Aaron Yuratovich and seven more of the top youth bowlers in the nation took over Vanderbilt Hall in New York City’s Grand Central Station for a couple days in early August for the Teen Masters Grand Championship.
Top prize for winning the two-day match-play bowling battle was $64,000 in scholarship money.
The reigning Kansas 6A state champion and All-Metro boys bowler of the year, Yuratovich, who just started his junior year at Olathe East, finished second.
“Without a doubt, that was the most awesome tournament I’ve ever bowled in,” Yuratovich said. “I’ve been in bigger tournaments, but bowling in Grand Central Station was unreal. When we first got there, none of it was built and to see it transformed when we got back was amazing.”
Qualifying for the Grand Championship took place a month earlier at Freeway Lanes in Wickliffe, Ohio.
A field of 105 was culled by two-thirds after 12 rounds of qualifying. The top sixteen after another round advanced to match play.
“I wasn’t really in it after qualifying,” Yuratovich recalled. “I think I was in ninth, but I did really well in match play.”
Finishing 10-6 with 6,920 total pins, Yuratovich improved to fourth and snagged the final berth for the final in the world’s most famous commuter hub.
“It was a weird sight,” Yuratovich said. “They built one lane from scratch in the train station and made a mini stadium. It was really jaw-dropping. It’s the only tournament you get an opportunity to play in a setting like that, so it was awesome.”
Event organizers flew Yuratovich to New York and put him and his family up in the Marriott Marquis, which is located in Times Square adjacent to the famed Broadway theater district.
Opening with an upset win against Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tenn., a Junior Team USA member, Yuratovich rolled into the final unbeaten after picking off Jacob Ettinger of Lafayette, Colo.
But Greg Young of Viera, Fla., edged Yuratovich in the championship match.
“I would have loved to win, but it was a great experience anyway,” Yuratovich said. “We got to bowl in the train station, one of the most famous places in one of the world’s biggest cities.”
Yuratovich, who received $4,000 in scholarship assistance for his runner-up finish, hopes to give it another shot next summer.