Bowling is not a high school varsity sport, but two local bowlers are signing college scholarships to represent Southern University of Baton Rouge, La.
Stacey Tripp, a senior at Meade High School, signed her National Letter of Intent Wednesday. Hailey Crouse a senior at River Hill, is waiting for her NLI to arrive.
Tripp, who works at Columbia Brunswick Lanes and bowls there as well, said she received many scholarship offers, but chose Southern University because it reminded her of Ohio where her parents Joe and Joan are from.
"Stacey likes the slower life style," her father said.
Tripp is receiving a full ride.
"It's a bowling scholarship and an academic scholarship, too."
Her GPA is around 3.7 and her bowling average in her best league is in the 198-199 range.
Last winter, she narrowly missed out on a perfect game (300) when she rolled a 299.
She won the triple crown and most improved bowler last year in her Saturday morning league.
The triple crown is high game scratch, high series scratch and high average. Most improved is the bowler whose average increases the most from the start to the finish of the season. Tripp had never won most improved before
"That was my goal, I fought for it and I got it," she said.
Tripp participates in three leagues each week, including a youth Sunday travel league.
Both of her parents are both accomplished bowlers and she has been bowling since she was four.
"My parents are a major influence for me. They are the reason I started bowling," she said. Her father also works at Columbia Brunswick.
Tripp said she tried soccer — "fun but I didn't much care for it — and basketball — "I kept breaking my finger — and volleyball in gym class — "The wall and I didn't agree so I stopped that."
She even tried running and track, "which seemed monotonous," she said. "I decided I would stick with bowling."
Four years ago, she decided to get serious about her game.
"I decided to try to become a better bowler. I worked hard and I got there. College coaches watched me in some of the tournaments." That's when they started contacting her.
Crouse and Tripp made their official visit to Southern University over spring break.
Tripp said she thinks she can go farther as a bowler at Southern University.
"Stacey believes that Southern's coach will get her to the next level," said Joe Tripp.
His daughter doesn't rule out possibly becoming a professional bowler, but she's practical enough to have fallback options.
She plans to study criminology with a minor in forensics and she has considered joining the military. Her mother is retired Navy and now works for the Department of Defense.
"I'm just thankful for the scholarship that will help me get through college," she said.