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Junior becomes first to qualify for bowling tournament

Rohan Anne

By Juliana Yao, Co-Sports Editor

Despite a slow start, junior Marty Snyder ended a Jan. 27 wildcard qualifying tournament in third place, making him the only Conestoga student to ever qualify for the Eastern Pennsylvania Regional High School Bowling Championships.

Snyder’s accomplishment comes with a recent PIAA policy change allowing bowlers from schools without a recognized bowling program to qualify for regionals. Without a bowling team or club, any Conestoga bowler was unable to reach this level of competition prior to this year. The Wildcard Singles Eastern PA Qualifying Tournament on Jan. 27 was the first chance for such athletes to be eligible for the Eastern PA regional championships.

“It simply isn’t popular enough here,” athletic director Kevin Pechin said. “A lot of people do it out toward the west of Pennsylvania, but there are only a total of three high school bowling teams in District 1.”

From nine schools across six PIAA districts without bowling teams, 12 male participants competed in the wildcard qualifier for four qualifying spots. Each athlete played four games, at which time the top two would immediately qualify. The rest, including Snyder, played an additional three games to determine the final two qualifiers.

“There were seven games, and after the first game, I was dead last,” Snyder said. “So it took a bit to kind of climb back up to within the top four. It was almost a relief, and I felt pretty accomplished just because of how I started.”

Snyder first started recreational bowling when he was 4 years old at Merion Cricket Club. After joining a junior program at Sproul Lanes, he began to bowl competitively. Despite not having a coach for most of his career, Snyder found tournaments and trained himself by connecting with other bowlers. Snyder said that this network and the sport itself have positively impacted him.

“It’s always been a passion, especially in terms of community. And so it’s kind of been just an anchor in my life in terms of how on the weekends or something, I feel like I’ll always be able to do it,” Snyder said. “It was nice to find it early in life.”

Due to the relative lack of bowlers in the area, Snyder believes that many people do not know about the nuance behind the sport. For example, oil patterns refer to the way oil is laid on a lane. This changes the friction of the lane in different areas, meaning athletes must bowl differently at each competition and as time goes on, since each bowling ball will spread the oil. Through acknowledging these intricacies, Snyder’s mindset toward bowling has changed since he first picked up the sport.

“I’ve gained more respect in terms of what it takes to be really good. At first glance it doesn’t really seem like it’s a very complicated sport, but the more I learned, the more I saw how complicated it was and how difficult it was to achieve some things,” Snyder said.

The championships took place on March 1 in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and the  PA State High School Bowling Championships will happen on March 15 and 16. Looking forward, Snyder hopes to bowl in college and maintain a lasting connection to the sport.

“I’ll probably be doing it for my whole life because it’s one of those sports you can really do at any point. So, we’ll see how it goes,” Snyder said. “I’m doing pretty well right now in terms of winning, so we’ll see what offers I’ll get in the future.”

Juliana Yao can be reached at [email protected].


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About the Contributors
Juliana Yao
Juliana Yao, Co-Opinion Editor
Juliana Yao is a junior and the Co-Sports Editor of The Spoke. She was previously a Staff Reporter and often writes for the Sports and Opinion sections. Aside from The Spoke, she is a member of the varsity girls’ swim team. As a sports editor, she oversees the writing and journalistic process of reporters in her section.
Rohan Anne
Rohan Anne, Webmaster
Rohan Anne is a junior and the Webmaster of The Spoke. He has been managing the website for the last two years. He enjoys covering local news that effects the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District and Conestoga High School community, along with local events that are important to the district. Outside of journalism, he enjoys playing ping pong, teaching about artificial intelligence and technology through the AI Club, and building and programming robots in the Conestoga Robotics Club.