Salisbury youth bowling for dollars

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

By Glenn Hudson
For the Salisbury Post
Finding creative ways to pay for college is one of the biggest hurdles students face these days as they seek a higher education. To that end, a group of Salisbury students are working on bowling their way to college.
There are 70 Rowan County youth between the ages of seven and 17 participating in the Scholarship League at Woodleaf Lanes.
Each of them has a portion of league fees deposited into a college savings account every time they bowl.
The Scholarship League is part of the United States Bowling Congress’ Smart Program, which offers more than $6 million in scholarships each year through various bowling associations, councils, select tournaments and even private businesses.
Brittany Milby, 17, a senior at Salisbury High School, and Stephanie Sigmon, 17, a junior at West Rowan High School, are both veterans of the Scholarship League and are part of a handful of local teenagers that are good enough to bowl in college.
Currently four colleges in North Carolina offer bowling scholarships, including North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina Central University, Fayetteville State University and Winston-Salem State University. There are dozens of colleges throughout the country that offer scholarships as well.
Milby, who maintains a 180 bowling average as well as a 3.3 grade point average, wants to become a radiologist. She knows bowling can help her get there.
“Bowling has helped me out a lot,” said Milby, who is in her fifth year of competitive bowling. “I enjoy the competitiveness of it.
“It’s a physical activity, but the mental aspect of the sport is a lot more important than people think.”
Milby and Brooke Baucom, 17, of East Rowan High School, are actively being recruited by college scouts. But several other bowlers, including Sigmon and Salisbury High School freshman Jay Hargrove, who carries a 234 average, have the skills necessary to compete at the next level.
For Sigmon, bowling has always been a family activity. Her parents met through bowling. Now she has a chance to take the family hobby and use it to get a college degree. She carries a 190 average and a 3.9 GPA. She’s definitely good enough to get the attention of college scouts. Regardless, bowling is an activity that helps her deal with the stresses of everyday life.
“Bowling is kind of calming,” said Sigmon, who has been bowling for approximately seven years. “If I’m in a bad mood, I can go to the bowling alley and just blow off steam.”
Susan Milby, Brittany’s mother and a volunteer coach for the program, said there is a great deal of money available for scholarships, especially for female bowlers.
The Scholarship League is administered by Vivian Hoffman, the youth director at Woodleaf Lanes.
The League has two 15-week sessions, one in the fall and one in the spring.