presented by Eileen’s Bowling Buddy
June 2021Congratulations to the June 2021 Athlete of the Month - Brianna Rogers!
Ever since she was a toddler there was something very special about her ability. She started bowling at age 2 because her dad ran a bowling center. Her parents are Johnny and Rhonda Rogers of Florence, SC. She started out throwing it 2 handed as most youth do and at the age of 4 bowling at moonlight bowl she had a high game of 191. After that she wanted a ball with holes in it so she had her dad drill one for her with the littlest bits the pro shop had. And the rest is history.
She continued to get better and better to become the bowler she is today. She is very outgoing and never meets a stranger and if any of you know her dad you would understand why. She is also a good student with a 3.2 GPA. She is a junior and hopes to attend college and earn a degree in business and compete and win a national championship before she makes it to the pwba. If bowling does not work out she wants to be an interior designer or take over running the bowling center her dad owns.
She has 23 youth titles, 1 300 game.She has 7 12 bagger titles She has 6 TST titles after winning the last 2 events She has 3 TSR Titles She has a DV8 shootout title Finished 2nd in SYC twice and 3rd in the last Bowl 4 Life Tournament. Shot 300 in SYC Indy 2020.
Keep up the great work Brianna! We love watching your success on and off the lanes!
Meg has been bowling since 4th grade. When I asked her if she would be interested in trying she replied "but I don't sport." After a little convincing she agreed to give it a try and averaged 85. She loved going to the lanes every Saturday morning and having fun and fitting in with new friends. Now as a senior in high school she is super glad that she did! In her youth league, Meg won most improved two years in a row. She never had just one coach, she took the coaching from anyone that was willing to help her and put it all together to become a great bowler. Meg's cousins are bowlers, so it's very much a family affair. From her Grandfather to her Uncle, the love of the sport surrounds Meg. Bowling has gotten our family through some tough times. Meg's Uncle passed suddenly when she was 12 years old and while it was so difficult to bowl in the lanes that he loved, the kids persevered and came together there. It was somewhat soothing and something to focus on. Meg is a dedicated learner and strives to achieve the best she can be in all aspects of life. In her 8th grade year, I contacted the high school to see if they would consider adding a bowling program. I was told that would not be possible. Meg began her Freshman year knowing she would have to watch her friends and cousins compete on their high school teams. She always hoped one day that could be her! She was invited to a tournament to honor an amazing local coach who had passed away, Greg Rottengen, by a another local high school to compete as an individual and achieved a 3rd place finish! It was the most exciting day for her to that point. She loved Coach Greg and it meant the world for her to be invited. Coach Greg gave Meg her first "real" ball, one that would react perfectly. She will never part with that ball either. It will live long passed it's time rolling down the lanes. Meg and I talked about how to make her dreams come true. We decided to implore the Board of Education to consider adding a bowling program. Meg and I went before the Board and presented our case, citing the numerous benefits to the student body from the addition of a bowling program. We were rewarded a few weeks later with the wonderful news that they were going to support a team! This was an amazing opportunity for Meg and her peers! We had about 5 serious bowlers that joined Meg as well as an amazing amount of other students that wanted to learn! We had a team of 27 - an unprecedented number of bowlers for a high school team! Something Meg loves to do is help others, she volunteers through student organizations and on her own so when the opportunity presented itself to help new bowlers, she was thrilled to teach the sport she loves so much. She loves leading the team as one of the captains! In our very first year, the girls team won their State Sectional Championship (the first ever for our school in any sport). Meg advanced to the finals for the state competition and ended up 18 of the 50 finalists. Another super exciting day for her! This first year was the stuff that dreams are made of for Meg! She saw her average climb and set her personal goals. One of the things that Meg loves about bowling is that it can be both a team sport and an individual one, the best of both worlds. She loves the comradery and the relationships she develops with her fellow bowlers. The second year of the team was even more successful than the first! Not only did the girls repeat at Sectional Champs but they cheered their boys team on to Group 1 State Champions! Not bad for an infant team born out of one girls dream! Through her love of bowling, Meg has shared her dream and love with others. From spreading the news about bowling and bringing new bowlers onto the lanes to helping with the younger kids Meg has transitioned and set her site on college. She's been offered the opportunity to bowl in college. The beauty of bowling is that it is a lifetime love of the lanes so Meg plans to keep bowling for life! Among her future plans for bowling is to become a certified coach so she can pass along her love and knowledge to the youth, like she was so fortunate to be given. She's come so close to a perfect game a few times, it's only a matter of time! But I think Meg feels that she's already got the perfect game, the one she loves so much. She is enthusiastic about the future of bowling and cannot wait to see where bowling takes her! All of this from a little girl that didn't "sport"!
Congratulations to the February 2021 Athlete of the Month - Abby Starkey!
14 years old
Abby Starkey has grown from a “baby” bowler into a young lady bowler, and her family feels so blessed for this sport and her part in it. Abby started bowling in the youth league when she was 8 years old. She would bowl her little league and then beg for more! Sometimes she would bowl 5 or 6 more after league, at age 8!!! Can you say PASSION??? That’s all there is to it. She was born to bowl!! Any free time she had, she wanted to bowl.
At age 8 she won “Pepsi” for Illinois. At 9 she finished 2nd, at the Pepsi tournament, which is the only competitive bowling she did. At age 10, her dad Brad, took her to the EYT - Elite Youth Tour. Her first time out she finished 2nd at 12U age group. The bowling wheels started to turn. Abby began doing the EYT’s every month. It took her a long time to win one, finishing second many times. She worked hard, made friends, learned how to lose gracefully, THAT is a skill in itself. She had fun and loved the game.
She went to Jr Gold in Cleveland as a 10 year old and made the cut! Then Tony Jordan put together a team called “The EYT Phenoms” and invited Abby to bowl with his sons. He took Abby under his wings and with his instruction, sharpened her natural ability and learned there is so much more to this game than just throwing the ball. My son studied the game in order to help her as well. It all paid off in 2019. Abby was first seed in Jr Gold Detroit 12U. So much emotion and life goes into these moments. Abby bowled on TV! She finished second, again, learning how to cope with the highs and lows.
So now the virus has robbed these kids of their passion and the ability to do what they love. In these times, you must find a way and you can’t do it alone. Their friends in the bowling community have made it possible for Abby to continue working with her passion. Brian Kolberg and Tony have supported her and other kids through this stuff. Abby has been able to compete in SYCs in Kansas, Orlando and Indy. She has medaled in all of them. She also won a 20U scratch open tournament, with a field of 26 girls, bowling a 299 to win the championship!!!
Abby’s family is so proud of her and the village that has helped Abby achieve her goals and pursue her passion. She has learned how to lose without tears, and there are lots of losses in any bowling career. She bowls without fear.
Keep up the great work Abby!