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Bowling News USA - April 8, 2014 Storm's Liz Johnson, Jason Belmonte Selected IBMA Bowlers of the Year...

Wins in major events propelled Liz Johnson and Jason Belmonte to major accolades as they were selected 2013 Bowlers of the Year by the International Bowling Media Association. Johnson, a 40-year-old right-hander from Cheektowaga,N.Y., captured the top spot in the women's voting in large part because of her victory in the U.S. Women's Open. Belmonte, a two-handed thrower from Australia, led the men's voting thanks to winning the United States Bowling Congress Masters. Accomplished achieved during calendar-year 2013 were considered by the worldwide panel of voters.

In addition to her U.S. Open victory, Johnson placed second in team event, third in Masters, sixth in doubles, 14th in all-events,and 33rd in singles in the World Tenpin World Championships. She also finished third in the International Bowling Championships and World Bowling Tour finals, and tied for 17th in the USBC Queens.  She collected 144 points, including 24 first-place votes. Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., was next with 70 points followed by Shannon O'Keefe with 47, Diana Zavajova with 22 and Missy Parkin with 15.  “I am both overwhelmed and honored that IBMA chose me as the 2013 female bowler of the year,” Johnson said. “As our sport continues to expand globally it is really a special award because now we are competing with all the talented girls internationally."

Belmonte, the 30-year-old two-handed Australian who also was named PBA Player of the Year for 2012-13, easily led the men's voting with 205 points including 39 first-place votes. Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., was a distant second with 69 points, Wes Malott 41, Sean Rash 34, and Mika Koivuniemi 17.  "I am incredibly honored to win such a prestigious award,” Belmonte said. “Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me. It certainly means so much to me to be named Bowler of the Year and I will display the award proudly."  Besides his USBC victory, Belmonte also captured the Australian Masters. He placed second in the Professional Bowlers AssociationTournament of Champions, World Championship, and U.S. Open, third in the Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship, fourth in the Summer Swing GEICO King of the Swing special event, and fourth in the WSOB V Viper Championship.. He led the PBA in earnings with $135,679 and in average at 223.70.  Johnson and Belmonte will be honored June 25 during the IBMA Convention as part of International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas.

(courtesy IBMA)

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April, 2014