Bowling: Merrillville’s Carly Larson turns up heat to win P-T girls title
By Steve T. Gorches email@example.com or 314-3797 May 11, 2013 8:46PM
Merrillville's Carly Larson throws a ball in the finals match during the 11th annual Post-Tribune Girls Scholarship bowling tournament at Stardust II in Hobart on Saturday May 11, 2013. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 13, 2013 7:40PM
HOBART — It’s all about the “game face.”
Whenever Carly Larson needs to turn up the heat on an opponent in a head-to-head match for scholarship money, she puts on that game face and it’s all but over.
In the girls championship match of the 11th annual Post-Tribune Youth Scholarship Tournament at Stardust Bowl II, Larson was five pins down in the third frame to Portage senior Caitlin Pidgeon.
But it was early and the game face hadn’t been implemented yet.
The key word there was “yet.”
Larson struck in the fourth frame, then another in the fifth, and another in the sixth, and … you get the idea.
Game face on and mission accomplished as the Merrillville senior rolled five consecutive strikes after an open frame in the third on her way to a 212-142 victory.
“Yeah, that’s my game face,” Larson said, finally smiling after the match and seeing that her boyfriend, Nate Sipe, won the P-T boys title a couple lanes away. “Usually I’m really concentrating out there.”
And what about winning at the same time as the young man she attended prom with a week earlier?
“It’s cool — that doesn’t happen very often,” she said.
Well, actually it’s becoming a pattern in P-T events. Last September in the second P-T Sport Shot Classic, Mitchell Katic and Kaity Galka won titles as a couple (youth and women). In 2003, Jay Bridges and then-girlfriend Kim Tosseng won the men’s and women’s titles. They are now married and have a child.
So maybe the future is bright for the recent winning couples.
Larson reached the final after qualifying second with a 570 series, then defeated Lake Central junior Jamie Zega and another Portage junior, Nicole Walton.
Pidgeon had to defeat a couple sisters on her way to a runner-up finish. She beat top seed and Lake Central senior Allison Sellers in the first match, then edged Jessica Sellers in the semifinal.
“I like the competition,” Pidgeon said about the head-to-head format. “I made the cut in the only time I bowled a King of the Hill (at Stardust III in Dyer). I enjoyed it a lot.”
One common trait between the girls finalists is that this could have been their last P-T youth tourney. Larson will be joining her older sister, Jill, on the Valparaiso University women’s bowling team in the fall, while Pidgeon will be signing her letter of intent with Huntington University. Both could still qualify for the P-T youth tourneys in summer leagues, but Larson’s issue comes with strict NCAA rules on bowling outside tournaments during the school year.