Kodiak’s Nathaniel Kiefer

Kodiak’s Nathaniel Kiefer poses for a photo with professional bowler Chris Barnes at the Junior Gold Championship last week in Detroit.

KODIAK — Facing the nation’s best 12-and-under bowlers, Kodiak’s Nathaniel Kiefer rolled to a 188th-place finish at Junior Gold Championship last week in Detroit. 

Kiefer averaged a score of 137 during the 16 games of qualifying. The top qualifier of the 266-person field put up a score of 197. Kiefer’s best block of games was on Day 1, when he posted games of 168, 160, 158 and 114, which put him in 139th place. 

“He wishes he could have done better, but is grateful for the communities contributions and looks forward to next year when Vegas hosts the Junior Gold Championships,” said Matt Kiefer, Nathaniel’s father. 

Nathaniel Kiefer, 12, was picked to carry the Alaska flag during opening ceremonies. There were six bowlers from Alaska competing in the biggest youth bowling tournament in the nation.

“He was super stoked to be the sign carrier across the stage,” Matt said. 

Nathaniel said attending the trade show and meeting professional bowlers was the highlight of the trip. He had a beaming smile when he met his favorite bowler, Chris Barnes. He also posed with photos with Jason Belmonte and Kyle Troup. 

The rising seventh-grader, who has been bowling since the age of 4,  also attended his first Major League Baseball game. The Blue Jays beat the Tigers 12-1. 

“It was pretty cool, but I wish the Tigers played a little better,” Nathaniel said. 

Nathaniel qualified for his first Junior Gold Championship by winning his age division at the 2019 Pepsi Tournament in April in Wasilla. 

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