Goodman's Big Night Earns Jr. Team USA Berth
July 19, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Vanderbilt's Natalie Goodman exploded in Thursday's final five-game set and in the process, blew away the field at the USBC Junior Gold Championship.
The Commodore sophomore finished first after 25 games and accordingly earned one of two coveted berths on Junior Team USA that are reserved for the top two finishers after Day Four of this marathon event. The other spots will be up for grabs Friday when a round-robin, double-elimination bracket goes into effect for the Top 16 finishers.
How good was Goodman? Pretty good! She shot 266-247-256-259-188 to out-distance NCAA Player of the Year Danielle McEwan by a comfortable margin and became the fifth Vanderbilt bowler to earn a place on the Junior Team USA roster. (Prior Vandy representatives were Josie and Jessica Earnest, Brittni Hamilton and Samantha Hesley.)
Nearly as impressive was the run by incoming transfer student Robyn Renslow of Brentwood, Calif., who sky-rocked from deep in the pack to end up in fifth place heading into Friday with scores well north of the 200 border - 220-226,254-191-204. She was just six pins out of fourth.
Two other Commodores that made the second cut to 64 included a pair of Michigan natives, Torie Ferris in 27th place and Olivia Wirtz in 44th. Amanda Fry, another incoming freshman, had made Wednesday night's cut but didn't advance beyond Thursday's first round.
Goodman has been the story this week in Indy. While she had a steady freshman year with the Commodores and bowled well in the NCAA Championship, few would have predicted her to finish high at this major event and almost nobody would have anticipated her in first place after Thursday night.
But the O'Fallon, Illinois left-hander has been steady as a rock, sitting in second place just off the pace each of the first three days. She slipped slightly during Thursday's first five games and entered the night session lurking in third place - which she quickly vacated with her opening 266.
"I went with the one-shot-at-a-time approach all week," Goodman said shortly afterwards. "I tried to remain calm, take a breath and say `you can do this'. Obviously she could.
Goodman said her year with Vanderbilt taught her some important lessons, some tangible and others intangible.
"Last year during the college season we worked on making some pitch changes and then getting comfortable with those changes," Goodman related. "Then traveling with the team I learned patience. The coaches would tell me to take my time and stay patient."
Goodman's goal heading into this week was to make the Top 16 and contend for a Junior Team berth. Having already assured herself of her ultimate goal, she indicated that she will do her best to keep the one-shot-at-a-time plan in place and stay focused as Friday's match play will actually crown the 2012 Jr. Gold champion. That plan not only worked wonders here but also two years ago when she captured the Illinois state high school championship. But she admits that might be a little harder than it's been with the excitement of the evening.
"I'm going to do my best to get a good night's sleep but I don't think that's going to be easy," she admitted.