Bowl4Life Athlete of the Month

presented by Eileen’s Bowling Buddy


September

Bowl4Life is proud to announce the Eileen's Bowling Buddy and Bowl4Life September Athlete of the Month.
 
Congratulations to Amber Thomason!!

 
Current Age: 16
Location: Jacksonville, FL
 
Read below to find out more about this special young lady and what bowling means to her:
 
She was born with tetralogy of Fallot, which is a rare congenital heart defect. Currently, she has had four open-heart surgeries and more to come. All her life she felt different, from school to sports. She was held back on certain sports due to her heart condition.
 
In 2016, she was introduced to bowling and her whole life changed. Bowling would light up her eyes and you could say she felt complete. She was making friends, was able to join a sport that she never thought she would be able to do. Prior to bowling, she tried karate, but you could tell she wasn’t feeling right about that. It was more intense and was never really able to grasp the concept of it.
 
She joined the Jax Jammers family in Jacksonville, Florida and right away felt like she was a part of the team and felt like she belonged there. In 2017 she joined Sandalwood High School’s bowling team and felt like a family there as well. Her freshman year in high school they went undefeated through the whole season and were district and conference champions. Her sophomore year they were once again conference champions.
 
Now the next two years Amber will be at her local community college (Florida State Community College) obtaining her AA degree. She is a part of the Early College program Sandalwood offers. After she graduates in 2021, she is hoping to get a college scholarship to continue her bowling journey and get a degree in graphic designing and minor in sign language.
 
Over the years she has learned a lot about bowling and still to this day it is her passion. She even takes time out to help her own brother who also bowls. Personally, I do not know what she would do without bowling because it has become a huge part of her life.
 
Amber answered a few of our questions below:
 
My proudest moment in bowling is when I shot my 197 game I had to work very hard and concentrate. I had never focused so hard. When I saw my score at the end of the game I was beyond proud and excited. I made my whole family proud and I still try to every day when it comes to my bowling game.
 
My favorite bowler is Jason Belmonte. I love and admire Jason Belmonte because of how he bowls. He does not let the stress get to him and does not let one bad ball affect his whole game. I also love how he gets involved with the bowling communities around the world, for example, the game he made. He interacts with people all the time and I really admire that.
 
For young athletes, I would suggest they do bowling. When you join a league you become apart of a family. Everyone in the center helps and cares about you. Also, I believe you should listen to the coaches even if you think what they say is wrong. I’ve made that mistake plenty of times and once I finally listened I improved my game.
August

Bowl4Life is proud to announce the Eileens Bowling Buddy and Bowl4Life August Athlete of the Month.

Congratulations to Joshua Collins


Joshua Collins has been bowling competitively for 6 seasons since he was 9 years old. At 10 years of age, Joshua won the Georgia State Superlative award for throwing the highest scratch game, highest scratch series and holding the highest league average in the state of Georgia, U12 Boys Division. The following season (2015) Joshua threw the highest 1 round series of all U12 Boys in the state of Georgia during the 1st round of the state Pepsi Tournament. The following season, (2016) Joshua followed suit again by throwing the highest 1st round series in Georgia during the Pepsi Tournament, U12 Boys Division on challenging sport conditions. At the same tournament Joshua bowled a 724 three game series in the final round at Pepsi to finish 2nd place in the state. That same season Joshua's U12 USA Bowling team won the Coastal South USA Bowling Regional Tournament with Joshua at the Anchor. The second day of the tournament, Joshua bowled in 9 straight baker games without 1 single open frame from Joshua! He had a clean day. With Joshua at the helm, his team swept the bracket without losing 1 single match to win the tournament. At the USA Bowling National Tournament that season, Joshua's team went 14 and 1 to enter the bracket as the number 1 seed in the nation. Joshua's team once again rolled through the bracket at the 16 team national tournament against the other 15 USA Bowling regional championship teams. Joshua's team entered the inaugural USA Bowling National Championship TV final as the #1 seed in America. At 12 years old, Joshua bowled on CBS Sports for the National Championship, U12 Division, finishing 2nd place in the nation.

