great to watch.
Sydney Youth Cup:
There were not as many athletes as we would have liked at the first Youth event of the year, with 26 Boys and 17 girls taking part in the Sydney Youth Cup. However, this does not take away from the quality bowling that was on display.
- Boy’s Champion: NTS Youth member Jesse Ellis won his first ever ranked event title, dominating over all three stages of the event. Great effort Jesse.
- Fellow NTS athletes Nixon Chan and Junior prodigy Blake Walsh finished strongly in 2nd and 3rd Place respectively, attempting to chase Jesse down right to the very end.
- Girl’s Champion: NTS Youth member Emily Johnston won her first National Title in an impressive display over the weekend. With a solid display of quality bowling through the stages, a composed Emily succeeded at the end by securing the win. Great effort Emily.
Well done to all our Youth athletes who supported the event and made it a success this year.
Hammer Queensland Seniors Classic:
In May we saw the third ranked event for our Seniors in the Hammer Queensland Classic at Caboolture. Unfortunately, this event was affected by a last-minute border closure with Victoria, affecting participation and numbers. Still, 55 men and 30 women competed creating a competitive event.
- Ladies Champion: NTS member Sue Cassell easily won the title, leading in both stages. Averaging 207.9 for the event, Sue dominated with eleven games over 200, and a low game of only 181 through the whole event. Great performance Sue, quality bowling!
- Christine Clark and Julie Harrison bowled great to take out 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
- The Men’s event was won by a name from the past in Carl Bottomley, followed by NTS Athlete Mike Muir close behind in 2nd Place. Great bowling by both men with some high averages across the field.
Well done to all Seniors who attended the event, and bad luck to those who missed out due to Covid.
Coming Up Next Month:
ANC is on its way; Let’s hope we see you all in Hobart.
Please stay tuned for more NTS news and achievements.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and continue to bowl well.