Bowling Down the Right Lane

Santaluces’ junior Leeann Lent has been ranked 27 in the nation for bowling.

Walking in her father’s footsteps, Leeann Lent has been bowling since she was two years old. Now, as a junior in high school, she has turned those steps into strides and has bowled her way to the top, ranking  27th in the nation.

Lent’s passion for bowling really began in seventh grade when she took her first lessons at Greenacres Bowling Alley. Now, she receives lessons at Verdes Tropicana Bowl  from her bowling teacher, Tom Relich, and from her true bowling inspiration, her father, Murl Lent. Lent’s father has been bowling since he was in his early teens. He’s won tournaments, bowled in major leagues, and even met Lent’s mother in a bowling alley, marrying her years later on the same lane they met on. Along with her sister, brother, sister- in- law and nephews who bowl as well, it’s no wonder that bowling is in Leeann Lent’s blood.

“When it comes to bowling, I get really competitive,” said Lent. “I love the competition and the pressure that comes along with it; it urges me to do better and win.”

Freshman year, Lent joined the Santaluces bowling team and with great skill and hours of dedication, she quickly became captain of the team of five the following year. According to bowling coach, Coach T, it was a “no brainer” making her captain because of the leadership and bowling skills she exemplified.

“My responsibilities as captain are a lot bigger than people think,” said Lent. “I have to decide who’s getting taken out of each game, and I have to get the team pumped up in a positive mood for the day’s match, because if our attitude is bad, then we bowl bad, which may cost us the game.”

In July, Lent entered the Teen Masters bowling competition, a nationwide high school championship event where about 420 high school students compete for scholarships. This year, the competition was conveniently held in the state of Florida, so Lent didn’t have to travel very far. Even though the watchful eyes of the audience and competitors became stressful at times, she came out on top with a rank of 27 in the girls division.

“I wasn’t happy with the rank that I got,” said Lent. “It’s low for me, but it is better than last place.”

Not only has Lent made a name for herself nationally, but locally as well. She recently bowled a near perfect score of 290 (out of 300) in a game against archrival, Park Vista. Though her score alone wasn’t enough to beat them, her teammates were extremely proud of her great accomplishment.

“She has a groove that she follows and we’ll keep winning with her,” said teammate Kimberly Napier, a junior. “She’s also a great friend and is always there for you.”

In the future, Lent plans on going to Wichita State University to major in nursing or University of Pikeville to live her dream of becoming a professional female bowler.

“I plan on becoming a professional female bowler in hopes of one day winning the USBC Queens and the Women’s US Open,” said Lent. “Another one of my dreams is to bowl tournaments internationally for Team USA to represent our country.