Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., may be young, but since 2010, he’s been one of the most accomplished bowlers in the world.
He burst onto the scene with wins at the 2010 North Pointe High School Singles Championships and 2010 USBC Junior Gold Championships, which earned him the first of his three consecutive appearances on Junior Team USA.
The 21-year-old’s success only snowballed from there, including a win at the 2012 USBC Team USA Trials and back-to-back berths on Team USA. He has earned a handful of medals for the United States and finished second at the 2012 QubicaAMF World Cup.
Kent, the 2012 Russian Open Champion, has been dominant at the collegiate level, too, picking up Collegiate Rookie of the Year honors during the 2011-12 season and consecutive Collegiate Player of the Year awards (2011-12 and 2012-13).
In July, Kent proved himself again with a fourth-place finish at the Lipton Bowling’s U.S. Open and received attention from Professional Bowlers Association Commissioner Tom Clark, who went on to offer him a membership exemption and a spot in this week’s PBA World Series of Bowling V in Las Vegas. A second exemption allowed former National Football League star Terrell Owens to enter the WSOB as well.
We caught up with Kent in Las Vegas to see how things were going and see what advice he could offer to bowlers thinking about testing their skills against the best players in the world:
IAB: When you were sitting comfortably (or not comfortably) in your airplane seat on your way to your very first World Series of Bowling, what was going on in your head?
MK: Well, heading to Las Vegas for the WSOB was exciting. I upgraded my flight to a first-class ticket, so I was extremely comfortable and enjoying every minute of the flight! I had just got done with a great week of practice, so I was very excited to see what I could do against the best bowlers in the world.
IAB: What at the WSOB has made you say, WOW?
MK: Terrell Owens. It was crazy to think that I was bowling RIGHT NEXT to one of the greatest receivers in football!
IAB: Looking around the practice session, you realize you’re bowling next to the best bowlers in the world. Who do you think is the ACTUAL best bowler in the world? Why?
MK: I think the best bowler around is Chris Barnes. His physical game is very solid and extremely repeatable, and he’s always been a friendly person to talk to.
IAB: What are three things you MUST do at this World Series of Bowling to be successful.
MK: 1. Get out of my own way and let myself bowl
2. Trust myself to make moves
3. Keep my emotions in check
IAB: What is your biggest fear this week?
MK: Coming back disappointed in myself. I can handle not bowling well. I’ll get over that. But being disappointed with how I present myself is a feeling I hate. That’s a fear at every tournament
IAB: How did you find out you got this exemption into the WSOB? Were you hoping for it? What were your initial thoughts?
MK: I talked to Tom Clark at the U.S. Open because I’d heard about an exemption from a couple sources. I decided to ask, and he said on the spot he would give me one, which was pretty exciting! I’ve thanked him numerous times for the opportunity, and I was more than thrilled to be able to bowl the event this year!
This interview was done BEFORE Marshall blew everyone away on the night of October 29, 2013 by LEADING the PBA Scorpion Championship Finals. On behalf of the entire International Art of Bowling staff, we wish you all the luck in the world on the show.