Penn-Trafford's Balas wins state bowling title
After going through the most amount of matches possible, Penn-Trafford sophomore Amanda Balas' confidence level at the lanes is sky high.
Last weekend, Balas went through the gauntlet at North Versailles Bowling Center in order to bring home the Pennsylvania individual bowling championship. Balas defeated top seed Chelsey Merklinger of Lancaster-Mennonite, 185-167, in the final round to bring home the title.
“There were a lot of thoughts going in my head. I was going into that match thinking I wasn't going to win just because how good I thought the other girl was,” Balas said. “Halfway through the last game, I realized I didn't miss any spares or any marks. I was actually close to being able to win.”
Balas competed at the state championships last season, finishing 12th.
This time around, she finished the qualifying round as the fourth seed after bowling a six-game total of 1,140. During the qualifying portion, Balas' best game came in the fourth game, when she bowled a 215.
She had no time to rest, as she had to face Serra Catholic's Hannah Schorr in the first round of the championship bracket. Balas defeated Schorr, 216-179.
As Balas' competitors continued to sit and rest, Balas moved on to defeat the third seed Jenn Fitt of Twin Valley, 185-176, in the quarterfinals.
The closest match for Balas came in the semifinals, where she defeated Lewisburg's Alexis Neuer 60-39 in a roll-off after the two were tied at 202 through 10 frames.
“I definitely think sitting out a couple of games wouldn't have benefited me,” Balas said. “When you sit out a couple of games, you just get out of what you are doing. All the games except for the first round were all very close, so I think that pushed me to step up my game a little bit more.”
Along with capturing a state championship this past Friday, Balas qualified for the Pennsylvania State USBC Finals, which will be held May 17 and 18 in Reading.
“I just need to go and throw the ball with the best of my ability,” Balas said. “Going to nationals, I know it's something that is very hard to qualify for. I'm just blessed to get into it this year and last.
“I think I have more of a mindset advantage to get into that before this happened to me. Now, I have 120 percent more confidence in my bowling going into nationals and any other tournament I'm getting into.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.