Maryland’s Kayla Starr and California’s Ernesto Reynoso became the latest youth players to win the PBA Jr. National Championships. 

Two PBA Jr. boys and two girls advanced from each of five regional qualifiers held last summer to reach the PBA Jr. National Championships Finals. Ten games of round-robin match play at Bowlero Northrock in Wichita, Kan. determined the seeding for the five-player stepladder finals.

Illinois’ Gianna Brandolino and Colorado’s Dmitri Richardson each earned the top seed and clinched a berth in the televised championship match, while Starr and Reynoso each emerged from the non-televised stepladder to reach the finals.

Starr, who finished as the runner-up in this event two years ago, came out determined to finish on the other side. The Crofton, Md. native struck on her first four shots and never looked back.

Starr defeated Brandolino in the girls championship, 259-209.

“It’s good to know that all the hard work paid off,”’ Starr said. 

The lone blemishes on Starr’s scorecard were a pair of 10-pin conversions; meanwhile Brandolino tallied just two strikes through seven frames, then left a pocket 7-10 in the eighth frame and stifle any comeback attempt.

Starr will begin her college bowling career at the University of Nebraska next fall, where she will join a two-time PBA Jr. Girls National Champion — the same girl who defeated Starr two years ago, in fact — Jillian Martin.


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Roles were reversed in the boys title match as top-seeded Dmitri Richardson of Denver came out striking while Reynoso struggled to carry the corner pins in the first half.

But everything flipped in the sixth frame.

Richardson left a pocket 7-10, then Reynoso struck to start a four-bagger after switching to reactive. That ball change proved to be the difference maker for Reynoso as a pair of 10-pin leaves from Richardson in the ninth and 10th frames all-but sealed the win for Reynoso.

Reynoso collected his second national youth title in the past year after winning the U15 Boys division of the Junior Gold Championships last summer.


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After the singles matches, the PBA Jr. players teamed up with PBA and PWBA stars — but it was Starr and Reynoso who looked like the pros.

Starr and 2019 PWBA Rookie of the Year Valerie Bercier defeated Brandolino and Lindsay Boomershine, who won the 2023 USBC Queens and this month’s Go Bowling PBA NASCAR Invitational at Phoenix Raceway, in a five-frame baker doubles match, 107-74.

Reynoso and EJ Tackett took down Richardson and AJ Johnson in a strike-filled, 147-129 match.

In the doubles finals, a full 10-frame game, the PBA Jr. stars each struck on their first four shots while their professional counterparts tallied three strikes and two non-strikes each.

Reynoso then fired all three strikes in the 10th frame to shut out Starr and Bercier by a single pin.

Reynoso struck on 11 of his 12 shots in the doubles competition and 18 of his 23 shots throughout the entire show. Only one of his non-strikes knocked down less than nine pins.

“[This means] everything,” Reynoso said. “I’m so happy all my hard work paid off, countless hours I’ve spent in the bowling alley. This means the world to me. I’m so excited right now.”

For their wins, Reynoso and Starr each collected $7,500 in SMART scholarship earnings. Richardson and Brandolino, who committed to Jacksonville State University for the 2025 season, each added $3,750 to their college funds. 

The show was taped Jan. 14 at Bowlero Northrock in Wichita, Kan.

PBA Jr. National Championships Results

Girls Championship: Kayla Starr def. Gianna Brandolino, 259-209

Boys Championship: Ernesto Reynoso def. Dmitri Richardson, 236-222

Girls Doubles: Valerie Bercier and Kayla Starr def. Lindsay Boomershine and Gianna Brandolino, 107-74 (five-frame match)

Boys Doubles: EJ Tackett and Ernesto Reynoso def. AJ Johnson and Dmitri Richardson, 147-129 (five-frame match)

Doubles Championship: EJ Tackett and Ernesto Reynoso def. Valerie Bercier and Kayla Starr, 258-218

Past PBA Jr. National Champions

2024 — Kayla Starr and Ernesto Reynoso

2023 — Kaitlyn Stull and Jacob Robertson

2022 — Jillian Martin and Landin Jordan

2021 — Jillian Martin and Spencer Robarge

More information on the girls division of the PBA Jr. National Championship is available here.

More information on the boys division of the PBA Jr. National Championship is available here.