Brandon Mansell is heading to his fourth Canadian 5-pin bowling championship next week and is hoping for his first medal.
The 21-year-old Minnedosa native is part of the Manitoba men’s team that will compete in the Canadian Open Championships in Calgary from Wednesday to May 31. This is Mansell’s third appearance at an adult nationals as part of the men’s team. His first appearance was as part of the mixed team and he participated in three junior national events. He knows it will be tough to get there, but Mansell would love to end up on the podium next weekend.
"The goal at nationals would definitely be to medal. I’ve never medalled in the adult stage, so that would be great to get on a roll and get the team going and get on the podium," he said. "We definitely have the skill. We’re all really good bowlers. We just need to keep focused. We’re going to come up against some hot teams and just keep going and start fast and put the pressure on right away."
Mansell, the youngest member of the Manitoba team, had a solid provincial championship in Brandon last month with a 290.50 average and a high game of 423. However, he’s not sure if he’ll be able to repeat that performance with a 20-game round robin at nationals compared to the 12-game round robin at provincials.
While it can be a grind to play that much, Mansell admits he doesn’t notice fatigue as the event rolls along.
"The energy keeps going," he said.
"This will be my third time at this particular nationals. Yeah, it’s about eight or so games a day so you keep going. It’s a team event so you don’t get super tired. There’s four other guys on the team bowling with you so you’re not going constantly."
The men’s team plays six games on the first two days of the competition and seven on May 30. The top four teams in the 11-squad field advance to the stepladder playoffs on May 31.
Mansell has been busy practising at alleys in Minnedosa and Winnipeg to prepare for nationals and is ready to go to Calgary.
"I’m super excited," he said. "We’ve had a really, really good year. Hopefully it shows off at nationals."
Meanwhile, Brandonite Garry Hamm will compete in the men’s singles event, while Neepawa’s James Boxshall and Brandon’s Nicole Sentner will be on Manitoba’s mixed team. Although he has his own team to worry about, Mansell is looking forward to cheering on the other Westman bowlers.
"It will be good," he said. "It’s fun to see local guys you’re familiar with at the big events so you can cheer them on and see them do their thing at nationals too."