Over the past seven years, Rhiannon Davis has learned everything there is to know about bowling.
Davis, 17, is in his final year of Campbell County High School. She became interested in the sport after seeing her stepfather, Ben Webster, bowling in Camelanes.
There isn’t a test Davis couldn’t pass in terms of understanding the sport. She owns 12 or 14 bowling balls – a number she and her mom Shana Webster can’t agree on.
Davis learned to study oil patterns and calculate every stroke in his head before throwing the ball into the lane. Perhaps more importantly, she learned to control her emotions throughout a game.
The 17-year-old also learned to control her many superstitions. Some superstitions are more universal than others, like how you never talk to a bowler who is on a serious strike streak.
But Davis’ superstitions go even further. She is obsessed with wearing the right combination of jewelry during a tournament and she must have two matching black socks separating her toes from her dark black shoes.
His most serious superstition is never to bowling when there is a game of slots on both lanes next to his own.
“It’s just bad luck,” Davis said.
“Especially when one of them is a 7-10 split,” Ben said.
Wyoming is one of 31 states where bowling is not an official high school sport, according to bowl.com. With no team to join in Campbell County, Davis instead participated in the sport through regular and travel leagues as well as local and statewide tournaments.
In November, Davis won the State Women’s Scratch Championship at the Wyoming State Youth Tournament in Casper. She also finished first in the girls’ scratch, third in the doubles scratch and third in the team scratch.
This year, Davis won her fourth straight state title and qualified her for the junior gold championships in Michigan in July.
The Junior Gold Championships is an annual national tournament for the country’s top male and female bowlers and features eight divisions including U12 boys, U12 girls, U15 boys, U15 girls, U18 boys, U18 girls, and U18 boys. U20 and U20 girls.
Davis has qualified for the national championships every year she is in high school. This year, it will be his third participation in the event. Davis qualified in 2020 but the event was canceled due to COVID-19.
More than just a game
Davis believes bowling is 90% mental and 10% physical. The sport opened up opportunities for her that she wouldn’t otherwise have, including scholarships and the chance to impress college coaches at the national tournament.
His ultimate goal is to play bowling at the college level. Currently, Davis has five colleges on his list of possible destinations after graduating from high school, including Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, Clark University, Coe College, and Mount Mercy University in Iowa. and Oklahoma Christian University.
With no high school bowling alley in the state, Davis has traveled countless miles in the past seven years to compete in tournaments. It makes her even more grateful to have the attention of a handful of college coaches.
“I’m just thankful they even looked at me,” Davis said. “There aren’t any competitions even near my home for them to come and watch, so I’m just thankful that these coaches really opened their eyes to say, ‘Hey, even though she’s from a small town in the Wyoming, she’s here and she’s talented. ‘”
Davis’ career high is a 258. While it is always nice to have high scores, the most important recipe for success in a tournament like the Junior Gold Championships is consistency.
The tournament is an eight-day marathon starting with four days of training and ending with four consecutive days of games where athletes compete for the most bowling. Davis will compete in the U18 division.
“You have to know that you’re not always going to throw the best game, but I want to be consistent,” said Davis. “I want to have a good performance and I want to show how much I’ve improved over the past three years.”
The most important factor in being a regular bowler is controlling the emotions that accompany both good and bad results, Davis said.
“Anyone can go down the lane and throw the ball and hit pins,” said Davis. “But there are so many things you don’t think about. … If you throw a bad ball and you throw it into a fit, you will keep throwing bad balls.
“I used to do that. I admit it when I was younger. But then I learned that reactions are more important than how you do.
Not just a bowler
Davis grew up playing several sports, but recently narrowed the list to bowling and softball. She is also section chief of clarinet in the CCHS Marching Band.
Bowling isn’t the only sport she’s won a state championship in. Davis was part of the Campbell County softball team that won the state’s first-ever high school state championship last spring.
“They are definitely special for their own reasons,” Davis said.
While Davis enjoys the team aspect of softball, the individual aspect of bowling is one of his favorite parts of the game. The sport teaches responsibility and taking responsibility for mistakes because there is no no one else to blame but yourself for a poor performance, said Davis.
As for the bowling environment itself, Davis feels a certain wave of peace every time she throws the ball towards the pins.
“At the end of your approach, you just find yourself sitting there watching your ball come down the lane,” Davis said. “It’s always so calm in your head. It is peaceful.
Davis’s goal is to put Wyoming on the map with a strong performance. To do this, she will need to pack a lot of jewelry and matching black socks to take with her on a trip.
The Junior Gold Championships will be played July 15-23 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.