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Bowling: Kaneland's Mabel Cummins strikes gold with Team USA

ELBURN – Kaneland senior Mabel Cummins continues to climb the ranks of Team USA Bowling’s best.

Earlier this month, Cummins and her Junior Team USA girls teammates struck gold, defeating Team Korea at the World Bowling Youth Championships in Allen Park, Mich.

Team USA prevailed 2-1 in a best-of-three: 205-180, 214-181 and 230-175. The matches were played in the modified Baker format, a format that is primarily seen at college-aged bowling levels.

The Baker Format is a “fast-paced” style of bowling, with each player getting a limited number of turns. In four-player style, each member gets their two individual turns. On the ninth frame, the leadoff bowler goes – in this case, Cummins – and on the 10th frame, the number two bowler makes an attempt.

“I am completely, almost brand new at Baker format,” said Cummins, 16.

It was the first time since 2012 the girls’ team captured gold, and it coincidentally was a rematch of the 2016 World Youth championship.

“It was rewarding to be able to finally bring back the gold to the U.S.,” Cummins said.

Team USA lost the first game, but a quick pep talk from coach Bryan O’Keefe got the team back on track.

“You can turn it around so quickly,” Cummins said about the Baker format. “That’s what I think we did. After losing the first game, we really got our heads back in it, and absolutely crushed it the next two.”

Cummins was flanked by Taylor Bailey of Joliet, Breanna Clemmer (South Carolina) and Caitlyn Johnson (North Carolina). The four ladies were chosen out of a possible 12, prevailing over the course of a week-long training camp hosted at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas in June.

Two days following the camp, Cummins got the call to represent Junior Team USA.

Of course, she was in a bowling center when it came through.

“I definitely screamed,” Cummins said. “It was a really exciting moment.”

It was Cummins’ first World Youth Bowling experience, but her second Team USA tournament. Last year she played in the Tournament of the Americas. The World Youth Championships take place every two years.

Cummins expects to have the possibility to compete in two more World Youth championships, as competitors can play until 21.

“My next national event is [United States Bowling Congress] team trials, and that’s in January. From now until January, I’m just going to keep working on my game,” Cummins said.

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