Coming home National Championship bronze medal winners MacKenzie Lukkar, Portia Eldaun, Janaya White and Kally Campbell are still the same giggly nine year old girls, only this time behind them, they have the experience of travelling across Canada and bowling in a National Tournament.
The team, parents, Coach Dave Wilks MP and Assistant Coach Bob Stockey headed out on May fourth to begin a weekend full of scheduled games. “The championships were originally scheduled for twenty one games, but were reduced to fourteen when contending teams could not reach St. Johns due to fog,” says Stockey. “Sparwood started off slowly, and had only two wins in their first six games, but recovered to win six of their last seven scheduled matches. This comeback resulted in a three way tie for first place and a one game play off. It was quite a bit of pressure for the girls, and when we seen them getting close to their breaking point, we just reminded them to have fun, and that they have made everyone proud already,” he says. The girls finished third in the playoff despite having the highest pin fall in their division.
These young ladies have all bowled well above their averages during the Nationals, a phenomenon Stockey describes as ‘almost a miracle really.’ Kally Campbell who averaged 180.36 during the tournament, was recognized for having the highest average of all thirty two girls competing over the fourteen games. As a team, they were also commended by coaches and parents for more than just their skill. “They stuck together, acted really mature and never got down on each other,” says Stockey. “We are all so very proud of them.”
The experience itself was huge for the team and all four of the girls say they are thrilled with their bronze medal win. “Bowling against other teams was really exciting for us,” says White. “We are all really happy with our bronze medal win. The best moment for me was during the closing ceremonies when we knew we had really won,” she says. “I am also really excited that we won bronze,” says Lukkar. “My teammates were awesome, and we worked really well together,” she says.
Due to the delay of teams arriving and the cancellation of some games the team took to sightseeing St. Johns. The girls, eagerly to describe their most memorable moment besides experiencing the Nationals, as when they saw an iceberg. They spent the day touring the city and visiting the Geo Center. “This whole experience was really a big deal for these girls, and we want to express our sincere gratitude to the community for all of their support, ” says Stockey.
This is the second successive year that Sparwood has had bowlers compete in the National Championships, a very impressive performance coming from such a small bowling center. Sparwood Bowl and all of the team would like to thank all of the community members who have helped with donations for the gift exchange. In particular Coach Stockey sends a big thanks to Teck for making it possible for him to be there with the girls.
A new bowling season will begin again in September, and all kids are encouraged to come out and try the sport. “See, we take kids with little or no experience and turn them into national caliber bowlers,” Stockey says with a grin.