In 2017, Joshua's first year in the U15 division, Joshua yet again threw the highest scratch series in the state of Georgia during the first round of the state Pepsi Tournament. Joshua again finished 2nd overall that season at the Pepsi Tournament. In 2018 at the State Pepsi, Joshua threw the highest scratch game in the state all ages in the first round of the state Pepsi tournament advancing to the 2nd and subsequently the 3rd round of the Pepsi. In 2018, Joshua finally closed the deal by finishing 1st at the State Pepsi Tournament, U15 Boys Division. The same season at the Regional, Georgia Youth Bowlers Tour, Tournament of Champions, Joshua won scholarships for the bowling the highest scratch game and series during 1 of the 3 rounds of the 2 day tournament. Joshua entered the step ladder in the number 4 position and proceeded to walk down the entire step ladder to finish as the TOC U15B Champion the same season that he won the Pepsi State Tournament. The same season at the USA Bowing National Tournament, Joshua's U15 baker team went 13-2 at the National Qualifier to once again enter the Bracket as the #1 seed in the nation. Joshua's team finished 5 overall nationally that season. Joshua finished 61st at the Junior Gold national tournament making it to the advancers round and finishing plus for the day in a very respectable fashion. In 2018, Joshua was invited to attend the Bowling Combine at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington TX. Along with the rest of the boys and young men who were invited to the combine, Joshua was evaluated for 3 days and given a PET (Performance Evaluation Test) score ranking him along with the other 35 boys in attendance from across the United States. Joshua finish the 2018 Combine as the #1 ranked boy, with the highest PET score of all boys in attendance in the nation. Joshua received the highest spare shooting score of all boys in attendance at only 14 years old, having just finished the 9th grade which is the youngest you can even be considered for Combine selection and attendance. Joshua had the highest 10 pin conversion percentage and the highest baby split conversion percentage of all male bowlers at the combine. Joshua had the 3rd highest athleticism score of all Combine participants the majority of which were 2 to 4 years older than Joshua. Truly remarkable for a boy that young to receive such high evaluation scores. Joshua finished the 2018 season with the highest league average in Georgia, U15 Boys Division with a 215.

In the 2018-2019 season, Joshua's U15 USA Bowling Team, for the third year consecutively, won the Southeast Regional Championship by sweeping the Bracket. At the 2018 Coastal Classic, Storm Youth Championship in Myrtle Beach, Joshua threw the highest scratch 8 game series at Planet fun of all U15 Boys from approximately 20 different states including several Junior Gold Champions. Joshua won a gold medal for his series. What was equally impressive is that series was second highest series thrown at Planet fun over the entire tournament in all age divisions including U20 Boys. Joshua won a bronze medal for 3rd highest overall total pin count, all rounds combined, at the Coastal Classic SYC, U15 Boys Division. His total pin count would have placed him 5th in the U20 Boys division. This season Joshua threw a sanctioned 300 game during league and an 807 pre-bowl series. Joshua currently holds the highest season league youth average in Georgia with a 228 after 66 games. Joshua has earned his Level 1 coaching certification with the USBC. Joshua Collins is unquestionably a dominant and an accomplished youth bowler as well as an outstanding high school student. Joshua is a great ambassador for the sport of bowling.


What is your proudest moment so far in your bowling career?
Earning a Gold Medal at the Coastal Classic SYC Bowling Tournament for throwing the highest series U15B Division Planet Fun. Second highest series thrown all weekend Planet Fun all age groups.
 
Who is your favorite PBA or WPBA bowler of all time? Why do you look up to and/or admire this person?
Kyle Troup. I'm a 2 handed lefty and Kyle a 2 handed righty. His approach, back swing and delivery are very similar to mine. People say we bowl alike. Kyle is very good crowd pleaser and quite fun to watch. We both prefer to wear a high afro.
 
What advice do you have for young athletes getting started in bowling?
Learn to be the best spare shooter you can possibly be. Great spare shooting will take get you through tournaments where other bowlers fall behind in total pins. When strikes don't come; and they most certainly won't from time to time, you must be a high percentage spare shooter. Above all do well in school. When bowling won't pay the bills an education will. Not only that, without good grades what college will allow you to bowl for them?

 

July

Bowl4Life is proud to announce the Eileens Bowling Buddy and Bowl4Life July Athlete of the Month.

Congratulations to Morgan Davis!

