Conn takes Junior Gold top spot
Aug 21, 2009
Steven Michael Conn did not set out to win Junior Gold.
Going in, Conn’s (who goes by Mike) goal was to finish better than his 50th place last year; a spot in the top 16 would be an aspiration.
“My goals for Junior Gold were basically do better than I did the previous year (50th) and also if I have a chance to make the top 16 then that was it,” he said. “Honestly I had no expectations of doing as well as I did …”
But once he was at the top, he wasn’t going anywhere, Conn said.
“…When it got to that point I really felt like nothing was going to stop me, I was going to win.”
The Louisville, Ky. native knew he had sealed the deal when, during the final game against Andrew Koff, he bowled strikes for the last five frames.
“What went through my mind was ‘it’s finally over. I can’t believe I won, but I’m really glad it’s over now,’” he said. “I think up to that point I had bowled around 60 games that week, mostly in competition, and that wears you out physically and especially mentally.”
In his second year at Bellarmine University, a coeducational Catholic liberal arts school in Louisville, Conn said the win still takes him aback at times.
“Every now and then it still hits me, like, ‘wow I still can’t believe I won,’ but for the most part I’ve been really humble about it; I just kind of keep it to myself” he said. “The feeling is still indescribable and I think it will always be like that.”
Conn’s win landed him S10, 000 in scholarship funds that will go into an account set up especially for tournament winnings, he said.
“I also won a pretty cool trophy. But most important I won more experience and met some new people. ”
Conn lost his youth eligibility after bowling in the tournament, he said, and will now have to compete in the adult leagues; however, he can still compete on Junior Team USA, on which his win guaranteed him a. It was the fifth year he has bowled Junior Gold.
“I suppose my expectations now are to enjoy the world of adult bowling, bowl in major adult tournaments now and when I graduate possibly pursue a PBA career or at least try it,” he said. “I just plan on practicing as often as possible, get experience from anywhere a long the way and hopefully all of that will improve my game to the level the pros are on.”
Conn, who said he averaged 212 during the 46–game tournament, used three Ebonite International, Inc., bowling balls including Ebonite’s new Lane Breaker and the Playmaker.
“I felt comfortable throwing these three balls the entire week and felt like they were the best choices for me to use,” he said.
It was with the Lane Breaker that the middle school education major bowled his 300, which he thought was the only one of the tournament, he said.
“It amazes me how well (Ebonite International bowling balls) have always matched up to my game.”
Conn has been bowling for about nine years, he said, starting when he and his dad joined a youth-adult league.
“It just sort of stuck with me,” he said. “I’ve bowled ever since.”
Ebonite, a brand of Ebonite International, Inc., is a sponsor of Junior Gold. Based in Hopkinsville, Ky., Ebonite International is a privately-owned company that services bowling centers, distributors and retail outlets, domestically and internationally. The company’s consumer product brands include Ebonite, Hammer, Robby’s, Columbia 300, Track and Powerhouse™. Its commercial product brand is Ebonite Bowling Center Direct.
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