Amie Just: Jillian Martin's win at USBC Queens is no small feat. In fact, it's a huge deal (2024)

None of this has set in for Nebraska’s Jillian Martin.

Not in the immediate aftermath of her massive victory. Not during her lengthy drive home from Green Bay, Wisconsin.

No, being crowned the 2024 USBC Queens, well, queen — the youngest one in the 63-year history of the event — is going to take some time to process.

“I have not processed it yet,” Martin said. “But it meant so much. Everyone there was amazing. There were so many fans there and they just all wanted pictures and everything afterwards. I thought it was really cool. I felt like a queen, I guess I can say that. It really was just a special moment.”

Winning USBC Queens is no small feat. USBC — or the United States Bowling Congress — has only three majors for women bowlers. This is like the bowling version of winning the dang Masters — as a 19-year-old amateur, no less.

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Knowing how it happened makes it all the more impressive.

In total, Martin bowled 45 games over six days — including one span where she rolled 18 games in one day.


As the No. 2 seed, Martin lost her first bracketed match to Taylor Bulthuis, 633-612, so Martin dropped into the elimination bracket.

From there, Martin began her heater.

A 625-613 win over Ashley Rucker. A 587-572 win over Missy Parkin. A 672-618 win over Jen Higgins. A 649-599 win over No. 6 seed Hui Fen New. A 639-575 win over Nora Johansson. A narrow 687-685 win over No. 1 seed Shannon Pluhowsky. A 736-620 win over No. 5 seed Juliana Franco.

“Halfway through the day I bowled like 18 games, I was like, ‘OK. I’m actually doing really well today. I’m winning,’” Martin thought. “‘Yes, I’m still in the loser’s bracket, so all it takes is one loss, but I know that if I keep bowling well and I keep doing what I know how to do, I’m probably going to make the show. And at the point in which I make the show, anything’s possible.”

That win over Franco put her in the show, otherwise known as the step-ladder finals.

Only five bowlers remained, and Martin entered the step-ladder finals in the No. 3 position.

Her first opponent in that format: Lindsay Boomershine, the reigning Queens champion and former Husker bowler who won the NTCA National Player of the Year award in 2006.

But Martin tried to focus on herself, rather than worry about who she was up against.

“There’s no defense in bowling,” Martin said. “So, you just do what you know how to do and whatever happens, happens.”

Martin won, 206-186. Then she won again, beating USBC Hall of Famer Kelly Kulick, 219-183, before advancing to the final.

The final bowlers: Martin and Hope Gramly, the PWBA’s 24-year-old reigning Rookie of the Year.

Again, Martin tried to worry about herself rather than focus on Gramly, but after rolling strike after strike, she admitted she knew in either the eighth or ninth frame that the tiara was hers.

“I knew what my score was and I was like, ‘OK. I think I won,’” Martin said. “But I kept having to tell myself, ‘No. Don’t even put yourself there. Just stay to what you’ve stayed to this whole week and just go out there and make three more good shots.”

She did — rolling strikes – to preserve the 267-220 win.

With the win, Martin became the youngest person to win USBC Queens and one of the youngest female bowlers to win a major.

That fact isn’t lost on her — someone who first picked up a bowling ball at a childhood birthday party and fell in love with the sport after that.

“It just really shows all the work that I put in has paid off,” Martin said. “I think that really means the most. But also the fact that I was just able to go out there — I’ve told a lot of people my mentality has really meant the most to me the past week that I was competing just because I thought that I had to be in a really, really good space to continue to bowl the way that I did. I thought I did a really, really good job of keeping myself there and not getting too ahead of myself.”

The one downside to Martin’s win is that she doesn’t get to keep the $60,000 winner’s prize since she’s an amateur. She will be able to get her Queens expenses covered, but the amount she doesn’t use gets returned to the prize fund for distribution.

This isn’t it for Martin. No, far from it.

Queens kicks off her eventful summer. She’s bowling in the women’s U.S. Open in June in Indianapolis. She’s traveling to South Korea with the junior team USA in July. And before she returns to campus for her junior season, she’s planning to bowl a couple more professional tournaments in August.

Only 19 years old. Already has won a major. Looking to contend in more.

Pretty, pretty good.



  • Bowling
  • United States Bowling Congress
  • Sports
  • Usbc Queens
  • Team Sports

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Amie Just: Jillian Martin's win at USBC Queens is no small feat. In fact, it's a huge deal (2024)
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