Morgan is 13 years old and an 8th grader at Smithfield Middle School. Morgan is a straight A Pre AP student, in National Jr Honor Society, Varsity Choir, Select Theater, and was voted outstanding citizen by her teachers for the school. Morgan has been bowling since she was 5 years old and has never put a bowling ball down since that day. Her dream is to bowl in college and then join the PWBA tour. Morgan has won the Pepsi Tournament in Scratch 5 times and finished 3rd once. She has competed in Jr Gold 2 years and finished a respectable 5th and 17th. She has held the high average, high game, high series, and most improved average season over season in the league. Morgan loves to help the young kids learn to bowl. She has been known to give a little kid a pep talk during the Pepsi tournament in order to help keep their spirits up and keep the experience positive for them. She is always telling anyone who will listen how great bowling is and all the perks of competing in tournaments. She encourages her friends and teachers to come out and bowl. If you ask her what she would like to do on an off day or on a Saturday night ... everyone go bowling. She can't wait to join the high school bowling team next year for the Birdville Hawks.

Morgan also gives back to the community and has volunteered her time and fundraising efforts to animals since she was 6 years old. She has volunteered at Classy Cats, a local non-profit, no-kill, small cat rescue every Saturday night for the last 7 years. Here she helps care for orphaned, abandoned, and sick cats. She provides all the care up to 50 cats require at each visit. She also has volunteered at the International Exotic Sanctuary which takes in exotic animals which have been smuggled in illegally, owner surrender, or orphaned in the wild. While there she helps prepare food, clean the animal's water, help clean the facility, and any other task asked of her. She has also hosted fund-raisers for both organizations and donated the money equally to both groups. Morgan's passion is bowling but her heart belongs to the animals as she plans to major in Marine Biology with a focus on rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals. If you sit down with Morgan be prepared to hear about the ins and outs of bowling and the need to respect and care for the animals of our world as well as their environment. She is young but she is driven and knows what her goals are and how to get them accomplished. Morgan also was a victim of horrible bullying from 1st to 3rd grade. She endured things that no child should have to endure and she was let down by the teachers, principle, and school administration that was supposed to protect her. Morgan now is an advocate of anti-bullying and will stand up for any peer that is being bullied. She is no longer scared to use her voice to stand up for her rights and the rights of every child around her. She is an amazing kid who used her experience to come out on top!

What is your proudest moment so far in your bowling career? 
My proudest moment is when I made it to the step ladder finals at Jr Gold. I sustained a hip and back injury in the 2nd game of the first match. By the second match, I knew something was very wrong but I pushed through to finish the match knowing that even if I won I would not be able to continue.

Who is your favorite PBA or WPBA bowler of all time? Why do you look up to and/or admire this person?
My favorite bowler is Jason Belmonte. I admire him because he is often given so much negative exposure for being a 2 handed bowler. He always remains positive and takes the high road. He is a great bowler and is always so nice to the youth when he meets us or bowls a PBA event with us.

What advice do you have for young athletes getting started in bowling?
My advice to all young kids starting is to not get upset over a bad game. We all have them and it is OK because if you keep a positive attitude, your next game will be a whole lot more fun and you will bowl great.



June

Bowl4Life is proud to announce the Eileens Bowling Buddy Bowl4Life June Athlete of the Month. Congratulations to Jamie Thomas she is 14 years old from Helena, Alabama.

I have been bowling leagues since the fall of 2012 and started bowling competitively in tournaments in 2014. I enjoy getting to watch my little sister play softball and bowl during league. I love school and I am currently in 8th grade and taking some high school credit classes so when I'm not on the lanes practicing you can find me studying. This year l am also a Peer Helper at school, allowing me the chance to meet new students and help them get acclimated to the school. I am a faithful follower of Bowl4Life and love to represent them locally and promote them on my social media when I have the chance. I hope to get the chance to continue growing with Bowl4Life to help educate and support future youth bowlers.

What is your proudest moment so far in your bowling career?
Being able to compete at Junior Gold with some of the nation's best bowlers

Who is your favorite PBA or PWBA bowler of all time? Why do you look up to and/or admire this person?
'Ashly Galante because not only does she bowl in the PWBA but she also teaches younger kids to bowl which is something I enjoy doing as well.

What advice do you have for young athletes getting started in bowling?
Try your best but always remember to have fun because it's just a game.


May

Bowl4Life is proud to announce the Eileens Bowling Buddy Bowl4Life May Athlete of the Month. Congratulations to Nicholas Menendez from Crownsville, MD.

