Young local bowling standout Nicole Philpot continues to climb the ladder after qualifying for the youth singles championships scheduled for next spring.
Bowling on her home lanes at Heartland Bowl in Stettler on Dec. 4, she rolled to victory at the Four Steps to Stardom central Alberta zone championships to qualify for the provincial junior bowling championships March 6 in Calgary under Bowl Alberta.
She averaged a score of 246 over five games to win the crown for the junior girls 11 to 14 years as she competed against eight other girls.
After the first three games, she led by six points and ended up winning the tournament over 200 points ahead of her nearest competitor.
Philpot capped the title with an explosive 270 points in the final game.
“I wasn’t totally surprised that I won but I knew I had a lot of strong competition, ” said Philpot, 13.
“I knew I had to bear down and bowl my absolutely hardest.”
“While some players tired as each game was played, I am able to keep holding on and I do my best.”
After finishing fourth the last two years at the provincial championships, she has her sights set higher.
“I think I do have a chance to win a provincial championship,’ said Philpot.
“I am practicing once a week and three to four times a week closer to tournaments.”
Both of her coaches have seen great progress in her skills recently as she gains confidence.
“Nicole deserves what she’s getting,” said Bob Gallagher, who has been coaching her for four years.
“She’s a natural bowler – she just loves the game and works very hard to improve her game.”
Masters bowler Shauna Laisnez has been coaching the young bowler for the past two months.
“Nicole already has the technical skills and now she’s ready for more of the mental aspect of the game,” said Laisnez, a former bowling coach in Stettler who has won two Alberta ladies’ masters championships and competed on TSN-TV Canadian Bowling Championship.
“Her love and dedication for the game is evident.”
“Now I feel she’s ready for the level and that’s to prepare her for the national level of competition,” said
Philpot was recognized for her skills and potential when she was recently selected to the provincial Youth Challenge girls’ A team as the youngest player, with other players in the program up to 19 years of age.
“I’m going there to do my best and have a lot of fun,” said Philpot.
Playing on the five-player team, she will be competing at the Youth Challenge tournament Feb. 4 to 6 in Medicine Hat.
As she raises funds for these tournaments, Philpot is grateful for the strong support from the bowling community.