Philpot progresses with potential as top bowler in Alberta and Canada

Nicole Philpot has rolled her way to being one of the top youth bowlers in Alberta and Canada and the lane ahead has great potential.

Her favourite activity  – Nicole Philpot practising at the Stettler Heartland Bowl in preparation for her forthcoming major competition in St. Albert on March 7.

Her favourite activity – Nicole Philpot practising at the Stettler Heartland Bowl in preparation for her forthcoming major competition in St. Albert on March 7.

Nicole Philpot has rolled her way to being one of the top youth bowlers in Alberta and Canada and the lane ahead has great potential.

Stettler’s young bowler takes her skills to the provincial championships next month with high hopes on bringing home a medal.

Philpot will represent Stettler and Heartland Bowl at the singles provincial championships in St. Albert on March 7 under the Alberta 5-Pin Bowlers Association.

“I want to win a medal this year,” said Philpot, age 12, who will compete in junior girls play with about eight other bowlers aged 11 to 14.

Currently she is ranked third in Alberta in her age division and in the top 10 in Canada.

After finishing fourth last year, she has vastly improved her game and ready to finish in the top three.

“I think my chances of winning a medal this year are pretty good because I am one year older and I’ve improved since last year,” said Philpot, who was the youngest bowler in the division last year and admitted to being nervous.

“I am able to get good counts on my strikes and spare.”

Winning the championship would advance her to the nationals in Gatineau, Quebec

Averaging 210 in five games at the provincials last year, she has stepped up with her first 300-game – 329 – on Dec. 5.

Bowling in Stettler and in Red Deer at Heritage Lanes, she was awarded with the highest average, highest triple and highest single in both youth leagues for the 2008-2009 season.

For the past 12 years, Philpot has bowled under the Youth Bowling Council and earned herself almost $1,000 in scholarship funds towards further education.

While competing in the national Four Steps to Stardom Tournament the last four years, she has represented central Alberta in the provincial championships the last three years, once in team and also in singles in the others.

It appears she may have been a born bowler.

“Nicole is pretty much a natural bowler,” said Bob Gallaugher, who has coached her since he became owner of Heartland Bowl three years ago.

“She loves the game – that’s her greatest strength and she wants to get better.”

All this could go a long way.

“Nicole has the potential to be very good, competing at lots of provincial and national championships if she stays with it and works hard,” said Gallaugher.

Her father David and mother Darlene have also helped and encouraged her down the lane.

“My dad watches me and tells me if I’m not reaching or bending when I throw the ball and that helps me correct and improve my skills,” said Philpot.

Since competing at her first provincial championships, she has rolled and been a big hit on lanes throughout central Alberta, as she practices one night a week besides league bowling two nights.

She has even received some special training by a professional bowler when Canadian champion Gene Ziebarth presented a clinic in Stettler in September 2008.

“At that clinic, he told me to reach and stay down when I throw the ball,” said Philpot, who became passionate about bowling at six years of age.

“When I was six, I noticed I was better than most other bowlers my age.”

“I like to compete and I like the competition.”

“My mom and dad motivated me to get more active in bowling, and helped me to improve my skills and encouraged me to compete.”

As she keeps on rolling and bowling, she aspires to take it to a higher level through her youth and adult years.

“I’d like to become a professional bowler as an adult, but I also want to have a regular job,” said Philpot.

“Bowling has helped her grow as a young lady and student as the sport builds her focus and character,” said her mother.

The sport is also ideal for all ages because bowling is not aggressive and bowlers virtually keep against themselves, not their opponents.