In addition to being tons of fun, this bowling season has been a great opportunity for the members of the Team Wisconsin bowling squad to prepare for the 2018 USA Games in Seattle.
The SOWI bowling season began October 14 and concludes December 2 with a Unified Bowling Tournament. The recently completed regional bowling tournaments gave Team Wisconsin bowlers like Brianna Paulson of Clear Lake a chance to practice a bit more and have some more fun before next July’s USA Games.
Team Wisconsin bowlers like Brian Ruby of Edgerton and Garet Ziegler of Waunakee have now set their sights on the Southwestern State Bowling Tournament taking place tomorrow for the chance to grab one last bowling medal prior to the USA Games. The four state tournaments will take place between November 4 and 19 across the state.
Paulson, of the Polk County Special Olympics agency, has been a Special Olympics athlete for 33 years and will finally be making her first USA Games appearance. In addition to bowling, she also participates in basketball, bocce and athletics. Her bowling team came in fourth place in their division at the recent Regional Bowling Tournament in Eau Claire.
Ruby, of the Stoughton Area Special Olympics agency, is also a veteran athlete. He’s been participating in Special Olympics for 20 years. And like with Paulson, this will be his first USA Games as well. He also competes in basketball and athletics. Bowling is where he really excels though. His proudest SOWI moment was when he bowled a remarkable 279 at a state tournament. After taking first place in his regional bowling competition this year, he’ll be going for gold again tomorrow.
Although a nine-year veteran of SOWI, Ziegler is the youngest member of the Team Wisconsin bowling squad at 17. This will also be his first national competition. Locally, his bowling team advanced through the regionals last month by taking third in their division. He’ll be looking to replicate one of his favorite SOWI memories when he competes in tomorrow’s state tournament.
“The first time I went to state for bowling we took first place. A lot of my family came to watch and it was so exciting. I got my picture taken with police officers,” Ziegler said. “And we went back to Waunakee, we went to the Waun-A-Bowl, where we practice, and everybody cheered when we walked in.”
This has been an eventful bowling season for the thousands of SOWI bowlers across the state. The next few weeks will produce even more memories for those who advanced to state competitions. But for members of Team Wisconsin’s bowling squad like Paulson, Ruby or Ziegler, the main event will be in July 2018 in Seattle.