The term “gym rat” is often used when describing a young basketball player who spends a lot of time in the gym working on his game.
Wayland freshman Kadence Bottrall, then, would be an alley rat. Or would that be alley (Wild)cat?
Whatever the case, the bottom line is this: Bottrall has spent countless hours at bowling allies, and the results speak for themselves.
After leading the OK Gold/Green Conference in average with a 203, Bottrall went on to finish runner-up at regionals and post the highest score in the qualifying round at the Division 2 state finals.
And while she suffered a loss in the first match of head-to-head play at the finals, she garnered
First Team All-State honors nonetheless to cap off her first high school campaign on a high note.
Bottrall’s father Eric had a close-up view of his daughter’s success this season as he was in his first year as coach for the Wildcats after a 13-year stint at Caledonia.
“I was very proud of how well Kadence did this year as a freshman,” Eric Bottrall said. “I knew she had the ability to be one of the highest average girls in the area. She has been preparing herself for this moment for quite some time.”
More specifically, Kadence Bottrall has been preparing since she was two years old.
That’s how old she was when she first took up the sport before joining the youth league at Spectrum Lanes—where Eric Bottrall was serving as manager—when she was five.
“She would hang out at the bowling center all the time when I worked there,” Eric Bottrall said. “She practices all the time.”
And Kadence Bottrall competes all over the country, including at the Jr. Gold Nationals the past five years. At last year’s Jr. Gold Nationals in Detroit, she finished 32nd.
In addition, she bowls in the MJMA and NWIJTPA bowling tours.
“They are both very prestigious and well-known tours that have some of the best youth in the country bowling in them,” Eric Bottrall said. “They put out very difficult lane conditions to prepare the kids to compete against the best of the best in the country. She bowls in these events throughout the whole year.”
On a more local level, Kadence Bottrall bowls in a Tuesday league run by her father and bowls at Spectrum Lanes on Saturday mornings.
Given her background in the sport, it was no surprise that Kadence Bottrall was a leader for Wayland despite being a freshman.
“She has been a big assist to our high school team, as she recruited kids to come out and bowl for our school and to bowl in my after-school league,” Eric Bottrall said. “She was a great leader on her team and was very helpful to her teammates. She worked with all of her teammates by showing them how to do drills and gave advice how to play the lanes. She was a mentor to the ladies on the team.
“She was more worried about how well they were doing then worrying about her own stats. She loves bowling with a team.”
As a team, Wayland joined Kadence Bottrall at the state finals thanks to a second-place showing at regionals.
The trip to the finals proved a bit costly to Eric Bottrall … not that he minded.
“I made a bet with my ladies if we made the state finals, I would get the team a limo ride,” he said.
Individually, Kadence Bottrall also placed second at regionals in a field of 98 bowlers.
The team portion of the state finals took place on Friday, March 6, with Wayland placing 17th with a total of 2,523 during the qualifying round that consisted of eight Baker games and two match-play games. The top eight teams advanced.
“Our ladies team had a tough day as we have a very young team,” Eric Bottrall said. “But they gained a valuable lesson and want to be back next season. I have faith they can get back.”
Kadence Bottrall, meanwhile, competed in the individual portion of the state finals the next day along with sophomore teammate Bella Harnish.
And with a six-game total of 1,202, Kadence Bottrall posted the highest score in the 60-player field.
Harnish placed 51st at 929. The top 16 players advanced.
“Kadence had a tremendous day,” Eric Bottrall said. “She was very consistent and seemed very relaxed and was having fun. She loves to bowl and you could see it while she was bowling that day. She never once asked where she was in the standings, but had her eyes set to make the top 16.”
In the opening round of the head-to-head play, Kadence Bottrall squared off with Romulus Summitt Academy North senior Arshay Scott. Kadence Bottrall fell behind 206-168 after the first game, and while she rallied for a 199-174 edge in the second game, it wasn’t enough to avoid the 380-367 loss.
“The match with Arshay Scott was very intense,” Eric Bottrall said. “Kadence put herself behind with two early opens. She just didn’t get enough breaks to get back into the match, but she fought very hard to the last frame. I was very proud of her performance and know she will learn and grow from this experience.”
And while she had three years of high school bowling still in front of her, Kadence Bottrall is already thinking about life behind high school.
“She would love to bowl in college and win a Jr. Gold National Title,” Eric Bottrall said.
Kadence Bottrall is scheduled to compete in the Jr. Gold Nationals in Las Vegas in July.