Sometimes, life has a funny way of working itself out.
And for Kayleigh Coriell, her educational wants and needs — and her hopes to participate in the sport of bowling — all worked out on one special occasion on Friday afternoon.
Coriell, who has participated in the sport of bowling outside of her regular school life at Valley High School in Lucasville, signed to play for Bryan Sturgill’s program at Shawnee State University.
For the senior bowling hand, the opportunity to play for, and help solidify, the Shawnee State bowling program is one that Coriell doesn’t take for granted.
“It’s a very special honor to be here locally,” Coriell said. “I wanted to stay here locally, so I was going to let the bowling just slide away and go to Shawnee State. However, when Shawnee State started up the bowling team this school year, the opportunity to play at Shawnee State opened up for me.”
However, it’s an opportunity that Coriell has certainly earned — especially considering the circumstances that have surrounded her development in the game of bowling.
While most student-athletes in the sport have participated through their own high school umbrellas, Coriell didn’t have that luxury — because Valley, like most schools in the Tri-State Area, does not have a bowling program to call its own.
However, Coriell, knowing that fact, didn’t let her passion fall by the wayside.
In fact, the senior kept working toward that goal. After starting out at City Limits in New Boston, Coriell moved to Portsmouth’s Sunset Lanes and even Chillicothe’s Shawnee Lanes in order to improve her bowling acumen. That work currently has the senior sitting at a bowling average of 180, which means that the future Bear is knocking down at least 60 percent of all pins available per 10 frames.
“I started out at City Limits, then transferred over to Sunset Lanes,” Coriell said. “I bowled in a couple of leagues there, and then I transferred up to Chillicothe to bowl up at Shawnee Lanes, which really helped me out. In addition to bowling at Shawnee Lanes, I still bowl at Sunset on a weekly basis.”
At each of those facilities, Coriell has improved her game to a point where the senior has participated in bowling leagues and tournaments. In fact, Coriell, who plans to become an intervention specialist after her graduation from Shawnee State, was able to bowl with the team, where the senior was able to establish a further rapport with her future teammates — a huge deal considering that the 2018 Valley High School graduate wanted to stay close to her hometown.
“I wasn’t a fan of going away for college,” Coriell said. “I wanted to stay here locally. Everybody close to me is around here, and Shawnee State has the degree that I’m going into, so I wanted to stay here. When I went down to the opening tryouts for the bowling program, all of the bowlers that were on the team this year were like, ‘Man, you haven’t graduated yet? I wish you could bowl this year! We sure do need you.’ That made me sad that I couldn’t bowl with them this year, but I’m grateful for that opportunity beginning this winter.”
Coriell, however, doesn’t want to just be on the bowling team for a matter of appearance. In fact, when she gets to the Shawnee State University campus, she wants to show the amount of work ethic that she has put in through the game of bowling.
“Here at school, especially, we went on a couple of bowling trips,” Coriell said. “They all think that bowling is just throwing a ball down a lane, and that’s how you do it, but it’s not that easy. It takes a very long time to be able to perfect your form and your throwing motion, and it’s always going to take a consistent work ethic in order to keep those qualities of your game intact. Here lately, I have been working on getting my form right so I can improve my score, because if my form’s good during tournament play, (the rest of my game) will be good enough to get the score that we need.”
But regardless of what Coriell shoots per frame, having her family and friends to experience the ride along with her is a dream in and of itself.
“It’s been a journey, but it’s been an awesome journey with my family and friends supporting me,” Coriell said. “It’s incredible to think that I will be able to bowl at the collegiate level. Again, I wasn’t planning on continuing with my career. I was just going to bowl on the side on Friday nights or whenever I was able to. It’s exciting. I’m very excited to bowl for Shawnee State.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @KColleyPDT