High school bowling can lead to scholarships
By the time he graduates from Georgetown High School in 2015, Matt Lenz expects to have pocketed about $5,000 in scholarship money from bowling tournaments.
“So far, throughout my bowling career I’ve earned—it’s not much—but I have about a grand in scholarship money,” says Matt, who began bowling about five years ago after finding a framed newspaper article about his dad’s bowling achievements. “Usually, if you’re sticking with bowling, right around your senior year you’ll have about $4,000 or $5,000 in scholarship money.”
A lot of people consider bowling a family sport, says Matt, “but people who take the time to learn how to bowl and learn the math and physics behind it know that it takes time and dedication.”
Between practicing with Mel’s Youth Select Team and his high school bowling team, Matt spends an average of two to three hours a day, five to seven days a week, practicing at Mel’s Lone Star Lanes Bowling Center.
Perhaps because bowling is not yet a UIL-sanctioned sport in Texas, “a lot of people don’t know that bowling is a high school sport, but it is,” says Dave Fischio. He’s the district coordinator for the Chisholm Trail District of Texas high school bowling, which includes Georgetown, Vista Ridge, Leander, East View, Cedar Park, and Gateway. “And if you’re not geared toward basketball, baseball, or football, this can be a great opportunity—especially on the girls’ side [because] colleges offer great bowling scholarships to girls,” says Dave, alluding to Title IX legislation, the 1972 public law that denies exclusion or “discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Because of Title IX, many colleges are particularly eager to shell out partial or full-ride scholarships to attract top talent. Over the four years that Dave has been district coordinator, he’s witnessed awards of “over a dozen” college scholarships to high school seniors. “Four that I know of this year went to girls,” he says, though several boys in the Chisholm Trail District have received partial scholarships from bowling since Dave has been district coordinator.
In addition to earning nearly $7,000 in scholarship money from tournaments, recent Stony Point High School graduate Kayla Endicott is attending Baker University in Kansas this fall on a partial ride from bowling. Between bowling and academic scholarships, most of her college is paid for.
“Even if you’re not planning on bowling in college, you can get scholarship money to help with college through bowling [tournaments],” says Kayla, an avid bowler for nearly seven years.
And, according to Dave, everyone is welcome. “If you’re interested but don’t know how to bowl, we’ll teach you,” he says. To participate in the club sport, each high school bowler must pay $105 in membership fees at the beginning of the year. The fees cover the cost of six meets and weekly or twice-weekly practices, depending on the school.
Bowling is just like any other sport, says Kayla, who has also competed on basketball and soccer teams. “You really have to keep your stamina up and stay energized. In competitions we’ll bowl six to eighteen games, one after another. So you have to keep hydrated; concentrate on your form; do a lot of lunges. You do have to work out, and you do have to eat right and drink right to stay above level at your tournaments.”
“I cannot do justice to the excitement and everything about high school bowling unless you’re actually physically here at one of the meets,” says Dave. “It teaches [students] about teamwork, leadership, character building, and anything you get out of playing sports.”
For more information on Texas high school bowling, visit www.texasbowlingcenters.org.