A previous trip to the state bowling tournament fueled in Veronyca West a desire to claim a state championship for Marcus High School in 2023.
And that is exactly what she did this past March.
The Marcus senior defeated Frisco’s Tori Franklin by a score of 204-191, and in so doing, accomplished one of the major goals of her high school bowling career.
“I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams,” West said. “I went into the tournament telling myself I was going to win, because two years prior, I had gotten the third-fourth place finish. The year before that, I didn’t even go to state, because I didn’t have enough games to advance. This year I told myself that I was going to do it, and it was so fulfilling and amazing to do.”
West, 18, hammered her way toward the state championship match with victories over LaPorte’s Kayla Ludwig, Lake Ridge’s Kyrah Durham and Allen’s Clara Campbell.
In the finals, though competing at a high level, West had no clue she had won until after the final frame.
“Whenever I’m bowling, I don’t look at the score— ever,” West said. “It distracts me from what I’m doing, so I didn’t know that I had actually won until Tori came up to me and hugged and congratulated me.”
It has been quite the journey for West, who credits a family member for introducing her to the sport she loves.
“It was my grandfather,” West said. “He bowled before I was even born in a league, and from what I’ve heard, he was pretty good. I’ve never actually seen him bowl with anything other than just house bowling balls, but he is the reason that I started bowling.”
West’s average score has increased roughly 100 points since her freshman year of high school, from 100 points to 200, and she only started competing in the sport her freshman year of high school.
Besides the competition, there is a social aspect to bowling that the Marcus senior thoroughly enjoys.
“All of my friends do it,” West said. “Everybody travels together. We get to travel the nation, all of us, and visit different restaurants and go sight-seeing. Those are some of my biggest draws staying in it, but I just love the sport. I love the camaraderie and competition, and we’re like a family.”
West is headed to Mount Mercy University in Iowa on a bowling scholarship where she already has an idea about what she would like to study.
“Initially, I looked at the school because they have one of the top women’s programs in the country,” West said. “But they also have a great psychology program, and they have one of the best coaches in the world (Andy Diercks). He’s a Team USA assistant coach.
“And then once we toured the campus, I fell in love with it. It was beautiful. I love the city that it’s
in, Cedar Rapids, and then all of the staff and students were very nice and welcoming. I can really see myself fitting in there.”
Also a member of the choir and student council at Marcus High School, West said that bowling has been an integral part of her high school experience, while also teaching her a lot about herself.
“It has made me a lot more confident,” West said. “It’s given me a place where I can fit in. I’ve been in choir for a very long time, and I used to feel like that was my place. Then once I got to high school it felt a little bit off. Bowling made me feel like I had a purpose again. It made me feel like I could do something with my life that would better me and the people around me as well. I just love it.”
Favorite Athlete: Kelly Kulick
Favorite Subject: Math
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Movie: 10 Things I Hate About You
Favorite TV Show: Gray’s Anatomy
Last Book Read: The Inner Game of Tennis
Favorite Musical Group or Performer: Panic! At The Disco