Nick was nominated recently by local youth bowling coach and was described as follows:

"Nick bowls various leagues, Saturday Morning Youth, Sport Shots Leagues, Junior Gold Leagues, and many tournaments including the USA Bowling National Championship Regional Events.

A few of his accomplishments as a 14 year old: A sanctioned 810 series. In Staten Island, NY, Nick was a member of the USA Bowling Team that will represent the region in July 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. After shooting a sanctioned 748 series, the next day won the Mid-Atlantic Tour #11 Scratch Division with a 211 average. For the month of December, averaged 241. Incredible. Nick also won the Maryland Pepsi State Under 15 boys

As a coach of the Under 12 team that represented at the tournament in NY, the most incredible thing occurred during the match-play finals. Nick was the bowler that did not bowl for their team. Nick showed the same enthusiasm and didn't hang his head or get upset. Nick was a great teammate. For me, that was a teaching moment to my daughter. In college bowling, there are bowlers with incredible talent but can't accept it."

What a wonderful statement to how incredible Nick is! Way to be a positive influence for youth bowlers everywhere.

 


April

Bowl4Life is pleased to announce the April Athlete of the Month.



Congraulations to Evan Johns! 

Evan is 16 and currently bowls a Jax Lanes in Jacksonville Florida his Coaches are Al Henderson, David Northup, and Michelle Speight. His current GPA is a 3.2 and attends Sandalwood High School.

Evan Johns started bowling in the youth program in September of 2015 at the age of 13. He had bowled a few times over the years, but never really showed any interest until 2015. Two months after joining the league he was diagnosed and placed in the hospital with T1D. He spent several days in a medically induced coma so the doctors could regulate his blood sugars. The first thing he asked about after learning of his new life. Was will I get out of the hospital in time to bowl league on Saturday? We checked out of the hospital on Saturday at 8 am and he was bowling at 10am. That season he had won the highest average in his age division of 131. He also placed in several local tournaments that he participated in. The last few years have been a blur of tournaments and accomplishments. He made Junior Gold in 2017, 2018 and has also qualified for 2019. He is a level 1 coach and looks forward to helping other bowlers with their game. He has an attitude that is admired by his teammates and his Coaches. He has been taken under the wing of a Pro shop in our community who is teaching him how to drill a bowling ball. (I don't know the technical terms for everything he is learning.) His 300 game still eludes him, but I feel that he will get it soon enough. His highest game shot is a 279. His current league average is 198 along way from where he started a few years ago. He is now 16 and I'm still amazed at the young man he is becoming. You can ask anyone that Evan bowls with that he is respected by his peers, a leader, and fun to bowl with. He is determined to bowl to the best of his abilities but can handle if he just doesn't bowl the way he should have. He learns from his mistakes and puts in a lot of time on the lanes practicing or getting help from one of his Coaches. Evan hasn't let his diabetes define him. He has used it to spread awareness of the disease. He actively raises money for the local JDRF in Jacksonville. Participates in their annual walk. As a mother with a child that has T1D, you can only hope that he is accepted by his peers and not looked down on because he isn't like everyone else. With Evan, you just know he is going to turn a negative into a positive. Keep a great attitude and strive for anything even if everyone says that it's not within reach. I'm an extremely proud Mother and look forward to seeing where the road will take him. 

What is your proudest moment so far in your bowling career? 
My 279 game. Along with my 727 series. 

Who is your favorite PBA or WPBA bowler of all time? Why do you look up to and/or admire this person? 
EJ Tackett. I love watching him bowl. He has such a beautiful release and a great attitude on the lanes. He is respected on and off the lanes by his fellow bowlers. 

What advice do you have for young athletes getting started in bowling? 
Go out and have fun. Listen to your Coaches. Be respectful to your fellow bowlers and yourself. Have pride in what you do and learn to take criticism.


March

Bowl4Life is pleased to announce the March Athlete of the Month.

Congratulations to Sebastian Huffman.
 
