While many people might not think of Smithers as a hotbed of youth bowling, the recent results of a pair of young bowlers might give cause for some reconsideration.
Madison Richter, 15, and Peyton Pettigrew, 9, travelled to the B.C. youth bowling championships in Surrey and came out with gold medals. In addition, they both gained seats on the B.C. squad which will travel to the national championships in Oshawa in early May.
While this will be Pettigrew’s first trip to a national competition, it’s almost beginning to be old hat for Richter since it will be her third journey to the national competition.
In a way it was no surprise for her to gain her seat on the team since she has become something of a known quantity at the provincial championships over the last few years. In the past she has dominated the Bantam and Junior levels at the B.C. meet, but stepping up to the line as a 15-year-old competing against far more experienced bowlers who are up to 18 years old, she was in some ways a bit of a dark horse.
Not that much of a dark horse though. She’s already brought home the banners for Bantam and Junior. The hope now is that she can win the Senior championship and tie up the Senior division banner. If she does it, she will receive the triple crown award. And she has five years to try to do that.
Her dad Greg, who directs the junior and senior bowlers here, is her coach.
He mother describes Madison as, “pretty reserved. She’s not a showboat. She’s pretty quiet about it.”
While Madison also likes softball and volleyball, bowling is her main activity and this will be her third trip to the nationals. She bowls in different leagues four times a week and also helps coach the younger bowlers on Saturdays. In fact she has the top average in town.
It takes more than a few years to develop the precise skills needed to perform at the top level and she has also attended a bowling school twice in Vernon during summer vacation.
In the future Madison is thinking of becoming a nurse.
Peyton Pettigrew is also booking her flight to the national championships as she brought home gold in the Bantam division girls.
Pettigrew was a real mystery since she did not win the local title in order to go to the B.C. champs. She was second and when a bowler from a different area was unable to attend, she was asked to go since she had the highest score of any bowler in her division not attending.
The Bantam division is eight to 10 years old and while she has some experience, it’s not much. She was eight at the tournament and now is nine.
It will be an adventure for the family since none of them has ever been to Ontario before. She has a has a seven-month-old brother and a six-year-old sister who is excited about the prospect of having a lot of sleepovers, according to her mother.
Peyton has been bowling around five years and also enjoys activities in arts, crafts and music.