Nicole Philpot of Stettler bowled her way to the championship at Sherwood Bowl in Sherwood Park on Sunday, Feb. 28 as she became the senior girls Alberta 5-Pin singles champion.
Starting in mid-November, 2015, the road to Philpot’s singles title began in a two-week house round consisting of six games rolled during Youth Bowling Championships (YBC) where the top four bowlers within each division are granted the opportunity to move on to the zone round.
Philpot has done this now for the past 10 years, each year she was eligible, and like every year, made it through to the zone round.
But this year’s journey to the national stage of 5-pin bowling has been a tumultuous one, said Philpot.
“Its mainly because of a bad knee injury suffered over the summer during an ill-advised but fun rope swing, where I hit the water wrong,” added Philpot. “That has caused damage and is currently under investigation with an MRI scheduled for the end of March, but the battle must go on so through pain management and determination I have pulled through so far.”
The zone round was held on Dec. 6, 2015 at Bonnie Doon bowling centre in Edmonton where Philpot competed in a 5 game scratch event.
She led pretty much from the first game, averaging 276 and winning the event, even throwing a 370 game when her competitor tried in vain to close the gap by throwing a 410 at the same time, both throwing eight strikes in a row.
Winning this event helped Philpot to qualify and compete against the top eight bowlers in the province at the provincials.
In the provincials, Philpot competed in a 5 game scratch event.
As with zones, she started strong, 70 pins ahead after her first game and never allowed that lead to diminish, finishing the event and winning with a 231 average and over a 90 point lead on her competition, at a much tougher house and stiffer competition, over the top eight single girls in the province.
Winning this event has earned Philpot the title of top senior girl in the entire province and the honour of proudly representing Alberta in the upcoming nationals event.
Philpot has also won her second $1,000-scholarship for having the highest pinfall over the 5 game event, something that she missed out on last year by only 3 pins, and something that she had stated that morning was one of her goals for the event.
“At this point I have earned around $5,000 in scholarship money over various tournaments which I would be using in the fall when I start my bachelors of education program at the university,” said Philpot. “The next and final step takes place at the YBC Nationals later this year in Calgary, May 7-9, where I will take on the best that this country has to offer.”
According to Philpot, this will be much tougher as they will battle through a gruelling 20 plus game schedule over three days, competing in a head-to-head match play format where she “must live and die by her own sword so to speak as it is singles and not the team game” that she competed at in Oshawa, Ontario last year.
“Nicole was able to battle and dig throughout the entire event, staying strong, positive and focused, never allowing her competitors or her knee injury to become a deterrent to her ultimate goals of winning the singles gold, getting her scholarship and moving on to the nationals once again,” said Philpot’s mother, Darlene Philpot who has been a fervent supporter of Philpot’s bowling prowess. “Nicole’s mantra has always been to never give up and she plans to ride this determination right through nationals and beyond.”