PERFECTLY POISED- Jaymin Wudkevich prepares to throw a ball during one of the final practice sessions before his team heads to Newfoundland next month.

Red Deer’s bowling youth head to the east coast

Two teams of three and an individual bowler from Red Deer’s Youth Bowling Council will be heading to Newfoundland to show off some skills soon.

Coaches Grace Escott and Nick Burlo said they are extremely proud of the group of youth heading to the east and that it has been a fun year.

The two teams are made up of a bantam, junior and senior bowler and both a boys’ team and girls’ team are going on the trip. The individual bowler, Emma Jean Ostrikoff, is a bantam bowler.

Jaymin Wudkevich, 16, said he has been bowling since he was three and can’t imagine not doing it. He is the senior on the boys’ combo team.

Wudkevich’s team mates are Brody Kopec and Dylan Smith. The girls’ team is made up of Ashley Bessett, Robin Forgues and Bailey Burge.

The girls on the combo team all say they are most excited for the trip because they have never been to Newfoundland and haven’t been so far from home to compete before.

“I have never been there and I want to see the sites and compete in what I love,” said Wudkevich.

The bowling season starts in September and runs through to April with tournaments and roll-offs at the very end.

“I’m excited for the kids, they’re great people and they get along wonderfully,” said Escott. She said she loves coaching because of the advancements and growth that she sees in the bowlers throughout the year.

“I feel like when I’m coaching I have something to contribute and it shows in the kids from beginning to end.”

Both coaches are extremely excited that their teams have made it to this point and are also looking forward to the trip for themselves. There are a total of seven youth going who range in age from 8-16.

“There’s quite a gap in the age range and the skill levels. Some of these kids have bowled their whole lives and this is the first year for some of the others,” said Escott.

The parents of the team mates are all very excited for the opportunity to travel with the sport. Some have said it’s an opportunity they didn’t get as a kid and they’re happy to see their children getting to do something like this.

Escott said she admires the kids for their dedication even with the bowling season being as long as it is at 32 weeks.

“After we won the zones tournament we practiced one or two days a week. The kids are very dedicated. They’re always here on time and fun to be around; it’s like our own little family,” said Escott.

Both Escott and Burlo recommend to families that they get their children involved in a team of some sort and Escott said how important movement is to children.

“We need to get our kids moving and bowling is just one fun and athletic thing that gets them out and doing something and gets the parents involved too,” said Escott.

Wudkevich and Escott both agree that being a part of the bowling team is a great way to meet new people. “I’ve been to so many tournaments and so I’ve made friends and I see the same people from game to game,” said Wudkevich.

Wudkevich also said that while he loves to win it’s also nice to see people that he only gets to see at tournaments.

“It’s tons of fun to bowl. I’ve been doing it for 13 years and keep coming back every Saturday.”

The team leaves for Newfoundland on May 4.

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com