Situating yourself time and again at the end of a long wooden track can get repetitive. But, for Sheyenne Cromer, doing the same thing over and over has paid off.
And, it’s been fun at the same time.
Cromer, 12, bowled at the state level in May, winning the Girls Singles Division 2 bracket of the Colorado State Youth Championship Tournament in Aurora.
Taking home a $90 scholarship and a plaque for the achievement, she scored 442 over the course of three games. She also won $15 for her sixth-place finish in the Division 3 Doubles with fellow Craig bowler Natasha Sloane.
Cromer said the difference between bowling at a large-scale tournament and bowling in Craig was the intensity other competitors had.
“You just have fun when you’re playing in Craig,” she said. “But, when you’re at the competition, you have to focus on that and on how you’re going to do, and make sure you pay attention to everybody else, because they can be incredibly hard and they don’t give up.”
But, her method remains the same at any level.
“Just take a deep breath and roll the ball,” she said.
Rolling with strong competitors is what seventh-grader Cromer has gotten used to recently, participating in the Thunder Rolls Bowling Center’s youth bowling program at the top level: the High Rollers.
The top tier is open to ages 12 to 18, making her one of the younger bowlers, a change from bowling with the Bantams, which caters to ages 7 to 12.
“I get along really well with older people, like high-schoolers,” she said.
The High Rollers’ games are Monday nights at Thunder Rolls. Cromer’s father, John, is one of the instructors for the youth program and bowls regularly, himself.
“I’m no pro,” he said.
Cromer said the High Rollers have 12 participants, though for him, the Bantam level is easier to coach because of the different level of attention.
“Nowadays, teenagers have all the gadgets, and it’s hard to get them to focus until you get them into a tournament and you can see what they’re capable of,” he said.
John said he tends to shy away from instructing Sheyenne too much, though he believes she has potential to be a strong bowler as she gets older.
“She’ll be able to compete, if not win, against anybody,” he said. “I’m very proud of her. She’s an athlete and she works hard, and she’s really got the heart for it.”
Sheyenne, who also plays volleyball and softball, has been bowling since age 6, and the activity has become a family sport. Her 3-year-old brother, Jayden, also plays sometimes.
“He bowls sometimes with the bumpers and sometimes without them, and when he makes it down there, he’ll just go, ‘I did it! I did it!’” Sheyenne said.
John said the reaction is similar with children of the same age in Thunder Rolls’ PeeWees program for ages 3 to 7.
“We limit them to one game because kids that age will get worn out easily,” he said. “You should see the looks on their faces. When they hit pins, it’s delightful to see.”