An old pastime took a few local students to a state competition Sunday, April 29, where they had a shot at $30,000 in scholarship money.
Though they didn’t place this year at the 2018 Qubica-AMF Rising Stars Youth Scholarship Bowling Tournament — which draws competitors from across Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina — they’ve enjoyed their time with the sport.
In total, there are eight bowlers in Gainesville’s youth league, and they all qualified for the state tournament.
“Sometimes we trash talk, but it’s in a fun way,” Gainesville High student Beth Kinsey, 18, said. “It’s kind of like we’re helping each other out, but we also trash talk to kind of motivate each other to do better, because that’s how we all do better.”
Coach Misty Kinsey said most of them were competing at that level for the first time after qualifying through the local league.
Beth Kinsey, though, once finished in third place at the finals tournament.
“It’s fun and gets me active,” Beth Kinsey said. “It’s the only sport I really do. I’m not good with sports, and this is the one thing I’ve been able to figure out and stuck with.”
She’s been bowling for about five years and said it’s a family affair. Her parents both bowl, so that’s how she was first introduced to it. She said she thinks she’s better than her father now. They all bowl in their own way but still have fun spending time together and competing against one another.
“Our parents told us to just try it to see if we like it or not,” said Samantha Kinsey, 16, Beth Kinsey’s sister. “And it kind of just stuck.”
They even got their neighbors into it.
Sarah Cox, 14, a student at East Hall High School just recently picked up bowling after the Kinseys asked her and her brother, Trevor Cox, 11, to join them. She said she likes the competition but also that she’s able to have fun at the same time.
“I just came because I wanted to to have fun,” Sarah Cox said. “But it’s kind of both. I want to have fun but kind of be able to compete a little bit, too.”
Trevor Cox said he was nervous to bowl in a tournament in front of lots of people, but his friend, Nolan Wilson, 12, reminded him it’s just like any other sport.
Wilson said he’s been bowling since 2016. His cousin, Cody Roper, got him interested and helped him learn. Roper died of cancer that same year, so Wilson has carried on his memory by continuing to bowl.
“He enjoyed bowling a lot and gave me a few balls,” Wilson said. “So it’s been a developing thing, you could say.”