Becoming a national champion in any sport is no easy task and becoming a national champion in three different age categories is a very rare accomplishment indeed.
Smithers bowler Madison Richter, 15, has become a Triple Crown winner at the recent national bowling championships in Oshawa as she bested a more experienced competition in her first year in Youth Bowling’s senior division.
The quiet young bowler won her first national title in 2014 in the bantam division in Winnipeg. She added the junior title in 2018 in Saskatoon. Only three other bowlers have equalled that accomplishment in the 55-year history of the national youth event.
Moving into the senior category placed her against bowlers who were three to four years older and more experienced but she rose to the occasion to add that banner to her collection. She felt that staying focussed was one of her biggest challenges at the tournament as she met many friends she had not seen in quite some time.
Richter said she was impressed with the size of the complex in which the tournament was held. With over 70 lanes it was more than just a little bigger than the local alley which has only six.
She’s been bowling for around six and a half years and keeps herself busy honing her skills with participation in three leagues, practicing a couple of times and helping out with some of the younger bowlers.
In addition to bowling, she says that she likes to play softball, volleyball and golf. Currently she is looking forward to a provincial bowling school to be held in Vernon in July.
Richter was joined in Oshawa with team mate Peyton Pettigrew, 10, who was competing at the national contest for the first time. A relative newcomer to the sport, Pettigrew qualified for the event by winning the BC provincials. Inexperience did not hold her back as she finished tenth overall in the bantam category.
She started bowling about five years ago at birthday parties and continues to enjoy it. Like most youngsters her age, she has a list of activities she participates in. While not bowling this summer, she plans on playing tennis, golf and cheerleading as well as doing some camping and fishing.
She says that she was a little nervous before the competition. One of her best experiences was making new friends who she now keeps in touch with on the internet.
While the season is finished for league play, Smithers Bowling has a kids bowl free program to introduce youngsters to the lifetime sport.