North Carolina's Kaitlyn Stull and Mississippi's Jakob Robertson won the PBA Jr. National Championships, earning a $7,500 scholarship.


The stars of tomorrow became the talents of today at the 2023 PBA Jr. National Championships. At AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio, Kaitlyn Stull and Jakob Robertson joined the long list of PBA legends to raise trophies on the iconic lanes 27-28.

Last summer, two PBA Jr. boys and two girls advanced from each of five regions to set up the 10-player championship fields. Ten games of round-robin match play at AMF Brookgate Lanes determined the seeding for the five-player stepladder finals. Competition moved to Riviera for the televised championship matches.

Stull, a 15-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., defeated Texas’ Bella Love Castillo, 227-205, for the Girls Championship. She earned $7,500 in SMART scholarship.

Castillo earned the No. 1 seed in the girls division, averaging over 222 on the 42-foot Mark Roth pattern and compiling an 8-2 match play record. The top seed secured an automatic berth on the televised finals, but this was not her debut under the bright lights — the 13-year-old two-hander won the Celebrity Super Clash at last fall’s Jimmie Allen PBA Challenge.

Stull, the No. 2 seed, defeated Erin Klemencic of Powder Springs, Ga., to advance to the TV finals.

In the title match, the girls started slow with spares, but came alive midway through the match. Stull fired a triple from the fourth through sixth frames, while Castillo doubled to keep pace.

The match turned when Castillo missed a 7-pin in the ninth frame, setting up an opportunity for Stull to shut out the two-handed sensation. Needing a strike in the ninth and a double in the 10th to clinch the win, Stull struck on all four shots.

Robertson, a 17-year-old from Oxford, Miss., defeated Minnesota’s Zach Andresen, 217-213 to claim the Boys Championship. In the 10th frame, Robertson delivered exactly what he needed to secure the title and the $7,500 in SMART scholarship: a strike and seven pins.

Robertson fired the tournament’s first 300 game during match play qualifying and averaged more than 232. He tied Andresen in the position round to hang onto the top seed by just five pins.

Andresen, also 17, wasn’t far behind, averaging over 230 himself. He defeated Devan Skridla of Rockford, Ill. in the semifinal to set up a rematch — this time under the bright lights.

For Robertson, a key ball change proved to be the difference in the championship match. To break his dutch 200 pace, Robertson struck in the ninth frame after switching from urethane to reactive equipment on the left lane.

Andresen was unable to shut him out in the 10th, and the Mississippi senior delivered in the clutch to secure the title.

After the singles matches, PBA and PWBA stars joined the PBA Jr. players for a doubles competition.

Stull and seven-time PWBA champion Danielle McEwan took on Castillo and five-time PWBA champion Dasha Kovalova in a five-frame match. After Stull struck on both her attempts on the left lane, McEwan doubled in the final frame to clinch the win.

Nine-time PBA champion Kyle Troup paired up with Andresen, teaching him the art of the pick, to besiege Robertson and current Player of the Year front-runner EJ Tackett. Troup and Andresen nearly fired a first-ever perfect 150 game, but Troup ironically left the same split that he left against Tackett at the U.S. Open on his fill ball.

The doubles championship featured a single-game match between Stull/McEwan and Andresen/Troup.

After a slow start, each converting a 10-pin after Stull left a split in the first frame, McEwan and Stull fired five strikes in a row to take a commanding lead. Andresen — not “Anderson” — spared a pair of 5-pins, then tripped the 4-9 in the ninth frame. Troup struck in the 10th, but it was too little, too late.

McEwan, Stull’s idol, polished off the 227-206 win. Stull and McEwan became the first women to win the doubles championship in the event’s three-year history.

Final Scores

Girls Championship: Kaitlyn Stull def. Bella Love Castillo, 227-

Boys Championship: Jakob Robertson def. Zach Andresen, 217-213

Girls Doubles: Kaitlyn Stull and Danielle McEwan def. Bella Love Castillo and Dasha Kovalova, 116-100

Boys Doubles: Zach Andresen and Kyle Troup def. Jakob Robertson and EJ Tackett, 146-86

Doubles Championship: Kaitlyn Stull and Danielle McEwan def. Zach Andresen and Kyle Troup, 227-206

Girls Final Standings

  1. Katilyn Stull, $7,500 SMART scholarship
  2. Bella Love Castillo, $3,750 SMART scholarship
  3. Erin Klemencic, $1,875 SMART scholarship
  4. Katelyn Abigania, $1,000 SMART scholarship
  5. Avery Domaguin, $750 SMART scholarship

Boys Final Standings

  1. Jakob Robertson, $7,500 SMART scholarship
  2. Zach Andresen, $3,750 SMART scholarship
  3. Devan Skridla, $1,875 SMART scholarship
  4. Zachary Smullen, $1,000 SMART scholarship
  5. Dohoon Kwon, $750 SMART scholarship