GREENFIELD – Some of America’s top young bowlers will spend next week at Greenfield vying for a national championship in their age group.
Strike Force Lanes is one of six venues in the Indianapolis area to be used for the 2021 Junior Gold Championships. With Championship Lanes at Anderson, the tournament will have matches at four locations in Indianapolis, All Star Bowl, Woodland Bowl, Expo Bowl and Western Bowl.
The tournament for young bowlers runs July 9-17. Bowling at Strike Force Lanes started today and will end on Friday July 16.
The annual national tournament is for the top young male and female bowlers in the United States. The tournament has eight divisions – U12 boys, U12 girls, U15 boys, U15 girls, U18 boys, U18 girls, U20 boys and U20 girls.
The bowlers started training today and will continue their pre-tournament preparation throughout the weekend.
Center chief executive Rob Barnhart said they’ve already hosted a national deaf bowling tournament, but that this event will be the biggest they’ve ever hosted.
“There will be around 4,000 children coming to central Indiana and we will probably have around 1,200 via Strike Force Lanes,” he said. “My hope is that our whole city can benefit with the influx of people, restaurants and hotels. I just think it’s gonna be good for the city.
Indianapolis was selected as the host city through a competitive bidding process. It was a previous host, but the first Strike Force Lanes was used.
Bowling opened and leagues were temporarily closed. They will resume on Tuesday July 20.
“The audience has been awesome,” Barnhart said. “(Our regulars) understand. We have been very busy this summer and the public has been very receptive to our welcome (the national tournament). They kind of encourage us, so to speak. We had a lot of people from the area who offered to volunteer and help in any way. We have a great community here.
The tournament part starts on Monday. The U15 Boys Round 1 qualifiers will start Monday morning at 7:00 am, while the U18 Girls will start at 11:30 am. A second qualifying session for girls will start at 4:00 p.m. The second boys’ qualifying segment will start at 8:30 p.m.
They will have qualifying sessions for Rounds 2, 3 and 4 from Tuesday to Thursday with the same starting times.
Barnhart said there will be around 150 bowlers in each session.
On Friday, Strike Force Lanes will be the host site for the U12 Boys and U12 Girls Match Play finals.
The last session at the local center will be at 5:30 p.m. on Friday July 16.
There will be local bowlers participating, including recent Greenfield-Central graduate Tandess O’Neal, who recently won the Indiana State Youth Championship from the US Congress of Bowling – called the Masters and Tournament. Queens – and the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Tournament Title.
New GC recruit Alyssa Cash will be another local representative. She finished 10th in the state event and joined O’Neal on the Indiana All-Star Team.
To prepare for such a big event, the center had to revamp
“We’re going to be on the national stage, so we want Greenfield to look the part,” Barnhart added.
In addition to masking units and additional national advertising signage, tables and high chairs had to be removed for cameras. The tournament will be broadcast live and available for viewing on www.bol.com. A full schedule of all tournaments is also available on the website.
Barnhart added that they are grateful that they can use the bleachers at the Greenfield Boys and Girls Club for the tournament seating.
“I’m proud of this thing,” Barnhart said. “I can’t stress enough how I want the whole city to benefit. We will not only have people here bowling with us, but there may be people bowling in Anderson or Indianapolis who will end up staying in Greenfield, depending on the location of the hotel. I think we can all benefit from it. There will be over 3,000 people coming to Greenfield during the week.
“It’s not just Strike Force Lanes, it’s a community agreement. I was born and raised here and this community means a lot to me.