ARLINGTON, Texas – A pair of teams representing the Professional Women’s Bowling Association will look to make history later in 2020 by becoming the first all-female team to hoist the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) League Elias Cup.
The PBA recently announced the addition of the teams, welcoming the Phoenix Fury and Miami Waves to the league, which started in 2013. The PWBA teams in the 12-team league will feature athletes who competed on the PWBA Tour in 2019 and finished in the top 35 on the season-long points list.
Team members will be determined through a draft on Tuesday, July 7, at 4 p.m. Eastern. The draft will be broadcast on FloBowling.
The 2020 PBA League Elias Cup tournament is being rescheduled because of COVID-19 and public health concerns. The PBA announced the event will be scheduled in the fall at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, and broadcast live on FS1.
PWBA Tour champion and United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Kim Kearney will manage the Phoenix Fury, while fellow hall of famer Bob Learn Jr. will lead the Miami Waves.
Kearney collected 10 titles while competing on tour, including three majors – 2001 and 2008 U.S. Women’s Open and 2002 USBC Queens. She rejoined the Team USA coaching staff earlier in 2020 and also is the head coach of the North Carolina A&T women’s bowling program.
“To have the chance to coach the absolute best female bowlers in the world is an honor in itself,” Kearney said. “The fact that the PBA has provided me this opportunity is certainly something I take seriously.
“I will take into account the team environment, lane pattern and environment in which we will be competing (when selecting my team). It will be tough, but I intend to assemble the best team available. So many (athletes) are deserving, and I am sure so many want to be on the team, but the trouble is, I am only allowed to select five.”
Learn is part of the 2020 USBC Hall of Fame class in the Veterans category. He has won five PBA Tour titles, including the 1999 U.S. Open, and has captured three gold medals as part of Senior Team USA. He serves as the head coach of the men’s and women’s bowling programs at Martin Methodist.
“I was very excited to have received the call to become a team manager,” Learn said. “I have had experience working with some of the players already when I was part of the Team USA coaching program, so this is a good fit for me.
“With the list of talented players we get to choose from, we will have the necessary tools to be very competitive in this year’s competition. I am sure that the fans will embrace us as well, so this should be a lot of fun.”
The list of eligible players for the draft includes 21 PWBA Tour champions, two PWBA Players of the Year (Liz Johnson and Shannon O’Keefe), two USBC Hall of Famers (Johnson and Kelly Kulick) and athletes from 11 countries (Canada, Colombia, England, Germany, Indonesia, Latvia, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Ukraine, United States).
Johnson, Kulick and Danielle McEwan previously have bowled in the PBA League, and 2020 PWBA Hall of Fame inductee Carolyn Dorin-Ballard serves as the manager of the NYC KingPins.
The players eligible for the draft are (in order from the 2019 PWBA Tour points list): O’Keefe; McEwan; Dasha Kovalova; Liz Johnson; Clara Guerrero; Jordan Richard; Missy Parkin; Liz Kuhlkin; Stefanie Johnson; Maria José Rodriguez; Bryanna Coté; Shannon Pluhowsky; Cherie Tan; Josie Barnes; Tannya Roumimper; Birgit Pöppler; Diana Zavjalova; Valerie Bercier; Kelly Kulick; Sydney Brummett; Verity Crawley; Giselle Poss; Sandra Gongora; Shayna Ng; Julia Bond; Erin McCarthy; Rocio Restrepo; Ashly Galante; Jen Higgins; Gazmine Mason; Lindsay Boomershine; Daria Pajak; Jodi Woessner; Katelyn Simpson; and Daphne Tan.