Local News

Youth bowler hits big

Highlands Today SEBRING - Cheers erupted Monday when Adrianna Stacy rolled the last bowling ball in the last frame of the game and all 10 pins came tumbling down. Then the hugs and congratulations followed. The 14-year-old had just clinched a 300 score at the weekly youth league bowling at Heartland Bowl, but it wasn't the first time she had hit a perfect game.
A few weeks ago, there were fewer people watching and Adrianna was just practising, but when that last ball rolled and the pins fell, she was almost in tears. That had been her first 300 game, and the teen was understandably emotional. Recently, the soon-to-be Sebring High School freshman has had plenty to celebrate about, including her first major win at a statewide youth bowling tournament. She won the state title for girls 15 and under of the Pepsi Florida State Tournament in Fort Lauderdale in April. A USBC contest, youth bowlers from the whole state have to qualify to participate in the scratch tournament. Adrianna notched a score of 1,164 in six games with a high of 224. To say she was thrilled is an understatement. She beamed as she recalled how her father, Joe Stacy, had looked at the wrong age group of the unofficial standings and thought she had missed by about 24 pins until he realized his mistake. "I was so happy," she grinned. "You told me wrong," she gently admonished dad. Adrianna described the experience as a "grind." Bowlers have to change lanes after every two games and bowl on these lanes without practice. That means they have to judge lane conditions pretty fast and decide how to bowl and which ball to use. Lanes 39 and 40 were pretty "beaten up," Adrianna recalled. Since the lanes were hooking a lot, or the balls were curving a lot,she ended up using her "weakest" ball. What she's also learning is that you have to have a strong mental game to succeed and you can't let a bad frame ruffle your momentum. "You can't let your mind put negative thoughts," she said. Adrianna was representing Coz's Bowling Center in Lake Placid. Right now, the peppy teen is busy preparing for the The North Pointe Junior Gold Championships in Detroit, one of the toughest youth bowling tournaments in the country. This is Adrianna's first national bowling contest and Joe Stacy is excited for his daughter and hopes it is a learning experience for her. It's not uncommon for Adrianna to practice several games a day. One Friday, she bowled 13 games. Her strategy is not just to gain stamina but to focus on getting spares since scoring strikes is much harder in competitive bowling tournaments. "I'm focusing on my seventh- and 10th pins," she said. Bowling runs in the Stacy family. They could almost be called Highlands County's first family of bowling. Both her parents met at a bowling alley and her father runs the pro shop at Heartland Bowl and is a known bowling coach in the area. Her brother bowls, too, although, of the two, Adrianna says she's more serious about taking the game professionally. Her dream is to represent Webber International University in Babson Park when she graduates high school, and until then, she'll be spending a lot of time representing the high school team.