A local teen has found his way to bowling success, earning a national championship title last week. Ernesto Reynoso,15, of Folsom is a 2023 Junior Gold Champion, a competition that will soon be broadcast on national television.

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Reynoso, a student at Vista del Lago High School, was among more than 3,250 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Youth members that competed in Junior Gold 2023 over the last two weeks. The competition traveled across six bowling centers in the Indianapolis area with each of the entrants having hopes of winning a portion of the some $450,000 in scholarship funds, making a run at a national title and earning a spot-on Junior Team USA.

The competition came to a close on Saturday with the crowning of six division champions. Reynoso took the top prize in the 15 and under (UB15) division in the stepladder finals at the prestigious Royal Pin Western.

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This was just Reynoso’s third appearance in the competition. It was the first time he reached the winner’s circle after he defeated top seed Matteo Quintero of Smyrna, Tennessee with a final score of 237-198.

Matteo won the 2021 U12 boys title and seemed to be on his way to another championship title early in the game. According to a USBC game report, Reynosa stepped up and looked like a seasoned veteran, delivering a, “clutch six-bagger in frames four through nine to keep Matteo at arm’s length.”

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“This week was a long grind, so I knew I needed to stay patient and make my spares,” Reynoso said. “That approach allowed me to qualify second, get through the advancers rounds and make the show. 

According the game report, Matteo continued to fight to the end; however, when his attempted conversion of the 2-4-5-7 left the 5 pin standing, resulting in an open frame in the seventh, Reynoso’s lead was too big to overcome, allowing Reynoso to secure the victory and become the newest U15 boys national champion.

“Once I reached the stepladder, I knew that I needed to stay patient, not let the nerves get the best of me and make my best shots,” said Reynoso. “I did that, and that’s what allowed me to be standing here holding this trophy.”

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Before shooting 237 against Matteo in the title match, Reynoso rattled off a seven-bagger in frames four through 10 to defeat No. 2 seed Landon Dreibelbis of Ashland, Ohio, 246-200, in the semifinals. Dreibelbis recorded eight strikes during that battle, but a pair of splits led to open frames in the third and sixth frames, which was all the room Ernesto needed to jump ahead.

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In addition to the trophy, this week’s stellar effort allowed Ernesto to earn a spot on the 2024 Junior Team USA Developmental Team, and that meant just as much to him as the Junior Gold title.

“The trophy and the Team USA jacket are about equally special to me,” Ernesto said. “I was happy with whatever happened on TV because I had already earned the jacket. To be on Junior Team USA and get the win makes this even better.

Reynoso shared the champions stage with the following competitors who topped their respective divisions; Aidan Furukawa of Sunbury, Ohio (U18), Ryan Campbell of Clinton, South Carolina (U12), in the boys divisions. The champions on the girls side were Gianna Brandolino of Channahon, Illinois (U18), Larielle Tharps of Orlando, Florida (U15), and Alexandra McCowan of Anaheim, California (U12

The finals in each division were taped for broadcast on CBS Sports Network. Reynoso’s championship game is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. (Eastern) for those that want to watch the local teen’s championship winning run. 

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan