Junior Strikes Into State


Photo courtesy of Mr. Aylward

When junior Natalia Owczarek reached for her red 15-pound ball in the 8th frame in sectionals, nerves rushed through her body as she inhaled and allowed for a clear state of mind. She swung her arm, allowing her body’s momentum to drive the ball forward, she knew she was only a few pins away from the state tournament.

“I decided to join bowling during my freshman year because it seemed like a fun opportunity since no experience was required to join.” Since then, she has been competing for three years. When the team went to matches, Owczarek  was able to have her closest friends and family there to support her. The bowling team practices during the Winter season, Monday through Friday at Stardust in Addison from 4 to 6 pm. This year with help from the extreme practicing, for the first time since 2015, a Leyden student qualified for state. 

Owczarek  has been involved in multiple clubs and sports throughout her three years. She plays volleyball during the fall season and soccer during the spring season. During the off-season, she competes in bowling matches with her team and is involved in the ski club.

During sectionals, Owczarek  questioned her integrity in her match, “I wasn’t quite sure my scores were high enough.” However, by the end of sectionals when everyone finished their last game, they announced that Owczarek  qualified for the annual state tournament in the first place. 

On Thursday, February 20th, Owczarek  left early in the morning to Cherry Bowl in Rockford to compete against the best high school bowler in Illinois. “Walking into the bowling alley, the nerves were kicking in, but knowing that everyone else was just as nervous as I was, made me settle in.”  Throughout the day, Owczarek felt it was difficult to bowl and focus with so much happening.” After qualifying via sectionals, Owczarek finished 117th which, according to her, is a disappointing finish that will fuel her efforts next year.