Lukas Rachwalski knew it was a good delivery as he heard his dad and coach, Trevor, yelling ‘Yup, Yup,’ with his final ball of the Youth Bowling Canada provincial championships in the Lower Mainland.
When Rachwalski knocked down the pins to give he and partner Reece Chisholm, from Vernon’s Lincoln Lanes, the B.C. Bantam Boys team title to earn a spot in the national finals this weekend at Neb’s Funworld in Oshawa, Ont., they high-fived each other.
Then Rachwalski did what any excited kid would do—he jokingly rubbed it in for his dad, who had never gone to any national finals as a 33-year competitor.
“I just looked at him and said ‘na-na,’ then hugged him because I knew we were going to nationals together,” said Rachwalski, 10, a Grade 4 student at Coldstream Elementary, who carries a 127 average into the national finals.
“It’s super exciting that he and I get to go together.”
Rachwalski, son and father, and Chisholm will be joined in Oshawa by Lincoln Junior Boys B.C. team champions Alex Kazimer and Nolan Blaeser, and Lincoln’s B.C. Junior Boys Singles champ Zakk Hamilton.
The five kids along with coaches Trevor Rachwalski and Kara Kazimer, and their families leave Friday.
For Chisholm, 10, a righthander with a 155 average in Grade 5 at Harwood Elementary, it’s a second straight trip to the YBC nationals.
He went last year as a bantam singles champion to Regina and placed sixth in the country.
“I’m pretty excited to be going back (to nationals),” said Chisholm.
“I had a lot of fun last year’s. It’s entertaining. I’m confident Lukas and I can do well. Hopefully, we finish in the top three.”
Coach Rachwalski—who missed out by two points in late April on going to adult nationals as a player—is just as giddy as his proteges.
“I’m very excited. It’s going to be fun,” said Rachwalski, 37.
“They’re a very good team. They complement each other well. Together, they bowl unbelievably well. I think they can do quite well at nationals.”
Excited as they are at returning to the nationals, both Blaeser and Kazimer wished they were heading somewhere else.
Four years ago, the duo were on the Lincoln Lanes B.C. Bantam Boys championship team that made it to nationals—in Oshawa—and won silver.
“I just wanted to go someplace different,” joked Blaeser, 14, a Grade 8 Vernon Secondary School student who carries a 190 average.
“I hope we win gold this time. I had a great time four years ago. I liked everything about nationals. Bowling against the other teams and provinces, the bus rides to and from the lanes, the opening and closing ceremonies.
Kazimer, 15, a Grade 9 student at Seaton with a 186 average, says he and Blaeser bowl really well together. Their mindset heading into provincials was ‘if we win, great. If not, it’s OK.’
But that changed after the opening day when they realized they had a chance to take gold.
“On the first day, we won five out of five and we realized ‘we could do this,’” said Kazimer. “Next day, we lost one which put us in a tiebreaker and we went out and won that game for gold. It was a nice feeling to do it (win provincials) again.”
Coach Kazimer said the relationship with her son changes to one of coach-athlete at the lanes.
“When we’re bowling, I’m the coach and he’s the player. Away from the lanes, it’s mom and son,” said Kara Kazimer. “I’m so happy for both of these boys. I hope they get gold. And same for Zakk.”
Hamilton, 14, in Grade 8 at Fulton with a 189 average, began bowling seven years ago at the recommendation of a friend. Winning a provincial title and going to nationals with friends Blaeser and Kazimer has Hamilton excited.
“It feels pretty good,” said Hamilton, who will have a Team B.C. coach helping him in Oshawa. His goal at nationals is simple:
“Don’t get mad,” he said. “If something happens, forget about it and just go on. It’s just one ball in one game.”