FORT WAYNE – Briana Marquis is excited these days just thinking about competing in the North Pointe Junior Gold Championships, which begin Saturday.
But the 14-year-old bowler from Butler knows she hasnt seen anything yet.
Im pretty excited but it hasnt hit me how big it is, she said. Until I get down there I wont know how excited or anxious about it that Ill really be.
This is an annual tournament for the top male and female youth bowlers in the nation, a place for them to win a spot on the national junior team, get a piece of $250,000 in scholarships or get noticed by college coaches.
Neither Briana nor her father and coach, Nate, make any secret of the fact that bowling could be her key to a college education.
(Bowling) has grown on her the last few years, Nate Marquis said. Up until two years ago, it was just something to do. Shes seen the opportunities now. When we go around to these tournaments, she sees the opportunities shell have to go on to college. Its there, especially for girls, the bowling scholarships. Shes at that level and her academics are top-notch, too.
Briana Marquis, who will be a freshman at Eastside this fall, averages about 175 on the lanes. Butler Bowl has been where shes done most of her practicing during her six years in the sport.
We usually go to at least one bowling tournament a month, she said. Now they are all over the place and, of course, I bowl on my own a lot.
To get to the North Pointe tournament, she qualified through the Youth Indiana State Tournament, which took place over nine weeks last spring. She rolled a 545 series and will be in the 15-and-under division. There are only two girls from Indiana in that division, the other being Madison Mills of Ladoga.
The competition is based on total pins. She will roll five games a day, July 16 through 18, and they add the scores together to decide advancement.
Briana Marquis improvement in recent years can be traced to hard work, practice and time at Brad Angelos camps.
They teach us everything on the lane and then he teaches us mental stuff, too, she said.
There will be several other bowlers with ties to northeast Indiana at the North Pointe championships.
In the 15-and-under boys, there are Trejean Didier of Fort Wayne and Zachery Tackett of Huntington.
In the 20-and-under boys, there are Connor Brown and Adam Harris-Shoemaker of Huntington, Tyler Carroll of Roanoke, and Dustin Curcio and Zachary Dohner of Butler.
And in the 20-and-under girls, there are Sydney Brummett of Fort Wayne, Eleni Newsome of Huntington and Emalee Wiser of Decatur.
I know Im very excited for (Briana), as a father and as a coach, Nate Marquis said. Being so young, getting the opportunity for something like this is huge, especially for a small town like Butler.