Local bowlers strike down the competition | Featured

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, 2018-08-17 21:26:15

VIRGINIA — It’s not often one can win a state championship in a sport. However, three area girls can say they’ve done it — twice now.

Haley Bogdan, 15, Madison Sundbom, 14, and Libby Overbye, 13, make up three-fourths of a bowling team that recently took it all the way at the USBC’s Minnesota State Youth Bowling Championship Aug. 5 in Mounds View, Minn. Winning the championship for the second time in three years, the trio grouped up with Elizabeth Sistad to capture the crown.

Heading in to the tournament, the girls thought they had a chance to do well, but they didn’t want to jump the gun.

“We weren’t overly confident going in,” Bogdan said Friday at the Virginia Bowling Gardens. “But we were pretty sure we could go in and win if we did the right things.”

Bogdan went on to say that as they started their games, their confidence increased the longer the game went on.

“Once you start throwing a good game, you kind of feel like you can keep it going and win,” she said.

With a state championship in their sights, the girls said they weren’t concerned with the other teams they were competing against.

“I think we were a little bit ahead of the second place team,” Sundbom said. “But it would have been closer had we not bowled as well as we did.”

As the girls got closer and closer to the win, the nerves did start to pick up, but they were able to overcome them in the end.

“Oh yeah,” Overbye said. “There was a lot of nerves by the end of it.”

“There were a lot of nerves,” Sundbom said. “But we were bowling with our friends and a lot of other teams from around here so we were just having fun with it.”

With the excitement getting to them, the girls didn’t even remember their winning scores. They knew, however, that they were definitely impressive.

With a second state championship under their belts, Bogdan, Overbye and Sundbom have come to realize the importance of having good team chemistry when competing.

“We always just want to go out and have fun,” Bogdan said. “So we go out and encourage each other and make sure we’re all having a good time when we bowl.”

Having fun and building bonds seems to be a common thread for all three girls, as they all got interested in the sport for the same reason.

“It’s a great way to meet new friends,” Overbye said. “It’s just a fun place to be.”

The girls also hope that their win can help bring out more younger players to the sport.

“Not a lot of people bowl competitively,” Bogdan said. “It’s a really unique thing and people don’t know that there are leagues for kids out there to get them started.”

“People should know that you don’t have to be a great bowler to come out and play,” Sundbom said. “There are great coaches here that can help you with their game and overall it’s just about coming here and having fun.”

“It’s nice to think that we could inspire people with what we’ve done,” Overbye said.

With the win, the girls all earned a scholarship from the United States Bowling Congress, a non-profit dedicated to the sport of 10-pin bowling. While winning the state championship is a good way to get a scholarship, the girls say there are plenty of opportunities for young bowlers to earn scholarships through the sport.

“When we were at the banquet after we won, there were many other scholarships being given out to so many people for winning other tournament,” Bogdan said. “That shows there can be a lot of opportunities in bowling.”

With a strong foundation built off of years of teamwork and two state championships, do the girls think they’ll be looking towards more success in the future?

“Oh yeah, much more to come,” they replied.

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