NewsLive Like Zander Junior ProTiare Thompson

North America Women's Junior Race to Worlds Ends at Soup Bowl

Soup Bowl lineup The iconic righthand reefbreak known as Soup Bowl is ready and waiting to determine who will qualify for the World Junior Championships by week's end. WSL / Andrew Nichols

Each year the North America Junior Tour culminates in a showdown at the iconic righthand reefbreak of Soup Bowl November 9 through 12 for the Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Veneiza. The event, aptly renamed after one of Barbados' finest young men who lost his life to heavy surf on the island, has been the capstone of North America's Junior Tour season for the past three years and prepares for an all-important fourth installment.

But, after Alyssa Spencer dominant year, making two of three Finals in 2017, there is only one spot open to see who will represent the region.

Alyssa Spencer (USA) earning runner-up in her Round Four heat at the Los Cabos Open of Surf. Alyssa Spencer decimating backhand returns to Soup Bowl to try and clinch her first regional title. WSL / Andrew Nichols

How It Works: Each of the eight regions (Australia/Oceania, Africa, Asia, Hawaii/Tahiti Nui, Europe, North America, South America) takes its top two pro junior men and adds one wildcard into the mix which makes up the World Junior Championships draw.

Only one surfer can claim the crown from Spencer and the rest is a free-for-all to determine the No. 2 spot by week's end. Here's a few of the players looking to make their run at that spot with No.4 Caroline Marks absent from competition following her qualification to the 2018 World Championship Tour.

Samantha Sibley

Rank: 2

Samantha Sibley (USA) before her Quarterfinal heat at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior Samantha Sibley WSL / Andrew Nichols

After an impressive debut year on the Junior Tour in 2016 that ended with a Final in Soup Bowl last year, Sibley returns with an opportunity to steal the Regional Junior Title away from Spencer. But, only one scenario can play out if that is to happen:

If Spencer loses in her opening heat, Sibley will need to earn runner-up to win the 2017 Regional Junior Title

Kirra Pinkerton

Rank: 3

Kirra Pinkerton's (USA) dream run came to an end with a Round 5 elimination -- but this 13-year-old is just getting started. Kirra Pinkerton WSL / MARENELMAR

Pinkerton continues to impress alongside her fellow 14-year-old competitors Sibley and Spencer and has a chance to knock out Sibley and earn a spot into World Junior Championships. But, it will be a close battle:

  1. If Sibley loses in her opening heat, Pinkerton will need to earn a Finals appearance to overtake her.

  2. If Sibley loses in the Semifinals and earns third place there, Pinkerton will have to earn runner-up.

  3. If Sibley makes it to the Final, Pinkerton will need to win the event and Sibley cannot earn better than third

Leilani McGonagle

Rank: 5

Leilani McGonagle (CRI) at the Paul Mitchell Neon Supergirl Pro QS6,000. Leilani McGonagle WSL / Andrew Nichols

Last year's North America Regional Junior Tour Champion hasn't had the year she would've liked, but McGonagle can still savor her season with a big result, though fate will have to fall her way. Meah Collins also joins McGonagle with 825 points after dropping her lowest result and will vie for a spot in the same scenarios as both conclude their Junior Tour careers this year:

  1. If Sibley loses her opening heat, either McGonagle or Collins must earn runner-up.

  2. If Sibley loses in the Semifinals, McGonagle or Collins must win the event.

Twist of Fate: Should Sibley lose in her opening heat, it would become a battle between McGonagle, Collins, Pinkerton and Tiare Thompson (who sits with 815 points after dropping her lowest result).

Beyond Tiare Thompson, all the surfers above would have to lose their opening heat and the next in line would have to win the event.

The Live Like Zander Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia will run November 9 through 12 and determine the North America Regional Junior Champions and World Junior Championships qualifiers.

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