Future Stars Shine at the Wyncity Youth Cup

By Matt Stevens
February 26, 2024

The Wyncity Youth Cup unfolded with remarkable flair this past weekend, marking the commencement of the 2024 National Ranked events for the youth division. 

Blake Walsh and Hannah Clark emerged as champions, each demonstrating exceptional skill and determination on their path to victory. Notably, both champions were also the Australian’s that captured medals at the 2023 Asian Youth Championship, and both performances at the Wyncity Youth Cup indicates strong years ahead after securing the first ranked event title of the new year.

The event, celebrating its 21st anniversary, attracted over 50 of the nation’s top youth bowlers to Wyncity Keon Park in Victoria. With Australian tenpin bowling legends, including Jason Belmonte, Sam Cooley, and Bec Whiting among its past champions, the event’s significance was further highlighted by the presence of selectors eyeing talent for upcoming Australian teams and tours. The bright future of Australian Tenpin Bowling was on show as young stars showcased their talent.

After clinching a bronze medal at last year’s Asian Youth Championships, Clark kicked off 2024 with a commanding and confident performance. The victory is Hannah’s first nationally ranked event title of her short career, but the journey to lifting the trophy involved determination throughout the two days of play.

The competition was fierce, with the top four positions after day one’s 12 games being claimed by representatives of the 2023 Australian Asian Youth team. Clark, trailing Samantha Clifton by a mere 23 pins after day one, showcased her competitive spirit on moving day, closing the gap and eventually overtaking Clifton in the match play finals. 

A commanding start to the match play finals saw Hannah deliver games of 244, 233 and 206 to leapfrog Clifton for the title spot. Capturing two wins in the process, Clark finished with a final score of 4,240 pins to secure her title.

With an exciting 2024 in her sights, selection for the Australian team set to compete at the World Youth Championships in Korea looks to be an attainable goal after signaling her readiness for another Australian representation.

  • 2nd Place after Stage 1
  • 2nd Place after Stage 2

Blake Walsh dominated and blitzed the male division, showcasing his exceptional talent from the very beginning. Finishing with a staggering 4,960 pins over 22 games, Walsh’s performance was a clear indicator of his dominance. 

His journey to victory began on day one, establishing a significant lead with an average score of 232.4. Despite taking a more relaxed approach during the match play finals, Walsh’s lead was insurmountable, ultimately finishing 403 pins ahead of his closest competitor. 

This victory was not just a testament to Walsh’s skill but also a significant milestone as he transitioned to the youth division after aging out of the junior division at the end of 2023. Further news to celebrate for the boy from Ballina included the announcement of obtaining a scholarship and being signed to Mt Mercy College bowling program in the USA.

Mt Mercy College situated in Cedar Falls in Iowa, will be home for Blake come September as Blake is set to commence his first campaign in the American fall of 2024 and will join New Zealander, Ryan Julian at the University.

Owner of three international medals in 2023, potential selection for the World Youth Championships appears to be a forgone conclusion with Walsh’s future in Tenpin Bowling continuing to look more promising.

  • 1st place after Stage 1
  • 1st Place after Stage 2
grade

HIGH GAMES

Blake Walsh (NSW) – 269
Hannah Clark (QLD) – 244

The Wyncity Youth Cup set the stage for a thrilling year of youth tenpin bowling in Australia. With both champions eyeing further glory and representation on the international stage, the future of the sport in Australia shines brighter than ever.

The next youth division ranked event is the Sydney Youth Cup held at iPlay Tenpin City from the 17-19 May 2024. Entries are expected to be released shortly. 

Australian team selections for the World Youth Championships will commence shortly with announcements expected in coming weeks.

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