Bowling: Nate Sipe has monster year to earn PT Boys Bowler of the Year
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent June 25, 2013 11:26PM
Chesterton's Nate Sipe winces in pain after winning the finals match during the 11th annual Post-Tribune Boys Scholarship bowling tournament at Stardust II in Hobart on Saturday May 11, 2013. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 27, 2013 6:20AM
While hoping he could just repeat the success of his last league season, Chesterton’s Nate Sipe was also holding to a belief that many bowlers live by.
“My mindset the whole year was if you get spares, the strikes will come,” Sipe said. “So I really had that mindset throughout the season.”
That must have accounted for something because Sipe was solid on the lanes from the first week of the season, averaging a staggering 234 for the year with four 800 series — which included an 866 — at Westchester Lanes.
Also a high school sectional champion and state qualifier, Sipe captured his first Post-Tribune Youth Tournament title last month despite fighting through back pain the whole day at Stardust Bowl II in Hobart, giving him more than enough accomplishments to be named P-T Boys League Bowler of the Year.
“To start the year, I was just hoping I would do as well as last year,” Sipe said. “I didn’t bowl much in the summer, so I was kind of worried about being a little rusty. But the first few weeks at Westchester I shot steady 600 series, so I had a feeling the season would be good.”
For Sipe, good became better after rolling a clean series in the low 700s early in the season. He followed that up the following with 810 on games of 247, 263 and 300.
“I had a perfect line and the last six strikes of the second game,” Sipe said. “And I was kind of excited because I hadn’t bowled a sanctioned 800 up to that point. I just let the ball roll for in my 300. My shot felt really good.”
Not long after the 810, he followed it up with his 866 (on games of 300, 276 and 290) with an old Track 920A and just five minutes of practice. His remaining two 800s were an 801 and 820.
“Westchester is notorious for (drier) lanes,” Sipe said. “The Track 920 was my baby at the time (the ball he also used to shoot the high series in high school conference play). And there was not much oil out there, which was good for the ball because it was drilled aggressive but it has been plugged three times. So I wasn’t as aggressive to begin with.”
Even with limited practice, Sipe found his line and dialed up his second 300 of the season. He started with three strikes in the second game but left a 2-4-5-8 bucket in the fourth. He spared on the shot and went off the sheet for the 276. After a 10-pin pick-up in the first frame of game three, he struck the rest of the way.
“Everything flowed in the 300 game,” he said. “The fourth frame shot of game two came of my hand strange, and I left the bucket 2-4-5-8. I really felt I had the best ball third game. I was really only two shots away from a 900. It was pretty nerve-racking.”
What was especially satisfying, not withstanding that the score was just 12 pins under the all-time house high score, is that the owner’s son was present to see the series.
“He watched it from the counter, so that was pretty cool. I almost had another 800 the last week of the league. I stared 260 and 260, but I finished with a 220. But the year was great. I just kept getting better and better.”
A self-taught bowler, Sipe said he did receive one day of instruction that established two vital components in his game.
“In my junior year at Chesterton, Ted Rosenquist helped me for a day,” he said. “I got my five-step approach and letting the ball swing itself from him. That’s helped me a lot, and I really give Ted credit.”
Sipe also credits an extensive arsenal of bowling balls — the full tally is around 65, according to his last count — to helping him keep his edge. As he prepares to head off to Indiana University in Bloomington on a full-ride scholarship, he’s not sure whether he’ll try out for the bowling team or stick with his other hobby.
“I pretty much have everything in my arsenal,” he said. “I have a lot of Track balls, quite a few Storm balls and one Roto-Grip. I do have a few too many bowling balls around the house. I’ve thought about bowling in college. I might just get lost on the golf course when I’m not studying.”