Sarnia teen makes her mark in bowling

Rachel McGrath wears the bronze medal she recently won at the Rogers Cup in Barrie, Ont. Barry Wright

A 17-year-old from Sarnia, who has been bowling from the age of three, is rising in the ranks.

Rachel McGrath is ranked 5th in Ontario in her U21 age group and 38th nationally in all age groups.

Her average is 190, a seven pin increase from last season.

“My whole family bowls,” she said.  “My dad managed bowling centres in Toronto, so when we moved to Sarnia, I (naturally) got into bowling.”

The Grade 11 SCITS student ended the season in April by capturing a bronze medal in the team event at the nationally televised Rogers Cup in Barrie, Ont. She also just missing a bronze at the provincial championships, despite being severely ill all weekend.

McGrath actually had the top score at the provincials but was dropped to fourth when handicaps were taken into consideration.

Her handicap was nearly 70 pins lower than most of the other competitors.

McGrath qualified first among girls and second overall at the Team Canada qualifying tournament in April, but came up short at the national trails in her bid to make Team Canada.

“I didn’t do the best,” she conceded.  “But it was a great experience.”

After competing on the Youth Bowling Tour with the top juniors in the province she drew the attention of U.S. college recruiters, with schools in Iowa and Kentucky considering her for a scholarship.

She finished the season with a high single score of 289 at her home lanes at Marcin Bowl, and a high series of 709.

The latter has only been done a handful of times by women in the Sarnia area, she said.

McGrath will practice three or four times a week at Port Huron Lanes this summer in preparation for the new fall season.

 – Barry Wright