Rachel Vaughn, the 2011 Girls High School Champion and Grand Championship Runner-Up, receives her trophy from vice president Bud Clapsaddle of Dexter Bowling, a proud sponsor of the event.
A three-time champion: Zack Hattori, 2010 and 2011 Boys High School Champion and the new Teen Masters Grand Champion, demonstrates form and focus on his approach. Photos Courtesy of Gary B. Beck.
Over 200,000 people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal each day, but last week commuters, travelers, and bowling fans were captivated witnesses to an unprecedented event in the history of the 108-year old train station: The 2011 Teen Masters Championship Finals.
The hustle and bustle of one of the busiest hubs in the country slowed to a concentrated hush as twelve of the country’s elite youth bowlers took to the specially constructed lane at Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall last Wednesday and Thursday, August 3 and 4.
The eight high school bowlers and four under-14 bowlers put their skills to the test, setting their nerves aside as they competed in front of the packed stands and standing room only crowd at the biggest venue in bowling’s history.
Taking home the top prize, a $64,000 college scholarship, was Zack Hattori of Las Vegas, Nevada, who topped Rachel Vaughn of Port St. Lucie, Florida in the grand championship, a battle-of-the-sexes showdown between the winners of the respective High School Boys and High School Girls championships. Hattori, the defending 2010 High School Boys Champion, became the 2011 High School Boys Champion when he defeated Elmont New York’s Tommy Genova in a sudden death roll-off following a 1-1 match tie. To make it to the grand championship, Vaughn defeated Gabriella Mayfield of Lake Isabella, California, also in a tie-breaking roll-off, becoming the 2011 High School Girls Champion.
In the Under 14 Girls championship, defending 2010 champion Ashley Dunn of Palmdale, California ousted Taryn Gray of Greenfield, Texas. Wesley Low Jr., also of Palmdale, emerged as the Under 14 Boys winner, defeating Pablo Cerda of Sunrise, Florida.
To qualify for this experience of a lifetime and the chance to compete for scholarship funds in front of the crowds at Grand Central, 189 middle school and high school bowlers took part in the Teen Masters National Finals which kicked off in New Jersey on July 29. Through intensive competition, practice rounds, plastic ball challenges, even contests such as the I Came All the Way to New Jersey and Still Haven’t Won Anything Yet Shootout, the competitors honed their skills and built new friendships, even celebrating some downtime cheering on the Mets at Citi Field. The victors and runners-up of the Grand Central finals enjoyed a post-event trophy celebration and wrap party at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square.
Founded by Gary B. Beck in 1997, Teen Masters celebrates the challenge of competition, the rigors of discipline and the values of perseverance, sportsmanship and camaraderie among youth bowlers across the country. Each year college scholarships are awarded to the champions and runners up. Dexter, a proud sponsor of this event, offers our warmest congratulations to all of the 2011 Teen Masters competitors and winners.