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Keaton Ross wins gold medal in bowling at State Games of America

Keaton Ross wins gold medal in bowling at State Games of America
Press photo by John Burbridge
Keaton Ross holds his Rhino bowling ball that helped him win the gold medal in the 12-and-under division at the State Games of America.

By John Burbridge

CHARLES CITY — You’ve gotta give Keaton Ross the “Mark Roth ‘Thumbs-Up’ Award” if such an award exists.

For people like Keaton who had yet to be born, Roth dominated the Professional Bowling Association Tour during the late 1970s and early 1980s. One season, he averaged greater than 220 on the tour when averages that high back then were rare even in one-house bowling leagues.

Roth never made the sport look easy with his high backswing and the revved-up crank he put on the ball. His style prompted numerous thumb injuries as sometimes Roth would finish tournaments with blood popping out of his thumb hole and onto the lane.

Like Roth, Ross had thumb problems during the 12-and-under bowling competition as part of the State Games of America.

“I had to bowl 11 games down there,” Ross said of the national tournament held Aug. 3-4 at New River Valley Superbowl in Christiansburg, Virginia.

“My thumb hole was too tight which made my thumb more sore the more games I bowled.”
Ross was able to fight through it, and in a roll-off for the title, managed to win the gold medal by two pins.

For Ross, it was his first national bowling title.

Ross had qualified for the State Games of America by placing third in the Iowa State Games earlier in the summer.

He has been bowling in the youth program at Comet Bowl for five years. Ross’s brothers, Kale and Dillon, bowl for the Charles City High School team.

Ross is a two-ball bowler, using his Rhino for his first-ball and his Storm for spares.

“My new ball is going to be a Black Widow,” said Ross, a right-handed hook bowler with a high game of 238.