When Castlegar bowlers Carys Rodgers and Summer Merwin went 10-0 and won gold at the Youth Bowling Canada (YBC) provincial championship in Vernon in March, they were set to represent B.C. at the national bowling championships in Calgary in May.
Unfortunately, that dream got put on hold when the event kept getting delayed and eventually cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
One person that still wanted to recognize the incredible achievements of the two girls was Castle Bowl president Roland Handley.
On Wednesday, Sept 2, Handley organized a small event in Castlegar to give the girl’s the jackets and uniform that they would’ve worn to the national event.
“This event was incredibly special for all of us. It was going to be their first time going to a national and they certainly weren’t expected to do as well as they did,” said Handley.
“The girls also became the first group in our club’s history to win all 10 matches at the event.”
Another extremely proud person at the event was Brenda Zoobkoof, who helped to train and mentor the girls as they began to bowl on the big stage.
“Zoobkoff is one of the coaches that helped to train all of our youth, including Rodgers and Zoobkoof, on a weekly basis,” said Handley.
“There was a lot of effort by her and the other coaches to help prepare them to bowl on the regional, provincial and national stage.”
Leading up to the provincials, the coaches worked hard to keep the girls focused and help them perfect their bowling technique, properly release a bowling ball and make a strike look easy to the rest of us.
Despite the setback from the crisis, Handley said everyone is still impressed with how the girls played.
“We’re just so proud of the both of them, they we’re able to keep their cool and not be intimidated by the other teams,” said Handley.
“While they weren’t able to compete in as many matches as other Lower Mainland teams leading up to the provincial championships, they still performed incredibly well.”
The duo is now ready more ambitious than ever to win the provincial championships again and eventually hold that gold medal up at the national championships next year.
Castle Bowl has sent eight other single or team bowlers to to the national championships over the years.
If this story inspired you to dust off your bowling shoes and grab your bowling ball, Castle Bowl is open to the public now with reduced capacity.