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Bowling: Crouse signs NLI to Southern University

While some graduating seniors are still trying to line up college scholarships, Hailey Crouse received a scholarship from an unexpected source — bowling.

Karen Couvillon, coach of Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., saw the River Hill senior, and bowling teammate Stacey Tripp, at a bowling tournament in New Jersey earlier this year.

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"She talked to my coach, who is also Stacey's mom. We met up after we finished bowling. She made offers and started talking to us," Crouse said.

"I hadn't even considered bowling in college until I got the offer a couple of months ago."

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Crouse sealed her end of the deal by signing a national letter of intent Thursday afternoon in a signing ceremony at the Columbia Brunswick Lanes, where she bowls on Saturdays.

Tripp signed her NLI from Southern in April.

In addition to the bowling scholarship, Crouse said she is also receiving money from from Southern's honors college. She plans to study computer science.

Crouse had never bowled before she moved to Howard County in 2004. "I met some girls. They were in the Saturday league and they introduced my sister and me to bowling," she said. "We just sort of picked it up and we're still with it."

Crouse said until October she had been throwing a 12-pound ball that wasn't really fit for her hand.

In October, she moved up to a 15-pound ball and that, combined with coaching and improved technique, has helped her raise her average 30 pins in the last year. She now averages around 164.

When Crouse visited the Southern University campus during spring break, she had a chance to meet some of the bowlers on the Jaguars' team.

Southern is bringing in seven new freshmen this fall.

Crouse is looking forward to working with Couvillon. "The coach is very much like a mother hen. She's very protective and she really wants to work with us. That's what appeals to me."

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