Stephen Powell is decades younger than his competitors. Having picked up bowling at the age of eight, the 21-year-old has been rolling strikes for a relatively short time compared to the veterans he is matched up against.
For what Powell lacks in experience, however, he more than makes up for in talent. Two seasons ago, Powell made his first big splash in the Effingham USBC Men’s Bowling Assocation, taking home the Bowler of the Year award. After repeating for the title last season, the Lake Land College student dominated the field this year for his third consecutive crown.
“It’s a good feeling,” Powell said. “There were good emotions. There’s not many people in the league in their twenties.”
While Powell’s first two awards came as somewhat of a surprise, this year the voting wasn’t even close. Though he didn’t win the annual city tournament, Powell said his consistent play throughout the year propelled him to the victory.
“I’m going to have to say my average,” he said. “I kept my average right around 220 all year long, every league combined. I had three 300s this year in the leagues, another in a side tournament.”
Bowling in four separate leagues, Powell gave himself plenty of chances to shine in the spotlight. The season, which runs from September until April, also gave Powell plenty of chances to deal with the good-natured ridicule older teammates hurled his way.
“They give me a hard time,” he said. “I just go right back at them.”
In the end, at least for the last three seasons, Powell has had the last laugh. This season, the year-end banquet was held at the Effingham Knights of Columbus on April 4, and Powell once again got to walk on stage for one of the night’s top honors in front of hundreds of his competitors.