Morning Star Staff
The kids are carrying on a family tradition while attending Youth Bowling Council (YBC) Nationals will be a first for their coach.
The Lincoln Lanes duo of Sierra Merry and Lily Fiset, coached by Peggy Hoggard, will represent B.C. at the first YBC bantam girls doubles National Championships May 6-9 in Calgary. The bantam team event used to feature four players per team.
Merry, from Salmon Arm, and Lavington’s Fiset won the provincial title in Kamloops though both were blissfully unaware they had become B.C. champions.
“I knew we had bowled decent but my mouth kind of dropped when my mom told me,” said Merry, 10, a Grade 5 student at Salmon Arm’s Bastion Elementary whose mom, Tamara Carlson, attended YBC Nationals three times as a competitor, including one at the same lanes – Chinook Centre – her daughter and Fiset will be competing at.
Added Fiset, 10, a Grade 5 student at Lavington Elementary, upon finding out she and her partner were off to nationals: “I fell on the ground. I thought my dad (Mike) was joking when he told me.”
Fiset – whose brother, Drew, has gone to the last two YBC national finals – is a right-hander who carries a 146 average. Merry, also a righty, is 10 pins higher at 156 but each complements the other in their third year together.
Two years ago, their team made it to zones. Last year, they advanced to provincials. This year, the goal was to win and advance to nationals.
“Lily is great to bowl with because she’s funny and she makes me feel better when I’m not bowling great,” said Merry of her teammate, who is equal in her praise of her good friend.
“Sierra makes me feel more confident when I bowl,” said Fiset. “I can talk to her and she makes me feel better if I’m feeling sad about my score.”
The girls are quick to credit coach Hoggard, and her kindness and ability to let the girls have fun.
Hoggard, 52, has been bowling for 17 years, but only picked up the game as an adult. The only YBC Nationals she has attended was as a parent when her son, Keith, qualified.
“I’m really excited,” said Hoggard, who loves coaching her protegés. “They are wonderful kids. They work hard, have great personalities and are very coachable.”
Besides the competition, both girls are looking forward to their first airplane rides as they head to nationals.
“I don’t care what place we come, I’m proud to have made it this far,” said Merry.
The girls will team with Abbotsford boys in mixed play.