For most athletes, beating Grandma wouldn’t be much of a challenge. For Jordan Bowman, it still can be.
Bowman is a sophomore at Columbus North, and she’s the lone high school bowler in the area still in action. On Saturday, she’ll compete in the Indiana High School Bowling (IHSB) regional at Kingpins Bowl in Seymour.
On any given day, however, Bowman can still lose to her grandmother.
Not that there’s any shame in that. Ruth Bohall has been a fixture at the Columbus Bowling Center for almost as long as the building has stood, and last April she was inducted into the Columbus USBC Hall of Frame. She is still one of the top bowlers in the Thursday night ladies’ league — and she’s still capable of showing her grandchildren who’s boss.
“I put it on them sometimes, and sometimes they put it on me,” Bohall said.
The intense competition within her family has prepared Bowman well for competition against others.
As a freshman, Bowman finished ninth in the IHSB sectional round, missing eighth place by a single pin. She thought her season was over, but then found out through a late phone call that she had qualified for the regional.
This time around, Bowman has higher expectations. She hopes to at least take the next step and move on to semistate, if not the state finals.
Rick Gearhart is in his first year coaching Columbus North, but he’s watched Bowman grow up at the alley and believes the sky is the limit for the sophomore this weekend and beyond.
“I think if she doesn’t win it, she’ll come in the top three,” Gearhart said of Bowman’s prospects on Saturday. “But I think she’s got a good chance of winning the regional.”
Bowman placed fifth at sectionals this year, posting a three-game series total of 507. That left her 11 pins back of the top four bowlers, who advanced into the step ladder that determined the individual champion.
She’s hoping to fare even better this weekend, and she’s got plenty of reason to be confident. In addition to her own skills and years of experience, Bowman can also lean on the wisdom of Bohall, who offers up tips before and after throws through a series of hand signals.
Sometimes it’s something as simple as suggesting a move a few inches to one side or the other “so I can get in the pocket just right,” Bowman explained.
Eventually, Bowman hopes to be able to compete at the collegiate level — and then, perhaps, on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. In the meantime, she’ll mix it up with the best high school bowlers the state has to offer.
Having already proven she can hang with her grandmother, Bowman’s not afraid of anyone.
“When I bowled them, I never let them beat me,” Bohall said of her children and grandchildren. “They had to beat me. And they did. They all did, and I’m very proud.”
What size ball do you use? I throw a 15 (pounds).
Favorite food at the bowling alley: I’d have to say it’s the chicken tenders and the chips that they always serve.
Phone app you can’t live without: That’s hard. I’m going to go with Instagram.
Favorite athlete: I’d have to say my favorite athlete is my grandma (Ruth Bohall).
If you could go 10 frames with anyone, dead or alive: Maybe bowl with Jason Belmonte. He’s a two-handed bowler, and he’s from Australia.
In five years, I hope to be: Graduating from college and hopefully into the PBA.