champs Cayson Coyle and Cameron Peck
Cayson Coyle put on an impressive matchplay performance, while Cameron Peck wrapped up the year in major style, with wins at the JBT Arizona Invitational, held at Tucson's Golden Pin Lanes. Each picked up a top prize of a $1,000 scholarship, part of a $9,000 scholarship bonanza awarded at the event.
Elias Ewert put on a clinic in the scratch division's 10-game qualifying round, leading by over 100 pins. However, the triple elimination matchplay format was unkind to him, as he was eliminated in round four in 12th place. After five grueling rounds, Coyle was the only undefeated bowler, while four of the top five seeds remained alive, a rarity in this format for us.
In round six matches, #14 seed and Junior Team USA member Bryanna Caldwell rolled the high game of the tournament in eliminating #4 BJ Baker 287-164. #10 Brandon Allred eliminated 40-time champ and #5 seed Steven Black 217-182, #9 Chris Weyrauch eliminated top seed Kevin Saunders (and ended his B.O.Y. chances) 163-160, and Coyle stayed undefeated by giving Theo Douthit his second loss in a thriller, 276-266.
In round seven Theo enjoyed a much needed bye, while Coyle gave Weyrauch his second loss 225-153, and Caldwell eliminated Allred 200-168. With four bowlers thus remaining, Coyle eliminated Caldwell 223-188, and Douthit eliminated Weyrauch 226-214, setting up a situation where Douthit would have to beat the still-undefeated Coyle three times to win the title.
Theo, who had already won six Arizona JBT titles this season, had locked up Bowler of the Year by reaching the finale, but had quite a roadblock facing him in Cayson, who had already beaten Theo twice. However, Douthit was up to the challenge in games one and two, escaping with close wins to set up a one game title match. This time, though, Coyle was too much, and the Las Vegan cruised to a 221-184 win and his second career JBT victory.
In the handicap division, Joey Longo led the qualifying round, but like Ewert struggled in matchplay, falling to a still-impressive 12th place finish. Nine bowlers were still left alive after five rounds of triple-elimination matchplay, including top-seed Michael Curry, who by outlasting #2 Steven Pizzi wrapped up the handicap Bowler of the Year award. In round six matches, #11 Susan Kurzeka eliminated #10 Taylor King, #5 Brandon Longo eliminated #16 Kevin Millard, #9 Kyle Bridgman eliminated Curry, #7 Peck gave #4 Justin White his first loss, while #3 Cheslea Zemelka sat back and watched it all with a bye.
With six bowlers now left for round seven, Kurzeka eliminated Longo, Bridgman stayed alive by defeating White, and Peck eliminated Zemelka. With four bowlers left, Bridgman again stayed alive, this time giving Peck loss number two by a 190-165 score, while White eliminated Kurzeka 220-216. This left three bowlers, so White earned a bye, while Peck eliminated Bridgman 245-159, setting up a one-game title match against Justin.
White has been "Mr. Invitational" in his JBT career, winning the 2005 Arizona and 2006 California editions, while Cameron has had an eventful year, improving his average by almost FIFTY pins over the season, so it was no surprise that the two put on a really entertaining match. In White's tenth frame, he needed 8-spare-strike to win. His first shot went light and left the 2-4-5, which he spared, so he now needed a strike to tie. Unfortunately for White, his next ball was light as well, and Peck claimed a hard fought 215-213 win, and his fourth career JBT title.
Thanks to everyone at Golden Pin for an absolutely fantastic job hosting the wrapup to the tenth season of Arizona JBT events. 102 qualifiers shared in an enormous $9,405 in scholarships awarded at the event. The top 15 in our season-long points after this event now qualify for the Touring Players Championship, featuring a $2,000 first place scholarship. We'll see everyone else in September if not sooner for the start of season eleven!