11-year-old bowler rolls 300 game at Spanish Springs Lanes
By NICOLE SACK, DAILY SUN
THE VILLAGES — Age is nothing but a number, some say. But when an 11-year-old bowls a 300 game, those digits suddenly become more significant.
Anastasia Albright of Belleview joined the elite group of “perfect game” bowlers on May 23. That afternoon, she began throwing strike after strike after strike — 12 total — at Spanish Springs Lanes. Just those few weeks ago, Anastasia was 11 years old.
And no, this was not kiddie “bumper” bowling. Anastasia earned each strike the hard way — by barreling a 14-pound ball squarely down the lane.
“I was just feeling really good that day,” the Villages Charter School student said.
Soon her series of smashing strikes was drawing the attention of bowlers in nearby lanes. Sonny Cave, Spanish Springs Lanes bowler and employee, stopped his own game when he saw Anastasia had reached five straight strikes. He wanted to see if she would get an “emu,” which is six strikes in a row.
“She got it and kept going,” Cave said. “They were all good strikes. I was glad to see her do it.”
Lana Albright said she began to get nervous as her daughter surpassed her previous benchmark of seven straight strikes.
“I just sat there and watched; I was afraid to break her attention,” Lana Albright said. “But I knew that she was going to do better than she had ever before.”
Ben Chauvin, who has worked as head mechanic at Spanish Springs Lanes for nearly 10 years, said he stopped in his tracks when he saw the automatic scoreboard with the mounting collection of strikes. He said the celebration following Anastasia’s accomplishment also was a show-stopper.
“I thought she was going to drop her mother to the floor when she ran up and hugged her. And she screamed so loud, you couldn’t miss it,” Chauvin said. “I was so excited for her. Now that she knows she can do it, she’ll do it again.”
A copy of Anastasia’s milestone score is hanging at the lanes.
Anastasia, who turned 12 two days after achieving the feat, might be young, but she is no neophyte bowler.
She began bowling when she was 8 years old, her mother said. The youngster used “bumpers,” which block gutter balls, for about two months, but then insisted they be removed. About the same time, the Albrights were introduced to Jack Schmid, who has been Anastasia’s bowling coach since then.
Schmid has been a Silver Certified Coach with the United States Bowling Congress since 1980. While he has coached thousands during the past 29 years, he said Anastasia is “by far” the most naturally talented student he has worked with.
“The great part about coaching her is that she is willing to listen,” the Village of Woodbury resident said. “Also, she is amazing to watch. She is so smooth, and her execution is perfect. She can throw the ball down the lane at 17 miles per hour.”
Before Anastasia’s 300 game, her highest-held bowling score was 258, Schmid said.
In addition to rolling a mean bowling ball, Anastasia is a pitcher with the Belleview Dixie Girls softball team.
Anastasia has competed on a state level at the USBC Youth Tournament for the past four years, Albright said. Now that she is 12 years old, she is eligible to qualify for national competitions.
Schmid said besides earning her accolades, he hopes that Anastasia’s bowling talents will earn the soon-to-be sixth-grader a college scholarship.
Anastasia, who practices at least once a week, shared her tips for better bowling.
“Be relaxed,” she said. “And focus on hitting the arrows (on the lane).”
As for the dreaded 7-10 split, she recommends that bowlers “try to hit just one pin,” then hope for the best.
Nicole Sack is a reporter with the Daily Sun. She can be reached at 753-1119, ext. 9245, or firstname.lastname@example.org