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Bantam bowlers strike gold at national championships

The St. Albert Bowling Centre’s boys and girls teams both returned from the Regina event with top honours

St. Albert's young bowling talent rolled through Regina over the weekend, capturing gold at the prestigious 2023 Youth Bowl Canada Five-Pin National Championship.

The bantam boys team of Lucas Mak and Ethan Rosborough, both aged 11, were led to victory by coach Denise Howie. On the bantam girls side, Lilah Lapierre, also 11, single-handedly represented St. Albert, with coach Ernie McLellan guiding her to success. All three young athletes are part of the St. Albert Bowling Centre's Youth Bowling Program, where they participate in weekly league play.

It wasn't an easy road to Regina for the three. To qualify, Lilah first had to win the Alberta Representative tournament in November, beating players from across the province for the chance to represent Alberta.

The journey for Lucas and Ethan was equally tough.

The boys qualified at the St. Albert Bowling Centre during a nine-game league event in December and January. The duo was then paired together based on their exceptional performances. The next stage, the Zone Round in early February, saw the top two teams earn spots for provincials. Finally, on March 12, Lucas and Ethan went up against Alberta’s top bowlers to secure their place at the national competition

The boys say the long road to nationals was well worth the work.

“I really enjoyed the tough competition,” Ethan said, noting he was excited to take home a gold medal from such a major event.

“My favourite part of the [regular] season was provincials,” Lucas said. “It shows that we were on top of our game, winning against the best in the province.”

He believes bowling in different venues at nationals made him a more seasoned and thoughtful competitor. 

“It shows how different lanes affect your game,” he said. 

Additionally, he embraced the lively social aspect of the tournament.

“I loved meeting so many new people from all over Canada who love the sport as much as me,” Lucas said.

The performance of these rising stars and their dedicated coaches is a testament to the strength of St. Albert's youth bowling scene.

“We have a very strong bowling program and that is because of the community here,” said Richard LaPerle, the youth bowling coordinator and assistant manager at the St. Albert Bowling Centre.

“The coaches and parents are very involved in supporting the bowlers to be the best versions of themselves, both on and off the lanes," LaPerle said. "We strongly believe it is important to encourage the kids in both of these areas. At our YBC Wind Up event, 70 bowlers get to see the success of these three and everything they have done to get to this point. Hopefully, this will be a great point of inspiration for them as well.”