By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TROY — Stephanie Crider spent much of her youth cheering on other athletes.
These days, the Troy High School senior bowler is the one drawing the cheers.
“I quit cheer for bowling,” Crider said. “I definitely made the right choice. Bowling has definitely given me a lot of opportunities.”
Including the opportunity to attend college. Last month, Crider signed her national letter of intent to bowl at the University of Pikeville, located in Kentucky. The Bears are one of the top NAIA women’s bowling programs in the nation, having captured NAIA national championships in 2004 and 2008 and numerous Mid-South Conference titles.
“I really liked it when I went down for a visit,” Crider said. “The one thing I really liked was how it seemed like a small town and all of the girls got along so well. I liked all of the coaches.”
So far this season, Crider is averaging a 194.0, second-highest on the team, with a high game of 258 (second-highest on the team) and a series high of 513, best on the team so far this season. Last season, she averaged 190.9, with a high game of 246 and a series high of 438. That was good enough to earn her first-team All-Greater Western Ohio Conference American League honors. She also was part of a Trojan team that qualified for the state tournament and placed fifth.
Her sophomore year, Crider bowled at Butler High School, where she averaged 174.0, with a high game of 234 and a series high of 416. That years she earned All-GWOC American League second-team honors.
Crider’s ascent in the bowling world is impressive considering she’s only been playing competitively for a few years. She did, however, grow up around the sport.
“This is only my fourth year bowling,” she said. “I started because I grew up with my dad bowling in leagues. I just started. I didn’t even know you could bowl in high school, let alone college.”
Crider said she’s put in countless hours since then, honing her game.
“I practice really hard,” she said. “I put a lot of time in. I practice five out of seven days a week.
Troy bowling coach Rob Dever said he’s proud to see all Crider’s hard work pay off with a chance to bowl in college.
“Any time someone can go on to bowl in college and get some scholarship money, that’s always a plus,” he said. “She’s going to bring heart, will and determination to her college team. She’s gotten better each year since she’s been in high school, and I think she’ll only get better in college.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong