Nanaimo’s Jennifer Park never left a single pin standing, so she’s a national champion, once again.
Park, who bowls out of Splitsville Entertainment, won the Bowling World Cup Canadian National Championship on March 27 in Brandon, Man.
She made a last-minute decision to attend nationals – she works at a tax office, so the timing wasn’t ideal – but as soon as she got there she was on top of her game.
Bowling 16 games over the two days, Park scored better than any other man or woman at the event, averaging 240.
“Which was incredible,” said the left-hander. “I just had really good shots and seemed to not miss.”
After going undefeated through the round robin, Park was finally defeated by five pins in the finals by Calgary’s Felicia Wong, defending champion.
But it was a double knockout format, so the two played an immediate rematch. Wong made a mistake in the ninth frame, leaving the seven pin standing, so Park needed only a spare in the 10th frame to clinch the championship.
“Then, of course, the thought goes through your mind, ‘Well, she missed one, are you going to miss one, too?’” Park said. “But I hadn’t missed one the whole weekend, so I wasn’t too concerned.”
The final score was 226-216, meaning a second World Cup Canadian title for Park, who also won in 2008. She has finished in the top three five straight years.
“I’m a competitive person by nature,” she said. “I like to excel and I like to be on top of the game. It’s not always going to happen but if it can, then that’s great.”
She gets lots of chances in the coming months to bowl against the very best.
She had to decline a berth in the world championships in Hong Kong this summer, as her third child is due at the end of July, but after that, the baby will come bowling with her.
Park is so valuable to Canada’s national team that the Canadian Olympic Committee has arranged for her to bring along her infant and a caregiver to the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October.
Compared to that experience, Park said, it should be a breeze travelling with the child to Johannesburg, South Africa at the end of November for the World Cup championships.
“There are still a few events that I would like to have medalled in,” said Park. “Of course gold would be the ultimate, but just medalling in any of the events at world level would be a treat.”
Certainly she brings experience to any competition she enters. Park’s parents used to run Nanaimo’s Evergreen Lanes, so she started rolling pins down the lane at age five.
It’s amazing where a bowling lane can lead.
“I’ve seem some pretty cool things that I probably would never have seen otherwise,” said Park.