National Training Squad Update – April 2021

By Matt Stevens
April 30, 2021

Welcome to the April NTS Update.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter with your family.

April has been a very busy and productive month for our NTS Athletes; across many fields and locations. Beginning with two major ranked events in Victoria over the Easter long weekend, the Australian Open and Vic 150, and rounding off with the SA Seniors event last weekend, our NTS athletes were kept busy here on local soil. We will discuss our NTS Athlete performances in these events shortly.

Internationally, we even had three of our leading athletes head overseas, travelling to the US to compete in the USBC Masters and US Open events, each standing proudly amongst the world’s best.  

International: 3 Aussies Shine At Major US Events

April saw three of our NTS Athletes travel to the US to compete in two major events: USBC Masters and the PBA US Open. As our leading male athletes, Jason Belmonte and Sam Cooley are familiar names you would expect to see at these events. However, this year they were also joined by 20-year-old Youth NTS Athlete Callum Borck.   

USBC Masters:

A stunning performance by all three athletes, each of them making the cut and cashing at the event;

  • Sam Cooley was the best finishing in 6th position, just outside the televised final. So close.
  • Jason Belmonte finished close behind in equal 13th position.
  • Callum Borck finished in equal 49th position out of 216, beating many other top athletes and pros.

On what was an extremely tough condition, (over 30ml volume, 40 foot, flat 1.6 to 1 pattern), it was much tougher than any sport condition we see here in Australia. Add to this the format, number of games and pressure of the event; I must say a tremendous effort by all three athletes to finish where they did. Congratulations Guys – you did Australia proud!


Callum followed on from his debut performance in USBC Masters by qualifying for the US Open, joining Jason and Sam in this prestige PBA event.

  • After 24 games qualifying, Sam (5th Place) and Jason (8th Place) both made the matchplay round of 32.
  • Callum Borck missed out on proceeding, finishing in a respectable 70th position out of 108, and averaging over 200 for his 24 games. Not bad for a newcomer.

After the top 32 matchplay and 56 games in total, Sam Cooley again finished just short of the televised stepladder in 6th position (225 average), followed by Jason Belmonte close behind in 12th position (222 average).

All three athletes performed fantastic in two of the toughest events in the world, showing what they are made of, and flying Australia’s flag proudly overseas. We are proud of you all; congratulations on a job well done.

College Bowling:

Jamie Phelan’s season continued with her Monmouth University Hawks attending their first-ever USBC Sectionals event.

The Hawks as a team performed exceptionally well by finishing in second place and earning a spot in the National Intercollegiate Team Championships. Monmouth University will be one of 16 teams competing in Wyoming from May 5-8 (US times), and it will be the first time in school history they have qualified for the event.

Best of luck Jamie!

A quick shout out about some of the notable performances by our NTS Athletes over the past month.

Australian Open (AO):

The Australian Open is a long-running premier event held at Keon Park, where competitors qualify over 18 games, followed by another six games for the top 24, then a matchplay round of 11 games for the top 12 qualifiers. This format and tournament are always well attended and competitive.

  • NTS athletes from our Junior, Youth Adult and Senior Squads were part of the field of 102 athletes competing for the Australian Open Title. In a hard-fought battle, David Porto comes out the victor.
  • Jarrod Langford continued his superb 2021 form and was our highest placed NTS male, finishing second to David with an overall average of 224. Awesome performance.
  • Two other NTS Adult men – Chris Castle (5th Place) and Adam Hayes (8th Place) – joined Jarrod by making the top 12 match play round, fighting hard all the way to the end.

Well done guys; great effort to you all.

VIC 150:

The VIC 150 is one of our more interesting formats for our Women. Also a long-running prestige event held at Keon Park over Easter, is a tradition. All competitors qualify with 18 games before the top 12 in each division are paired into doubles combinations (Scratch + Graded) to complete 11 games matchplay.

  • We had 12 of our NTS Ladies present to compete in the VIC 150 this year in a field of 24 scratch bowlers.
  • Champion: Bek Martin (teamed with Lisa Gaylor) took out the VIC 150 title this year in a hard-fought battle. Averaging over 200 for 29 games through the event, they survived a strong finish by the second-placed team—fantastic effort Bek, and a well-deserved win to be proud of. Congratulations.
  • Highest Average Scratch Bowler: for the event after 29 games was Bec Whiting, averaging 217.

However, I need to make special note of her performance earlier in the event:

  • In Bec’s first nine games of qualifying, she averaged 242.7, including both 289 and 279 games.
  • After day 1, this score led the whole house (even the men in the AO) by more than 9 pins per game.

This is certainly a dominant performance worth acknowledgement and praise. Well done Bec; awesome! 


SA Senior Classic:

Many of our senior NTS athletes were in South Australia last weekend for the SA Seniors Classic, the second-ranked event for seniors this year. Competitors bowled 16 games each over two days in rotating squads to decide the title.


  • The event was taken out by Steve Lenton, averaging 220.5; Congratulations Steve!
  • Mike Muir was the highest placed male NTS member, finishing in 4th position, with an average of 217.6.
  • We had Warren Stewart two pins behind Mike in 5th place, followed a few pins back by Brett Smith in 7th and Barry Dodds in 8th position, making it four NTS athletes in the top eight.

Solid performance guys; well done.


  • The event was won easily by Jo Babic, 211 pins ahead of second place. Great work Jo!
  • Cheryl Womack was our highest placed NTS female, finishing in 2nd place.
  • Cheryl was followed by Christine Clark, Janet Baker, Suz Wenzel, Robyn Flynn and Sue Cassell, making it six NTS Athletes in the top ten of this event.

This was another solid performance by our NTS ladies; a job well done.

Coming Up Next Month:

No rest for the wicked, with another full month coming in May.

No less than four upcoming ranked events for our NTS athletes; including

Please stay tuned for more NTS news and achievements.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and continue to bowl well.