Current Age- 11
Current Location – Las Vegas, NV
Current School GPA - 3.9
Current Coach – David Haynes
Home Center – Suncoast Lanes
 
Sebastian Huffman started bowling at a young age. He joined his first youth league in the 2014/2015 year at 8 years old. Originally from Morgantown, West Virginia, he experienced great success at league through practicing almost every day, watching helpful videos on YouTube, through league coaches and pro shop owner Larry Lichstein. Sebastian was able to win many events and attend his first Junior Gold before leaving West Virginia and moving to Las Vegas, NV. Sebastian and his father drove across the United States when moving and every time they stopped for the night, he bowled at a different center. Now a permanent resident of Las Vegas, Sebastian attends St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School. He is in 6th grade and 11 years old. Opportunities abound in Las Vegas for coaching and practicing. He practices on different oil patterns up to 6 times a week including league but can also practice on house shots if so desired. His league is at Suncoast but he practices and participates in tournaments at many centers throughout the valley. His sport shot average is 188 and his house average is 210. His coaches continually work with him and they are from David Haynes Bowling Supply here in Vegas. David Haynes himself is one of his coaches. Through his coaches, friends and pro shop he will be continuing to practice to improve his abilities. He also maintains a Facebook Athlete Page and YouTube channel to help get people excited about bowling.
 
What is the proudest moment so far in your bowling career? The proudest moment in my bowling career are with my two unsanctioned 300’s. The reason why I am proud of them is that I worked hard practicing. I never dreamed that I would have two already. My first was at 9 years old. These give me confidence that I can make perfect games and that one day soon I will have a sanctioned 300!
 
 
Who is your favorite PBA Bowler? Why? My favorite PBA bowler is Parker Bohn. He was part of the first bowling camp I ever attended in Maine. He is very skilled in the game and he passes that knowledge and experience to youth like me. His example on the lanes and off is something I work to achieve. He has been there to help me many times.
 
 
What advice do you have for young athletes getting started in bowling? My advice for young bowlers is that you must never give up, always practice, and make every pin count. Mainly, to have fun with the game and have patience with yourself.
 
Way to go Sebastian!


February

Congratulations to the February Youth Athlete of the Month for the 2019 season.

February's selected nominee is Morgan Brunner.

Morgan is only 13 years old but she is already making her name in the bowling world. She competes in Michigan Junior Masters, JTBA of Ohio and EYT events. Morgan has won the state Pepsi tournament, Michigan State Tournament and a JTBA title. She has competed at the National Junior Gold event for the last 5 years as well as the USA Team even and the Youth Open in which she took home a 2nd place in doubles with her partner this year.

Not only does Morgan speak volumes with her performance, but she is also a great sport and strives to always have fun and make new friends. She also maintains all A's and B's in school and is looking forward to starting her high school bowling career next year. 
When Morgan isn't on the lanes you can find her in her dad's pro shop helping clean equipment and watching her favorite bowlers online. She has a true love for the sport and it is a pleasure for us to watch her help encourage others.

We asked Morgan some of our favorite questions and here is what she had to say:

What is your proudest moment so far in your bowling career? 
Winning my first JTBA Title

Who is your favorite PBA or WPBA bowler of all time? Why do you look up to and/or admire this person? Danielle McEwan because she is a leader on the lanes and always has fun.

What advice do you have for young athletes getting started in bowling? 
Practice, make your spares and have fun!!

January

Congratulations to the first Youth Athlete of the Month for the 2019 season.

January's selected nominee is Tyler Harlow.

Tyler Harlow is from Grand Forks, ND. Tyler started bowling in youth leagues his sophomore year in high school. Tyler has been apart of a few different ND state/regional championship teams, along with singles and doubles competitions at different levels. He has competed in numerous USBA flight tournaments in the last 3 years, where he qualified for Junior Gold. Tyler participated at Junior Gold in Cleveland, OH in 2017. Tyler dislocated his middle finger on the first day of competition, but persevered through and completed all four days. Tyler competed on the Grand Forks High School Bowling team for two years.

Tyler is a Bronze level USBC certified coach and likes to help out the local youth as much as possible during league and open play. Tyler is now bowling for Waldorf University in Forest City, IA.

Tyler answered a few Bowl4Life questions to help us get to know him:
What is your proudest moment so far in your bowling career? 
Our team taking second in my first college tournament

Who is your favorite PBA or WPBA bowler of all time? Why do you look up to and/or admire this person? 
Jason Sterner is my favorite. His work ethic on and off the lanes inspires me

What advice do you have for young athletes getting started in bowling? 
Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong

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Previous Athletes of the Month: