SEMINOLE, Fla. – In her role as a Team USA assistant coach, Kelly Kulick had to opportunity to work with the members of Junior Team USA who competed in the World Youth Championships in Detroit. She will readily admit it not only was great to help the young bowlers, but it also helped her game.
Heading into Saturday’s Round of 12 at the Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open, Kulick is in seventh place and will have six games to work her way into the five and a spot in the TV finals. CBS Sports Network will have live coverage of the stepladder finals from Seminole Lanes on Saturday at 6 p.m. (Eastern).
“A really good start, 78 out of 80 clean frames, missed one single pin the last game and a pocket 7-10, so I controlled the pocket really well,” Kulick said following Friday morning’s opening round. “Crossing with (tournament leader) Daria (Pajak) is a blessing. She hooks it more than I do, but we actually can read off each other.”
Kulick said the week working with the Junior Team USA members, helping prepare the team for the World Youth Championships, was rewarding and she was excited to see the U.S. girls capture the team title on Thursday. The Junior Team USA girls had not won the team title since 2012.
“The impact I had, being one of the coaches with such a great staff, and really being able to mentor and be a role model for the kids … to see them on the podium and win a gold medal, I wish I could have been there to witness it,” Kulick said. “I am thrilled. We had two silver (medals) up to that point and the whole goal of that event is to win team, to win gold.”
Being in the PWBA Tour’s top 24 on the points list put Kulick into the three Elite events that started with this week’s Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open. She said watching the top youth bowlers in the world, and working alongside the Team USA coaches, provided a different perspective heading into this week.
“I was motivated by them, I learned a lot about the game itself,” Kulick said. “When you have four minds out there, and how they see the lanes, their mentality … as a coach, I’m really picking up so much by working with the different coaches and the different youth players.”
While she has been on television every week as an analyst on CBS Sports Network bowling telecasts, Kulick also got some advice from her television partner while they worked the Junior Gold Championships and USA Bowling National Championships shows in July druing the PWBA's break.
“Dave Ryan said it to me at Junior Gold – the season is not over, I have opportunities ahead of me,” Kulick said. “It’s a cliché, but one shot at a time.”