Madison Richter is a national champion.
The 10-year-old bantam bowler from Smithers reached the pinnacle of five-pin youth bowling in Canada last weekend, after posting a 17-5 record at nationals in Winnipeg, en route to a gold medal at the event.
“It was pretty cool to win,” Richter said. “It was a great experience. I went there to have fun and it ended up going really well.”
The event featured provincial winners from across the nation, competing in a round-robin tournament, with the winningest bowler at the end, coming out on top.
Things didn’t start well for Richter, though. She began with a loss and a score of 160, 35 points below her average for the tournament.
“After that game, I thought she probably wouldn’t have a chance to win it,” her mother, Karmen Richter said. “But she was composed and maintained the entire tournament.”
Madison’s biggest win came on the second-to-last day of competition. She trailed heading into the final frame of a must-win game against Newfoundland, but dug deep and came up with three straight strikes to pull off the victory.
“That was probably my favourite game,” Madison said. “I didn’t feel like there was a lot of pressure because I knew it was going to be hard.”
On the final day, Madison wrapped up the national title before lunch time.
After the win, Madison and her family were too tired to celebrate. It was an exhausting tournament that saw Madsion play eight to 10 games a day.
“It was really tiring,” Madison said. “At the end, I had to rest-up.”
The win marked the end of a long series of big wins for Richter. She won zones back in January and provincials in Abbotsford last March.
It’s a lot to take in.
“We weren’t expecting it all,” Karmen said.
“It was a huge accomplishment to win zones and make it to provincials. Then, to come away with the national title, I don’t even know what to say. It’s still shocking.”
Her coach, Cynthia Bergen was equally impressed.
“We have a huge zone up here in the north and that isn’t easy to win,” Bergen said. “Making it to provincials is a big thing. Beating the best bowlers in the country is something else altogether.”
Perhaps more remarkable than Richter’s title, she only started bowling two years ago.
Now, with the bantam title in hand, Richter will turn her attention to the junior division.
She’ll continue to work on improving her strength, but, according to the national coaches in attendance, her form and aim are unparalleled for her age.
She has offers to join a club from Prince George and will likely train with one of her provincial coaches when the Richter family heads there in the summer.
“With her ability and her drive, I can see her going as far as she wants to,” Bergen said.
League youth bowling is finished for the season in Smithers, but the alley is offering a youth bowling league, where youngsters can bowl two games a week for free.