Chalk up another bowling accomplishment for Melanie Hannon of Cheektowaga.
Even though she lost her first match later, the 18-year-old Fairleigh Dickinson University sophomore had already added to her impressive resume Thursday by clinching a berth on the Junior Team USA for international competition.
Hannon earned the automatic place on the 2015 national team by leading the qualifying in the U20 Girls division of the USBC Junior Gold Championships at AMF Airport Lanes.
She wrapped it up with a 1,056 five-game block in the afternoon, taking the lead with a 266 in her second game. That came after she moved into third place by scoring a 1,090, including a 256 game, in the morning.
“It’s been one of my goals for the last two years,” the former Maryvale and Section VI All-Star said. “I felt good about my chances because I came close last year.
“I’m bowling well, but I think it was important that I came into this tournament with a good mindset. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself and treat it just like any other tournament.”
Hannon had plenty of support. Besides her father, Joe, who was her coach at Maryvale, her Fairleigh Dickinson coach Mike LoPresti and several of her college teammates were on hand to root her home.
“It was awesome having so many of my teammates from Fairleigh here,” she said.
Hannon opened double-elimination match play with a loss to No. 16 seed Stephanie Schwartz of Racine, Wis., on Thursday night.
Hannon and Andrew Herbert of Eden, who is a sophomore at the University at Buffalo, were the only Western New York bowlers to advance to match play in this major national youth tournament.
Herbert shot 5,425 to qualify fourth in the U20 Boys division as his mentor, PBA Tour pro Brad Angelo, looked on. He moved up to fifth in the morning block and moved up another notch in the afternoon. He was sensationally consistent as he averaged 224.8 for his 10 qualifying games on Thursday.
Tylor Green, a two-time Mr. Bowler winner as a high schooler in the state of Michigan, led the U20 boys with 5,608 (224.28 average for 25 games).
Hannon led the girls with 5,185.
Adam Zimmerman, who will be a junior at Deer Park High on Long Island, led the U15 Boys with a 5,247 total (209.88 average).
Ashley Channell of Morris Chapel, Tenn., led the U15 girls qualifying, displacing runner-up Taylor Davis of Burton, Mich., as the division leader. Maddie Jensen of Orchard Park missed the 16-bowler match-play field in the U15, finishing 20th with 4,345 for 25 games. Jacob Zelasko of Elma had the best finish among WNY boys in the U15 division, shooting 2,625 (175 average) for 78th place among a field of 341.
Spencer Robarge of Springfield, Mo., was tops after 16 games of qualifying for U12 boys with 2,900 (181.25 average). Madison Bailey of Rocklin, Calif., led the U12 girls with 2,907 (181.69 average).
Double-elimination match play in the U20 and U15 division began Thursday night and continues today to a conclusion in the afternoon. Match play will begin in the U12 divisions today.