LAS VEGAS — Vanderbilt’s Adel Wahner tied for third at the United States Bowling Congress U.S. Amateur Championship which concluded late Tuesday night at the Gold Coast Hotel.
The Commodore senior finished the five-day, 30-game tournament tied with Paige Peters of Toms River, New Jersey, but lost her chance to make the three-woman stepladder which would ultimately determine the champion when the tie-breaker was total pin fall over the event.
Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, defeated Cayla Hicks of Salem, Virginia, to take the title after Hicks had beaten Peters in the semifinal.
Wahner had lurked among near the top of the elite leaderboard the entire tournament and had come into the event fresh off a win at the Las Vegas Open, part of the Junior Bowlers Tour.
“I came into this tournament feeling confident about my game,” Wahner said. “I was just trying to stay consistent from day to day. I never had a crazy big day, but by being consistent I was able to stay competitive.”
Wahner experienced a variety of emotions after the fifth round. Sitting with Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson and her father, Paul, she at first thought her rather lack-luster final day had doomed her chances at the stepladder – then realized she had tied for third only to be disappointed upon learning that her total pin fall was just a few less than Peters.
Wahner, known as one of the hardest workers in Vanderbilt program history, said she practiced as much as possible while at home on winter break. That meant driving two hours round-trip to El Paso, Texas, the nearest lanes to her home.
Wahner’s third place tie marks one of the program’s higher finishes at the U.S. Open. A year ago, current Vandy freshman Mabel Cummins finished as runner-up.
Cummins had another strong showing this year, placing 13th among the 147 competitors and that finish and past resume won her another year’s spot on Junior Team USA.
Five other Commodores were competing in the field. Samantha Gainor, Liz Ross, Amelia Kiefer, Bryanna Leyen and Angelique Dalesandro all had their moments during the demanding championship which used a different sport shot oil pattern each day.
The standings were not based upon total pin fall but rather a point system based upon each individual’s daily finish. A bowler that placed fifth on a given day, for example, would be given five points while a bowler finishing 125th would be assigned 125 points. The totals were added each day to establish a leaderboard.
Wahner has a history of placing well in big events. Two years ago she made the Junior Team USA after a high finish at the Junior Gold Championship. The Las Cruces, New Mexico native was voted a third-team All-America after her junior season by the National Ten Pin Coaches Association.
The seven Commodores and Williamson will remain in Las Vegas to compete in an NCAA tournament this weekend. The team’s other three members – Emily Rigney, Maria Bulanova and Lauren Potechin – will rejoin their teammates Thursday.