Brooklyn, NY -- It was a slew of remarkable performances over the bowling season that led junior Amelia Tonyes to the prestigious USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska this past April.
For Amelia, the singles experience could be summed up in three adjectives: “excited, anxious and ready.” And to compliment those feelings she had equipped herself with three goals to boot. “Find an area on the lane to make good shots, be able to make spares, and get spares.”
And when you average a score of 210 at nationals, that pretty much is a lock for huge things to come. In Tonyes' case, good things certainly came.
But the prodigious presentations of bowling finesse at sectionals and nationals were launched when she was younger. “My earliest memories were wanting to skip elementary school to be in the bowling alley. My mother bowled in a women's league and I would love to watch her. I got involved with leagues and had a lot of help from people who worked at the alley.”
Despite just missing the round of four at nationals, falling just shy of holding up the hardware, Tonyes knows that her performances in Pennsylvania and Nebraska are something she is keenly proud of. “At sectionals I averaged about 210 and qualified for nationals, coming in second place out of 116 girls from all different states.”
In order to replicate her brilliant hurling, she had to zone in. “I told myself to just focus and be consistent. I knew my game and I knew that it was all a matter of duplicating good shots and making spares. I felt unstoppable by the end if this tournament even though I still had not even looked at any scoreboard. I did not know how the rest of the girls were doing I just knew I did my best and it turned out that it sent me to Nebraska.”
Becoming this consistent and this first–class in a challenging sport doesn't come without its challenges of course. Preserving comfy grades and making the de rigueur transfer from a two–year school, would presumably launch a student athlete into sweat and tears. But amazingly, this hasn't appeared to be the case for Amelia, as she continues to hold it all in place.
“Yes I have this undeniably strong love for bowling, but school always comes first for me. I personally need to do well in the classroom and hold it together off the lanes, otherwise I'd be a mess in a game. I have high expectations and I work very hard for my grades because I feel they represent who I am as a person and what I have to offer.”
In addition to making the grade, the borough switch from Long Island to Brooklyn was a breath of fresh air. “I am form Long Island which is a complete 180 from life in Brooklyn. I t was an amazing change in location and schooling. If anything, the change made me stronger but attending Suffolk Community College was a stepping stone I needed to lead me where I am today. I am thrilled about St. Francis, how personable the faculty is, and I feel at home.”
Tonyes, the Terriers' 2011-2012 Female Athlete of the Year, let us in on two secrets of hers, in putting up the numbers. She revealed candidly that bowling through the years has blessed her with a painstaking desire for perfection. And to top it off, it (bowling) transcends life itself.
“What I like about bowling is the feeling I get when I roll a nearly perfect strike. It is purely mystical and keeps me striving to re-experience that shot. Spares are crucial. Bowling is challenging and it makes me feel alive.”
What isn't so much of a secret, like most top-notch athletes, the craving for a winning edge has its roots in wanting what you want and getting it. “To be at this level in my bowling career took many years of hard work, dedication, and heart. This sport is my biggest passion and I have put so much into preparing on the lanes and even, off the lanes. I have spent hours, holidays, birthdays, in bowling alleys practicing, competing in leagues/tournaments, and always soaking in knowledge of the sport.
One of the things that you look for in all successful athletes and team players is precisely what Tonyes admits here. “I am open to new strategies yet I always have a game plan of my own when I step onto the lanes.”
A game plan which includes a future career as a math teacher. For Tonyes, it's all about the numbers.