Yukon bowlers strike at nationals

Yukon junior bowlers were knocking down more than pins at the Youth Bowling Canada 2011 National Championships that finished Monday.

Yukon junior bowlers were knocking down more than pins at the Youth Bowling Canada 2011 National Championships that finished Monday.

A couple of the Yukoners, all of whom were in the fivepin competition in Regina, were knocking down medal winners as well.

Yukon’s junior girl, Cassandra Ponsioen, bowled an average of 162.83 over 24 matches, winning nine for a ninth-place finish.

“It’s hard to beat people who go to so many competitions,” said Ponsioen. “We just have to beat our own people at our alley.”

Ponsioen, who like her four teammates, bowled above her average at the championships, also defeated the eventual bronze medal Saskatchewan competitor and even the eventual gold medal winner from Quebec.

“They weren’t that high (scores), but I did win and was really proud,” said Ponsioen. “When I go down here, I don’t expect to win any games. I just bowl for fun.”

Teammate Nicole Thompson, in the senior girls division, had a strong finish, taking four wins on the final day for eight in total, finishing ahead of NWT in 12th.

Thompson, who bowled an average of 181.71, also had a big win, downing the eventual gold medal winner from Northern Ontario by the slimmest of margins: one point.

“To be consistent and win every match is almost an impossibility,” said Team Yukon head coach Kevin Murphy. “So there are some highs and lows, and what you do is take your chances to perform your best and steal wins.”

Yukon’s senior boys’ competitor Matthew Mendham only took in two wins, averaging a 156.92, in Regina. However, in a win over NWT, Mendham bowled a 272, his highest ever at an Outside competition.

“He ran into some technical difficulties with his mechanics down here,” said Murphy. “He only ended up with two wins so I guess we’ll have to look at reformatting his delivery, seeing if we can get some consistency.

“He had one high game, but he was certainly capable of bowling with the big guns down here.”

Zachery Unrau, Yukon’s junior boy, beat out NWT in the final standings, bowling a 161.54 average over his 24 matches.

“He just moved up from being the bantam boy last year into the junior league,” said Murphy. “So it was definitely an eye-opening experience, because there’s definitely a quality leap when you get into the junior division. There’s a lot more pressure and some serious bowlers.”

Not only did Unrau defeat NWT in both of their matches, he downed New Brunswick and almost defeated the eventual gold medal winner from Northern Ontario, dropping a lead after six frames.

“All of a sudden, the Northern Ontario boy reeled off four strikes in a row and left Zach in his dust,” said Murphy.

First-time competitor Cheyenne Kirby, who bowled an average of 113.50, slipped to last, but did pickup wins over Saskatchewan and NWT.

“She had a great time out here, making friends all over the place, which is what happens in the younger age category,” said Murphy. “She was about 13 points above the average she has in Whitehorse.

“It was a long competition and she did really well.”

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