INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- As if Vanderbilt's bowling program hasn't had enough success at the USBC's Junior Gold Championship this week, incoming transfer student Robyn Renslow sent shock waves through the field of 569 competitors by winning the Junior Gold championship and becoming the second Commodore to make the Junior Team USA in less than 24 hours.
Last night and through much of the week-long tournament it was sophomore Natalie Goodman in the limelight as she finished 25 grueling games on top of the field and securing one of the two automatic berths for the elite national team. At the time she had become the fifth Commodore in seven years to make Uncle Sam's team. Make that now six 'Dores in seven years.
The top 16 finishers were put into a double-elimination round-robin Friday to crown the tourney champion and determine the rest of the Junior Team USA roster and it was Renslow who came roaring out of the pack win it all. In doing so, she is the second Vanderbilt bowler in three years to win this national event; Brittni Hamilton took the title in 2010.
Renslow beat Jackie Carbonetto, an All-American who attends Sacred Heart University, in the championship match. Carbonetto had lost earlier in the double-elimination format to Goodman but had come back with strong pin counts up to the finals.
Renslow is one of two California newcomers to the Vanderbilt program this fall. The Brentwood, Calif., product spent the past year at Los Medanos College as a full-time student - not bowling competitively -- but was remembered by the Vanderbilt coaches when she expressed interest in transferring.
"I came into this tournament hoping I would win," Renslow said, "but when I started out slow I knew I needed to step up my game - make the next two days better. I was really not too worried about my early position because I knew I was not the only one to have problems."
Renslow had plenty of reason for confidence. Earlier in the month she had won the prestigious Firecracker tournament in Ventura, Calif., an event with a big field and talented collegiate bowlers.
"I think I bowled 40 games at the Firecracker," she said as she recounted 18 games over short, medium and long patterns, match play games and then a step-ladder to the title. Interestingly, she was the bottom seed in the step ladder here, not unlike her experience in Indianapolis.
The Californian says despite her outwardly cool and calm demeanor that she does have some nerves and said they were particularly pesky in the semi-final match, a game in which if she won the Junior Team USA berth would be assured.
"We are excited for Robyn and her big accomplishment," Coach John Williamson said. "She has been an outstanding youth bowler for a long time. She is a relentless competitor as evidenced by her tremendous performance. Robyn is strong academically and wants to pursue a career in the medical field and with her excellent bowling background she was a great fit for us. We are looking forward to what she can add to our program."
Ironically, Renslow and Goodman were both unbeaten and faced each other in the bracket quarter-finals, which Renslow won. Goodman, with her ultimate prize already guaranteed, was sent into the loser's bracket where she was eventually eliminated.
This year's Vanderbilt team will now include three members of Junior Team USA - Goodman, Renslow and senior Jessica Earnest, who earlier this month won a Gold Medal at the World Youth Games in her final performance in junior bowling.
Complete tournament information is found on bowl.com.