Provincial pin hunters
The Falcon Lanes’ crew is ready to take on beautiful British Columbia’s best at Youth Bowling Canada’s (YBC) 5-Pin 4 Steps to Stardom Provincial Championships on Saturday, March 5.
Two bantam-aged bowlers — Alex Wright, 9, and Brooklyn McCourt, 11 — from the Falcon Lanes Youth Bowling Council club qualified to compete in singles’ play at the provincials, while Kristen Morgan, Kendall Dick, Tricia Eustache and Ashley Gardiner qualified to compete in junior girls’ team play.
“It’s awesome to see these kids excel,” said Falcon Lanes coach Shelley Kupryk, a forest technician who finds time to mentor the club’s youth.
“You can see them as they’re getting older and as they’re getting stronger and as they’re experiencing more — they’re growing with the game. For me, that’s what it’s all about.”
The six bowlers who will represent the club had to earn the right to play at provincials by qualifying at zone tournaments.
The next rung on YBC’s ladder is a trip to Regina for the youth national championships in May.
Only a first-place finish in their respective divisions at provincials this weekend will see bowlers through to nationals.
“I think we have a pretty good chance of coming in first or at least second,” said Dick, an Arthur Stevenson elementary student.
“It would be awesome. I can picture it now.”
Falcon Lanes in Valleyview and Bowlertime 5 Pin Bowling Centre on the North Shore will co-host the championships, which will feature 264 pin-seekers from across the province.
Wright, who won a gold medal in bantam team competition at provincials last year, finished eighth at the national championship in 2010.
He is looking to book another trip to nationals this year.
“I just have to stay focused and not get distracted by anything,” said Wright, a six-year bowling veteran.
“That’s my main problem.”
A Big Lebowskian, Dude-like approach might be the recipe for success, in Wright’s case.
“I sort of visualize,” said Wright, a Parkcrest elementary student. “I close my eyes and visualize how I’m going to throw.”
The Falcon Lanes crew has been wearing out the club’s footwear as of late, spending about six hours a week in search of strikes and ever-so-elusive turkeys.
Dick’s comments about Kupryk were not unlike those made by several of her teammates.
“She’s an awesome coach,” said Dick, who’s been bowling for nine years. “She actually helps us instead of just criticizing us about what we’re doing wrong.”
The bantam bowlers will be competing at Falcon Lanes, while the juniors and seniors will be at Bowlertime
The action gets underway at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday at both host venues and wraps up in the late afternoon.