Valpo women’s bowling closes out its season with the last regular season tournament this weekend in Tennessee.
Senior Kelsey Fader spoke highly of her experience both as a student and an athlete. She attributes much of it to the family feel her team gives her.
“I feel like it’s given me a family away from home,” Fader said. “I love my teammates, they’re awesome. We fight like a family, but we also love like a family. It’s been nice to be able to have that teamwork in a collegiate setting. It’s given me an opportunity to keep competing and doing the sport I love.”
Fader began bowling at a young age because she grew up in a bowling family.
“My mom’s side bowled; her dad bowled, she bowls, my dad bowls, my brother bowled,” Fader said. “Everyone in my family has bowled at some point or another.”
As she grew older she learned of her high school’s bowling team and decided to compete at the interscholastic level.
“I started when I was 8 years old, just a regular Saturday league,” Fader said. “When I was 14 I found out my high school had a team and I said ‘you know what, I’ll try out for it,’ and I was pretty successful with that.”
She was indeed successful as a high school bowler. Fader qualified for individual state in her final three seasons, placed third in singles at states during her senior season, was the 2012 Macomb County’s Bowler of the Year, finished third at the Turbo Collegiate Expo 2011 and was a 2011 Junior Gold participant.
When it came time to decide on a college, Fader wanted a school that would give her a great education, because professional bowling was not her first choice for a career.
“I wanted to get a good education and I knew I wasn’t going to be bowling the rest of my career, so I had to pick the school that was going to be the best fit,” Fader said. “I honestly really didn’t tour any other schools, once I came here I kind of just knew. I knew they had a great nursing school and I figured any education I was going to get here was going to be a good one; that definitely figured into it.”
A nursing major spends a lot of time in the classroom, but Fader said her professors were very understanding and her classmates equally as helpful. It becomes most difficult during tournament weekends because the team is traveling and bowling from Thursday to Sunday.
“It probably gets the most difficult when we travel,” Fader said. “You’re at the bowling alley all day, by the time we get back to the hotel it’s about 5 or 6, have to factor in dinner some time. That’s when it gets most complicated and sometimes scheduling is an issue. Other than that, it’s taught me a lot about time management. There are times I didn’t do it well, but I’ve gotten better at it.”
Fader has also worked on her skills as a leader as she has moved into her senior year.
“I feel like I’ve taken on that (leadership) role a lot more,” Fader said. “Freshman year you’re kind of timid and getting used to everybody, you’re looking up to everybody else. Now it’s kind of everybody looking up to you, you kind of put a little bit more pressure on yourself to try and fill those roles. It’s always been a role that I've maintained but it’s gotten easier with the years.”
Highlights of Fader’s career include bowling 10 singles games as a freshman and rolling a high game of 211. As a junior she bowled in 17 traditional matches, starting 15 of those appearances. Her average for the season was third on the team at 185.7. Her career-best score of 225 was against Elmhurst at the Central Missouri Invitational that year.
When asked of her role on the team, Fader felt she is the one who keeps everyone in high spirits.
“I feel like I tend to be the goofy personality,” Fader said. “I try to keep everyone up in high spirits, I try not to get mad at myself which happens when you bowl sometimes; or when you play any sport and you’re not performing to where you want to be. It’s easy to get mad at yourself but you need to make sure that you’re not because any emotion can affect your team. I try, whether I’m in or out to joke around with people and keep people loose.”
Fader has plans to head back home after graduation and get a job in the medical field to help herself become a better nurse. She then wants to head to graduate school.
As far as bowling goes, Fader definitely wants to continue bowling even if just recreationally.
“The women’s tour in Michigan, where I’m from, they actually have a tournament so I want to participate in that, even if it’s just for fun,” Fader said. “Or I might just do leagues. I think ultimately it would be really cool to coach a high school team or something, but (I) definitely will have to have the time commitment for that.”
The Crusaders head to the Columbia 300 Music City Classic, Friday through Sunday.
Contact Lexi Nichols at email@example.com.