Like grandpa, like dad, like daughter. Having grown up in the bowling business, Vermilion sophomore Madison Shreve earned a deep appreciation for the sport in her short seven-year career.
Shreve’s dad and mom, John Jr. and Penny, bought Black River Lanes in 2007. John Sr., Madison’s grandfather along with her dad have combined for more than 100 300 games and hold house records at both Grafton (875, John Sr.) and Black River (857, John Jr.) lanes.
“Madison works on playing different lane conditions,” said 42-year-old John Jr., a 1988 graduate of Midview High. “She’s learning how to react to that and adjust to that better.”
Madison also played softball for five years, but now devotes her time and efforts exclusively to her No. 1 passion.
“Madison goes to tournaments with me and watches everyone bowl,” her dad said. “She picks up the adjustments by watching the better bowlers. She can interpret that to her game. When she sees this guy do that and can then decide, ‘let me try it,’ instead of always trying to make the same shot work.”
John Sr., 63, retired from the Lorain County Sheriff’s Department and bowled on the senior tour for 13 years (1998-2011). A 1967 graduate of Midview High, John Sr. received his sixth Russ Davies Memorial Award in June as the 2012 Chronicle-Telegram Bowler of the Year.
“My grandfather drilled a bowling ball last year for me prior to districts,” Madison said. “He couldn’t make it to districts but thought that the ball would help my chances. My grandpa comes by the bowling alley about every Wednesday when we’re practicing and we talk.”
Madison understands the hard knocks of the game but never more so after what happened last year when as a freshman she came within 11 pins of qualifying to the 2012 Division I state bowling tournament at the Northeast district tournament at Twin Star Lanes in Brady Lake.
She had a 421 two-game series and was in third place heading into the final game. Unfortunately, Shreve struggled and bowled only a 145.
The score dropped Madison down to ninth place with a 576 series. Nordonia senior Rachel Novak, who shot only 340 the first two games, shot 247 to move up to the fifth and final qualifying berth with a 587 series.
Tears were shed over the heartbreak, but Madison has long since picked up the pieces. She’s ready to run with it this season.
“I have a better idea what to expect,” she said. “Hopefully, it’ll go better.”
Shreve was a big reason for Vermilion’s 13-2 third-place finish in the North Shore Bowling Conference behind Amherst (15-0) and North Olmsted (14-1). And she was a bigger reason it advanced to districts after missing in 2010-11 for the first time since bowling became an OHSAA state-sanctioned sport in 2006-07.
“The competition is really big,” Madison said. “I knew that it would be big, but the conference was way more competitive than I ever imagined.”
As much as Shreve blamed herself for what happened at districts, it likely wasn’t for lack of preparation. She had a great regular season with a 191 average, second in the North Shore Bowling Conference. She was third with a 588 at the Lorain County Sectional.
“I was pleasantly surprised with how the season turned out,” said Shreve. “I didn’t expect to be carrying the No. 2 average in the conference. There are a lot of very good bowlers.”
With a better defined measuring stick of expectations, Shreve is ready to press forward.
“I practiced almost every day over the summer with my coach as well my dad,” she said. “We worked on how to play the different lane patterns and conditions at different angles. I’ve practiced my spare bowling a lot more (this offseason).
“The lane conditions for districts were weird. I’m used to bowling on regular house shot. The oil pattern was very heavy inside and outside. It was very strange. I ended throwing my spare ball for my strike ball.”
Madison is a two-time State Pepsi Tournament finalist and two-time C-T bowler of the year. She has bowled since 2005. Madison won the 2011 Elyria USBC City Tournament all-events title with a score of 2,067. The performance included a 706 (her first 700 ever) and first place in doubles with her sister, McKinley, who is 9.
Madison is changing up balls this season. Last year, she used a Rawhammer and for drier lane conditions she used her Hammer Burn or Cyclone balls. This year, Madison is using Black Taboo and DV8.
The Sailors also return No. 2 bowler Hannah Modic, a sophomore, along with senior McKenzi Troyano, plus juniors Emily and June Aldrich.
“The league should be pretty wide open,” Madison said. “Amherst has two very good bowlers (Courtney Thompson and Rachel Glowacki) but graduated three of its top five from last year.”
Second place North Olmsted returns Katey Hull, but graduated Gilchrist and Heather Thomas, two of its top three.
Contact Paul Heyse at 440-329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.