Trio of Janesville bowlers headed to nationals
From the state's best to the nation's best.
That's the goal for bowlers Matt Johnston, Brice Johnston and Cody Rhyner.
The Janesville residents recently won state titles and are set to compete in national tournaments over the next 10 days.
The father and son duo of Matt and Brice won the Wisconsin Family Twosome Tournament in the Parent Teen division. The Johnstons became the first team from Janesville's RiversEdge Bowl to win a state title and will compete in the national tournament in Rockford on July 20 and 21.
Rhyner was the 12U state champion at the Pepsi USBC Youth State Championship.
He won an $800 scholarship for winning state and is set to compete along with bowlers from all around the world at the North Pointe Junior Gold Championship starting Saturday in Buffalo, New York.
In winning his second state title in the last four years, Rhyner put on a show at the state meet. He came in with a 170 average but averaged 198 for six games in coasting to the title. His high game was 246 in the second game of the tournament.
“State was pretty exciting,” Rhyner said. “I had a pretty good year going into state, but I didn't expect to win it.
“I was just worrying about taking it one ball at a time and one frame at a time.”
Rhyner, the son of Dave, and Julie Rasmussen, has been bowling since he was 3. He was one of six state champions this year and competed along with 10,000 other youth bowlers from the state.
Despite winning his second state title, this is the first year Rhyner has been eligible for the national meet, where over $150,000 in scholarships is available.
“I'm just going to go out there and try and take my time with each shot,” Rhyner said. “My goal is to finish in the top five.”
Like Rhyner, the Johnstons had to win two area tournaments before advancing to state. And similar to Rhyner, the Johnstons dominated once they got there.
Entering with a combined 282 average, the Johnstons finished more than 200 pins above their handicap in the three-game format at state.
“It all just kind of came together for us,” said father, Matt. “That was the best we had ever bowled together, and obviously it came at the right time.
“We knew when we got done bowling that day that we were in first, but we had to wait two weeks after that to see if we hung on to win.”
Brice is a member of the RiversEdge youth league, but Matt had to bowl 21 games prior to the start of the tournament to get a handicap. His job doesn't leave him enough time to bowl in a weekly league.
With over $70,000 available in scholarship money at the national meet at Don Carter Lanes in Rockford, Matt hopes the twosome can duplicate its performance at state.
“The goal is definitely to try and pick-up a scholarship for Brice,” Matt said. “He's in the gifted and talented program and is college-bound, so doing well in Rockford would really help down the road.
“And because our tournament is based on handicap, everybody has the same chance going in. It comes down to how well you bowl that day.”